On August 25, 2009 I got together with Marta and scrambled Television Peak in Banff National Park. I had heard lots from Marta on the web board and read many of her trip reports with interest but we had never done a scramble or climb together. With her having over 250 mountains and me having over 200 myself I guess it was only a matter of time! :-)
Unfortunately her partner, Chester, was out with a sore back so Marta was looking for scrambling and climbing partners to avoid doing solo trips and since we both wanted the same peak we managed to join forces for it.
Television Peak is not ascended that often. The summit register was the emptiest 2005 centennial register I've ever seen, and one of the most sturdy too! The reason TV is not often ascended is quite simple. It's only a GR, it's a lot of height gain and a long distance no matter which way you attack it from. So why is it ascended at all? Well my theory is that it's only ascended by foot traffic (as opposed to the maintenance guys who fly in) because of Alan Kane's scrambling book - that's certainly the only reason Marta and I were there!
We ascended via Sonny and Bob's recommended route - the Protection Mountain mine hiking trail. Following their great descriptions we had no route finding issues. The view from the top is good but not stunning. The hands-on scrambling on the ridge is quite fun but you pay for it with an approach of 4-5 hours depending on your speed. We found the mine quite interesting and were both very impressed with the great approach trail. We also both found no issues at all on the ridge, it was mostly a hike with maybe 2 sections of moderate scrambling.
Total elevation gain was much more than I thought it would be - over 1650m on Marta's Suunto, but there are a lot of ups and downs on the ridge and I certainly felt tired enough to confirm this altitude reading.
Overall this is a recommended outing with a great approach trail, interesting history at the mining site and a fun ridge. Just don't be like me and under-estimate the size of this outing!
The Protection Mine trail is quite well maintained even though I suspect it's not travelled very often.
You can just barely make out the trail beneath Marta (look on the grassy part of the slope). Mount Temple and the Lake Louise peaks show up in the background. The view doesn't get much better than from right here so if that's all you're after I wouldn't bother going any further than the mine. I'm at the entrance to the mine taking this photo.
The mine is pretty cool.
The view out of the mine entrance:
Once finally gaining the ridge, you still have this distance to go (at least 3 or 4km of height loss and gain). TV peak is just above the snow patch.
The views off the ridge are still pretty good and the scrambling is fun in short bursts which makes this peak tolerable.
Marta is a tiny speck on the far right - can you spot her? She thought I was behind her and waited for me. OOPS. I was dashing off to the summit unaware that she was concerned about me... She eventually found me. At the summit. :-)
The scrambling gets more interesting but the peak is still a ways off...
Quadra shows up under a more interesting section of the ridge.
Protection Mountain is on the left and Pulsatilla on the right:
Vern on the summit of TV Peak.
Helena Ridge is on the right and the connecting ridge to Stuart Knob in the foreground.
Great views to the North.
More great views to the north of the summit.
The Lake Louise peaks are magnificant from this angle.
More Banff and Lake Louise peaks:
Quadra and Mount Fay:
Mounts Lefroy and Victoria:
Daly and Balfour on the far right:
Summit Panorama (click to view full size):
The hanging valley to the west is really neat terrain - much like the terrain between Helena Ridge and Castle Mountain.
Mount Daly and Balfour:
Marta decides to join me at the summit after waiting for me... ;-)
With more snow this is a tougher down climb on the way up. We encountered no issues and climbed down on the side with snow:
The ridge has some very interesting terrain:
More fun hands-on stuff:
Marta and the mine are on the mid-left, the route to the ridge is on upper center through the cliff bands.
The trail is a great way to gain 800 meters and seems quite long on the way back... ;-)