Summit Elevation (m): 2540
Trip Date: Saturday, June 2, 2007
Elevation Gain (m): 1200
Round Trip Time (hr): 9
Total Trip Distance (km): 22
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: No major difficulties other than route finding and getting through Jura Creek after the floods of 2013.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
On June 02 2007 Wietse and I headed to the mountains to attempt a peak from Kane’s scrambles book. Unfortunately for us, there was way too much snow in all the areas that we wished to scramble so we were forced to come up with alternate plans for the day. After paying $1 to get to the internet in the ACC club house – it was 07:00 and we didn’t have a map – we settled on Bob Spirko’s trip up Morrowmount. Wietse wasn’t too keen on another front range scramble but I wanted to bag something so we agreed to drive to the Jura Creek trailhead and start the long slog into Morrowmount.
Let me say this right up front. I’ve never been hiked in the Jura Creek area before and I actually really enjoyed the scenery and the hike – the whole 9 km approach wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting! (NOTE: This was before the 2013 floods – check out this trip report for updated conditions and this link for more information on flood mitigation efforts in the area.) The valley was long and hot in the morning sun but we enjoyed the scenery and the quiet. We actually didn’t see another person till the way out, near the false fault in Jura Creek. The feeling of remoteness on this peak is with out from the time you pass the cut off to Loder Peak to the time you get back there about 6 or 7 hours later.
Even though we had just read Bob’s report (although in a bit of a rush) we still weren’t sure where to start heading up the ridge to Morrowmount’s summit. All we knew was that Bob went “to the end of the creek”. We missed the ‘almost’ in front of that sentence! No disrespect to Bob, but actually you are at least 1 km from the end of the creek where you start heading up. Upon re-reading Andrew Nugara’s TR from the same peak I now realize that we did the exact same thing Andrew did.
Following Bob’s route – but thinking we were maybe off-route at the time – we came up the orange shale slope where Jura Creek forks to the right and left. The orange slope is in the middle of the fork and we simply headed straight up the shale and had a choice to either go climber’s left to the ridge or continue angling up the shale, sticking to climber’s left of the gray rocky slabs on our right.
Once at the top of the orange shale, it only took us about 15 minutes to the first high point. We actually went to the true summit first and this is the only bit of scrambling on the whole trip. It’s a fun and exhilarating walk along the summit ridge, with a dizzying drop to the right, into the CMC valley. Once on the true summit we actually thought maybe the first summit was higher, so after some pictures we did the traverse again and discovered that the south summit is actually 1 meter lower, so we were very glad we took the 10 minutes to do the traverse.
Since some threatening clouds were building above us we decided not to spend too much time at the summit and after gazing down at Yamnuska and Wendell Mountain and snapping some pictures of familiar peaks around the Bow Valley and Kananaskis country we headed back down our ascent route. At this time we still thought that Bob and Dinah must have gone all the way up the creek so we decided to descend that way to see how much fun we’d missed on the way up.
The scenery in the upper stretches of Jura Creek is incredible, but the scrambling, especially with the creek at full flow, was a bit tiresome. The closed valley walls are incredibly loose and I never felt safe in the confines of the creek. We had some snow to help our traverses above the creek but overall I would not recommend this section without a helmet – and it certainly adds distance and time to the descent. It was beautiful though, and neither Wietse nor I regretted taking this alternate descent. The trudge back to the trailhead took another 3 hours (with some nice breaks) but thankfully the sun was behind a nice gray cloud for most of that time! The water from Jura Creek was also incredibly refreshing. Would I recommend this peak? Well yes I would – as I actually really enjoyed this outing. It reminded me of Fullerton, Fable and Middle Sister but I actually enjoyed it more than any of those three peaks. Maybe I was just in a good mood or something.