Summit Elevation (m): 2769
Trip Date: Friday, October 10, 2003
Round Trip Time (hr): Unknown
Elevation Gain (m): 1480
Total Trip Distance (km): 16.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: Easy to moderate scrambling with some route finding and streamwhacking to keep things ‘interesting’.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps
I wanted to finish the “scramble sisters” (Faith and Hope) this year and I just managed to squeak this one in as the fall scrambling season moves to a close. I don’t think this is a good winter option considering some of the avalanche terrain toward the upper reaches of Stewart Creek. Once you get to the creek, go right, across the creek and then up another road (yes a road – very obvious!) up the right hand side of Stewart Creek. From this point the way is obvious. If you find yourself on a trail that is very narrow and wild / overgrown you are not on the right trail. Back track and find the proper trail.
Now that we’ve got you on the right trail let’s look at the actual scramble! I was really looking forward to this one. For two years now I’ve wanted to add it to my list. How did it hold up? Well to be perfectly honest it was a bit of a disappointment at first. However, I now realize that most of the disappointment was due to the weather, not the scramble. After spending almost an hour getting to the darn trailhead we were more then ready to start hiking! Throughout the day we switched lead with a group of 5 from Calgary – the only other people on Middle Sister that day.
I found walking through the creek quite fun. The terrain ranges from short stretches of solid path to longer stretches through the actual creek-bed. When you finally get to the top of the creek you are surrounded by huge mountain walls and there really is no option about where to go! If you just follow the creek till it runs out you will not get lost. There was some interesting ice formations on some of the cliffs coming off of Rimwall and Big Sister. On the way down some icefall off of Middle Sister was a bit of a concern but missed us by quite a bit.
There is no ‘crux’ on this trip unless you count the mental ‘crux’ of a 8km hike one-way to the summit. We had rocks blowing off the steep walls of Stewart Creek that kept us alert but other then that we just slogged it up to the summit. You can’t actually see the true summit until you’re almost there – so remember that if you think you’re almost there you probably aren’t. 4,500 ft is a lot of height gain. The views from the top are good but not spectacular. I don’t think I would repeat this trip any time soon but still highly recommend you try it. The creek is pretty neat and anyone with good cardio should be able to do it.