logo

Engadine, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2970
Trip Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005
Round Trip Time (hr): 6.5
Elevation Gain (m): 1200
Total Trip Distance (km): 8
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse
Difficulty Notes: A fall on the crux would severely injure or kill so take necessary precautions. Route finding can also be an issue, especially on descent.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th)
Map: Google Maps


There are two reasons why Kane rated Mount Engadine as a difficult scramble. One is the nature of the ridge itself. Long sections of ‘no-fall’ zones coupled with loose rock and tricky down climbs make this a much more difficult climb than even other difficult scrambles such as Lady McDonald. The other reason Engadine earns its difficult rating is the nasty bushwhack required to attain the lower ridge – it’s a difficult undertaking! There really is no trail and even the game trails are misleading because they are not generally trying to bag the peak. This may have changed in the years since I scrambled it – but I remember wondering where I was going more than a few times while approaching the lower ridge.

Mount Engadine Route Map

Engadine was a real pleasure. Other than briefly getting lost on some really loose and nasty terrain in the way back down, I thoroughly enjoyed the exposure on the ridge. The fact that the weather was calm and warm and I had the entire mountain to myself only helped me enjoy it even more! As a matter of fact I had so much fun on the way up the ridge, I decided rather than get lost in the bush on the way down, I’d come back down the ridge too. There were several times on the way up that I seriously wondered if there was too much snow or the ridge looked too narrow but each time I’d press on and things would be exciting all over again.

Engadine from the Buller parking area – route goes up the ridge starting in trees at lower left and gaining the rock at center before following it up to the summit on the upper center.

If you decide to do this mountain make sure you’ve already done other difficult ones. This is a bad place to learn that you really don’t like ridges and loose rock after all! Kane almost makes it sound like you can ‘easily’ bypass all the difficult areas by sticking to right-hand scree slopes but these slopes are nasty scree – kind of like Sparrowhawk only much steeper. 

Don’t look for a trail off of the Buller Creek hiking trail – you won’t find one. Simply make a decision to branch to the right and go for it. There’s no nice way to put this. Gaining the ridge sucks big-time. The sooner you can get yourself up onto the ridge the better off you’ll be. I got lucky and after a short scramble up a ramp to my left I turned right up the ridge and never looked back. (But I should have so I’d recognize the terrain on my way back down…) Right away you’ll be tested on whether or not you wish to continue. The ridge only gets narrower and more exposed so if at any point before the final 200 meters of scree you get nervous, be prepared for more of the same or worse. The views off the ridge are spectacular in every direction, so that might motivate you to keep going.

After finally getting past the overhang (lose about 150 feet of height) I came to the last scree slope before the top. Due to unstable snow I was ‘forced’ to take the slabs to the right. They were much better than the scree but the loose rocks on top of the slabs resulted in sore hands from constantly having to get my balance.

I topped out on the summit to a wind-free and glorious view in all directions. Mount Assiniboine and the lofty peaks around the Haig Glacier stole the show but many, many other summits were also visible.

Summit views now, from L to R prominent peaks include Joffre, French, Robertson, Burstall, Sir Douglas, King George, Commonwealth, Birdwood, The Fist, Smuts and Tent Ridge.
Shark (L), Morrison, Turner, Eon, Aye, Lunette, Assiniboine.

The only thing harder than going up the ridge is coming back down it. So naturally that’s what I decided to do! I needed practice on my down climbs and I got it. When I got near the bottom of the ridge I forgot where I had gained the ramp and went too low. This resulted in me making some dumb decisions and ultimately I found myself going back up terrain that I couldn’t believe I had just come down. The worst moment had me clinging desperately onto a patch of moss with both hands while my feet slipped out from under me and I dangled briefly over 100 feet of thin air. After that excitement I managed to find out where I had missed the ramp and quickly headed back to the car.

Mount Assiniboine and Cone Mountain (R).

Good thing I was making lots of noise through the bush (lots of bear scat) because there was a really big black bear not 100 meters from the trailhead. I watched him for a long time and it capped a wonderful day. On my drive home I spotted another black bear in the ditch, munching on Dandelion flowers and I spent another 30 minutes just watching him chow down. Beautiful creatures in their natural habitat – not the monsters so many folks seem to fear.

