Summit Elevation (m): 2545
Trip Date: Friday, January 6, 2006
Elevation Gain (m): 900
Round Trip Time (hr): 3.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 6
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you might sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Mostly a hike on either a trail or easy grass slopes.
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
Wow. Who would’ve thought that I’d be bagging my first scramble of the year only 6 days into it?! OK – it’s not like Grizzly Peak is such a hard or worthy adversary but for a winter scramble it does very nicely thank you. With a lot of snow this scramble would be pretty much impossible. Because you have to traverse and side slope such a large part of this short scramble it would be hopeless and dangerous (avalanches) to attempt this mountain in real wintry conditions. Fortunately for me, this is not a ‘normal’ winter so I only had some icy patches and the occasional deep pocket of snow to worry about.
Too bad I didn’t have clear weather for this one because the views are supposed to be fantastic and even with clouds closing in on me I had some pretty good ones. This can be a very short scramble, I did it in 1 hour 50 minutes up and 3 hours 20 minutes total and could have been quicker if it wasn’t for the ice and snow that conspired to slow me down. If you have the energy and the weather, I would suggest doing this one and Opal North in one day. This would give you an idea of what it’s like to scramble Mount Stephen!
There are no surprises on this scramble except don’t be afraid to follow the main trail all the way up. Once you get around the south shoulder you should head immediately up the slope – no need to traverse any further than necessary – you won’t get cliffed out even though it sort of looks like you might. I met up with an ornery goat on the way up the trail but after I put my foot down he conceded the right of way to me.