This was the third peak in a massive 3 peak day that Dave Stephens and I did. The first two summits were The Fortress and Gusty Peak. On hindsight this probably wasn't the best choice for the third peak but nonetheless we did it! The bike ride to Watridge Lake was pleasant and seemed to help flush some to the lactic acid out of our legs in preparation for the 1000m we still had to climb.
We quickly hiked up the trail to the beautiful Karst Spring and promptly got ourselves lost in the bush because we didn't read the directions before heading out. I had some coordinates plugged into my GPS but since we were in thick forest I wasn't getting very clear signals. To make a long story short we stumbled around and got good and lost, found the right trail and then promptly got lost again because I thought we were headed in the wrong direction! After running across some of the biggest bear scat I've ever seen (quite fresh!) we finally found the ascent ridge and started to climb. At this point I was seriously doubting that we were going to summit.
[Hiking up to Karst Spring.]
The climb up the ridge was surprisingly committed and although technical difficulties were few, I felt that this was a much harder scramble that Gap Mountain which has a more difficult rating. There were many places along the ridge that we were exposed and the 'no fall' zone was substantial. Don't get me wrong though. This was the best scramble I've done in a while (since Mount Galwey).
[Dave enjoys the surprisingly fun ridge.]
[A great view of Watridge Lake from the lower ridge. Cone Mountain at left with Turbulent, Fortulent and Fortune on the right.]
[The impressive looking NW ridge rises above us.]
[Looking back at the tricky down climb along the ridge.]
The most depressing thing about Shark is that what you think is the summit, isn't. It almost is though so if you persevere you'll get there! I was feeling very light headed from the lack of food and from 3.5 liters of Gatorade so Dave's offer of gummy bears and M+M's was most welcome! We didn't linger on the summit very long because we knew that we had a committing climb down yet and didn't want to be bushwhacking in the dark. (Especially with a large bear sneaking around - probably high on the abundant mushrooms we came across!)
[For the third time today - great summit views of the mighty Mount Assiniboine!]
[Great view back down Spray Lakes with Fortune at lower left, Old Goat, Nestor, Windtower, Lougheed I and II and Sparrowhawk (L to R).]
[Gorgeous views of Sir Douglas (R) with French at left.]
[Looking up Bryant Creek valley. Turner on the left and Cone on the right. Cautley, Cave and Og in the far distance.]
[Vern and Dave on their third summit of the day!]
The scramble down was actually easier than I was expecting and other then some cut up hands we did ok. We actually found the right trail on the way down and realized that we should have started up around 20 meters before the bench at Karst Spring. Trust me though. The trailhead is NOT obvious and neither is the trail. I don't think this summit is very popular.
[Dave down climbing on the ridge.]
[Following a trail in scree to the overhanging ledge on the ridge.]
[Ledges like this one keep the route 'moderate'.]
The bike ride back was fast and we completed the trip up and down Shark in just under 5.5 hours. Total day stats were:
9,600 feet total height gain / loss,