Summit Elevation (m): 2530
Trip Date: Thursday, September 2, 2004
Round Trip Time (hr): Unknown
Elevation Gain (m): 1200
Total Trip Distance (km): 10
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse
Difficulty Notes: Mount Ward on its own is basically a hike or easy scramble. Tacking on Allison and / or Window is another ball game and gets into some difficult scrambling and routefinding.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th)
Map: Google Maps
Mount Ward, Allison and Window Traverse Route Map
Mount Ward was an enjoyable scramble in the Crowsnest Pass area. It presented very few difficulties and was quite easy to find. Just remember that it’s the logging road at the bottom of a very long hill to the left and you can’t miss it. We walked all the way up the darn road but I would recommend taking a vehicle with some clearance or your bike.
The hike to Window Mountain Lake is pleasant but not spectacular and the lake is nice but again nothing really great. The views get interesting once you are about 150m up on Wards west flank when the alpine meadows and the backdrop of the lake below start to take effect.
The scrambling up the ridge is easy but you have great views and good footing which heightens the enjoyment. I really like this scramble but it was easy and it’s a good thing that we also did Allison Peak and Window Mountain on this particular day!
Allison Peak was probably one of the quickest summits I’ve ever stood on – a quick dash and stand and then back to Window Mountain! There was a line of thunderstorms moving towards us from the west and I am really freaked about rain / hail and lightening while being stuck on an exposed ridge so we even forgot to take pictures of this one.
The toughest part of the scramble to Allison Peak is the first ridge from Mount Ward to a minor summit along the way. There is a slab on route that could get really nasty if it were slippery or wet. The rest of the scramble was actually a lot easier then I was expecting with escape routes off the ridge everywhere you may need them (and a lot of places you didn’t).
Once we were off the mountain and the storm missed us be a couple of miles I wished I’d taken more time on the whole traverse but oh well – hindsight is a wonderful thing and taking risks with t-storms on exposed ridges is not my forte.
After quickly bagging Allison it was time to beat the approaching storm up and down Window Mountain. On hindsight doing the exposed and loose traverse from Allison to Window Mountain in a rush was not the best idea I’ve ever had – but oh well!
The initial route off of the high point between Allison and Window was very steep and loose. This is probably the crux, although a steep, loose crack just before the summit of Window isn’t without its difficulties either. We actually didn’t think much of the route until we came to a small cliff band that we had to follow right until we found a way through – then we looked back and realized what we had just down climbed. Not the hardest scrambling I’ve ever done but a slip would not have had happy consequences.
A bit further along the ridge, just before the summit of Window Mountain there is a steep loose crack that you have to be very careful on. It seems like everything you try to hold onto is either loose or looser! Once gaining the summit it’s an easy trek to the window and then steep scree off the mountain.
We made our way over the intervening clear cut ridge to our left to intersect our road from the way up. No difficulties there except a surprise visit with a cow and calf moose. If you’re confident of your scrambling abilities and the weather is good, you should definitely try the traverse from Allison to Window Mountain.