After scrambling Mount Chephren we bivied in the Waterfowl Lakes campground with high hopes to summit Mount Sarbach the following day, August 09, 2009. After waking up at 04:15 we were disappointed when the skies opened up and it began to rain. There would be no attempt on Sarbach this day! We decided to drive to Lake Louise and if the weather was more cooperative there we would attempt something smaller, Sheol Mountain. This would also be my last Kane scramble from the Lake Louise area.
We arrived in the parking lot around 0545. The sky was very hazy and when we stepped out of the vehicles we could actually smell the smoke. We also wouldn't be having great views this day... The clouds were building but we decided to try anyway, since we were all the way out there and had just bivied for the night in a campground!
Just before leaving the parking lot another vehicle pulled in. We waited for a few minutes to see if we could hike in with other people (the 4 person minimum was technically in place and we only had 2...). When I asked the young man who stepped out what they were up to he smiled and said they were street luggers and would be rocketing down the Moraine Lake highway until the cops stopped them! He said it was a $400 fine but worth it. Good times! We promised not to "tell" on each other and Keith and I charged up the Paradise Valley trail.
The scramble itself is very straight forward - just follow Kane's directions. The access trail at the junction is now closed, so look carefully at my picture to see where you must turn off to access the scramble. The trail is still there, it's just not maintained and it's hard to see from the main trail now. I would highly recommend taking the climber's right route. It's moderate scrambling but reasonably fun. After this gully, the 'crux' doesn't seem like very much at all - I didn't realize I was past it till I was on the summit.
[Sheol shows up in the early morning smog.]
[There are a few avi gullies, make sure you're in the right one! The route choices split again at the top.]
[TONS of wild flowers. TONS of bugs too...]
[Mount Temple is right across the valley. Keith is coming up behind me. The first part is a bit of a grunt.]
[Great views into Paradise Valley.]
[Choosing the right hand gully is much better scrambling - good hands on if you stick to climber's right of the gully.]
[Getting into the scrambling gully.]
[Keith and Mount Temple again.]
[Looking up at the last 250 vertical meters of scrambling.]
[Fairview and Saddle.]
The summit ridge is the best part of the scramble and the views would be stunning on a clear and beautiful day. Of course, there are much higher mountains around if the day is clear and beautiful so my feelings on Sheol are mixed. I would use it to access Haddo and Aberdeen for an interesting day out but as a scramble it doesn't make any of my 'top' lists.
[Vern on the summit of Sheol Mountain.]
[Summit panorama looking towards Haddo Peak and Mount Temple. ++]
[Keith on the summit ridge.]
[I wait on the way back for Keith. I didn't want to wait on the summit due to the threatening clouds, but it never did rain.]
[Nice views into Paradise Valley.]
[My favorite type of flower scene.]
[This is where you should turn off the main trail. There is a trail here, you just have to look hard for it and ignore the "no hiking" sign. ;-)]