Summit Elevation (m): 2352
Elevation Gain (m): 900
Trip Time (hr): 5
Total Trip Distance (km): 6.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling with some route finding to keep it moderate.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps
On Saturday, January 12 2008 I bagged my first peak of the new year. Wasootch Peak is not a glamorous or lofty goal, but it was good exercise and considering it’s mid-January and I was solo, it was a great day out. (Note: Many years after first doing this summit, I think it’s now as popular or more so, than Heart and Baldy were 10 years ago! There is a beaten trail up to the twin summits almost year-round now and you will encounter other folks enjoying the views. There’s no surprises here. Simply follow the directions in Andrew Nugara’s scrambling book and you should encounter no surprises. The only variations I found were that the parking was sketchy along highway 40. There’s a lot of traffic whizzing by and with snow in the ditches I couldn’t pull off the road far enough.
I parked just after the bridge on the road into Nakiska and Kananaskis Village (just off Hwy 40) and simply walked an extra 300 meters. That option felt much safer to me. I also didn’t think that the drainage was that obvious, and it was full of ice, so not very ‘dry’! 🙂 Simply walk north on hwy 40 till you get to the “40” sign and then go east into the trees. The drainage is obvious at that point. I also found fresh blazes on the trees (still sappy) and occasional flagging. The route I followed went up a ridge and was more moderate than easy, but still no issues. Once above tree line the ridge route is way better than the scree one, IMO.
If you stick right to the ridge just below the first peak, on the traverse from the first peak to the second one, there is an upper moderate move that feels quite exposed on the east side. I think it’s possible to avoid this move, but with verglass or strong winds you won’t like this section. Just before the first peak there is a bit of a cornice that apparently has turned people around before.
I highly recommend this peak as an off-season scramble, provided there isn’t too much snow.