Mount Engadine
Engadine from the Buller parking area - route goes up the ridge starting in trees at lower left and gaining the rock at center before following it up to the summit on the upper right.
Engadine from the Buller parking area - route goes up the ridge starting in trees at lower left and gaining the rock at center before following it up to the summit on the upper right.
This is the bush that awaits! Engadine's ridge in the far distance here. Crossing Buller Creek thankfully isn't part of the challenge - you should branch off before the bridge.
This is the bush that awaits! Engadine's ridge in the far distance here. Crossing Buller Creek thankfully isn't part of the challenge - you should branch off before the bridge.
The lower ridge is already challenging. I would suggest looking back a few times so that you know the route and are aware what you will have to down climb if you return via the ridge.
The lower ridge is already challenging. I would suggest looking back a few times so that you know the route and are aware what you will have to down climb if you return via the ridge.
It isn't always an option to traverse under the ridge simply due to slabby terrain like this.
It isn't always an option to traverse under the ridge simply due to slabby terrain like this.
Looking down what I presume is one of the 'escape gullies' that might be possible to follow off the ridge on descent.
Looking down what I presume is one of the 'escape gullies' that might be possible to follow off the ridge on descent.
Looking down the ridge.
Looking down the ridge.
Good, fun ridge scrambling!
Good, fun ridge scrambling!
The first section is easy enough but it gets much more difficult than it appears just beyond.
The first section is easy enough but it gets much more difficult than it appears just beyond.
Steep and fairly loose but lots of holds. Just don't pull on them...
Steep and fairly loose but lots of holds. Just don't pull on them...
Looking up Buller Creek at Mount Buller.
Looking up Buller Creek at Mount Buller.
Buller and part of Bogart at distant right.
Buller and part of Bogart at distant right.
Commonwealth, Birdwood, The Fist and Mount Smuts.
Commonwealth, Birdwood, The Fist and Mount Smuts.
Incredible views over a very low Spray Lakes reservoir at the mighty Mount Assiniboine and Cone Mountain on the right.
Incredible views over a very low Spray Lakes reservoir at the mighty Mount Assiniboine and Cone Mountain on the right.
Mount Nestor.
Mount Nestor.
I had to lose around 150' to get around an over hang on the ridge proper.
I had to lose around 150' to get around an over hang on the ridge proper.
Looking across a section of ridge towards the summit.
Looking across a section of ridge towards the summit.
The Spray Range including French, Smuts, Commonwealth and Birdwood.
The Spray Range including French, Smuts, Commonwealth and Birdwood.
The Tower.
The Tower.
Joffre, French, Robertson, Burstall, Sir Douglas, King George, Commonwealth, Birdwood, The Fist, Smuts and Tent Ridge.
Joffre, French, Robertson, Burstall, Sir Douglas, King George, Commonwealth, Birdwood, The Fist, Smuts and Tent Ridge.
Nestor (L) and Old Goat Mountain.
Nestor (L) and Old Goat Mountain.
Nestor and Old Goat Mountain.
Nestor and Old Goat Mountain.
Mount Assiniboine.
Mount Assiniboine.
Shark (L), Morrison, Turner, Eon, Aye, Lunette, Assiniboine.
Shark (L), Morrison, Turner, Eon, Aye, Lunette, Assiniboine.
French, Robertson, Sir Douglas and Birdwood (R).
French, Robertson, Sir Douglas and Birdwood (R).
Birdwood, Fist, Smuts, Tent Ridge and Shark (R).
Birdwood, Fist, Smuts, Tent Ridge and Shark (R).
Joffre, French, Sir Douglas, King George, Commonwealth, Birdwood, Smuts, Assiniboine (R).
Joffre, French, Sir Douglas, King George, Commonwealth, Birdwood, Smuts, Assiniboine (R).
Shark (L), Morrison, Turner, Eon, Aye, Lunette, Assiniboine.
Shark (L), Morrison, Turner, Eon, Aye, Lunette, Assiniboine.
Assiniboine, Cone, Turbulent and Fortune.
Assiniboine, Cone, Turbulent and Fortune.
Turbulent (L), Beersheba, Nestor and Old Goat with the Spray River Valley at center.
Turbulent (L), Beersheba, Nestor and Old Goat with the Spray River Valley at center.
The Tower.
The Tower.
Sparrowhawk (L) and Bogart (R) are just visible over the summit cornice.
Sparrowhawk (L) and Bogart (R) are just visible over the summit cornice.
Prairie Lookout, Robertson and Sir Douglas (L to R) with Commonwealth Lakes underneath.
Prairie Lookout, Robertson and Sir Douglas (L to R) with Commonwealth Lakes underneath.
Vern on the summit of Mount Engadine.
Vern on the summit of Mount Engadine.
Looking east past Bogart on the left over hwy 40 towards the front ranges.
Looking east past Bogart on the left over hwy 40 towards the front ranges.
Mount Kidd.
Mount Kidd.
Descending Engadine.
Descending Engadine.
Looking across Little Buller to Mount Nestor and Old Goat Mountain.
Looking across Little Buller to Mount Nestor and Old Goat Mountain.
Descending Engadine.
Descending Engadine.
Going back around the overhang on the west ridge.
Going back around the overhang on the west ridge.
Descending Engadine.
Descending Engadine.
Great views of Sparrowhawk with Lougheed I & II in the background.
Great views of Sparrowhawk with Lougheed I & II in the background.
Those slabs under the summit of Buller bring back memories!
Those slabs under the summit of Buller bring back memories!
Descending Engadine.
Descending Engadine.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Looking back up the west ridge.
Views of Engadine from the Buller parking lot.
Views of Engadine from the Buller parking lot.
A large bear near the Engadine trail head.
A large bear near the Engadine trail head.
A much smaller black bear enjoying Dandelions in ditch along the Spray Lakes road.
A much smaller black bear enjoying Dandelions in ditch along the Spray Lakes road.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.