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Wasootch Peak

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.

Wasootch Peak Route Map

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.

A view of Wasootch Peak from the ‘dry’ drainage.
Looking ahead to the south summit.

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.

Looking ahead to the North summit (true) from the traverse.
L to R, Wedge, Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle, Fortress Ridge, Fortress, Kidd, Kidd Lookout, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Olympic, Allan, Collembolla.

I highly recommend this peak as an off-season scramble, provided there isn’t too much snow.

Wasootch Peak
39 photos
A view of Wasootch Peak from the 'dry' drainage.
A view of Wasootch Peak from the 'dry' drainage.
Great views of Mount Kidd from the ascent slope.
Great views of Mount Kidd from the ascent slope.
Looking south and west down hwy 40 towards Spoon Needle and Fortress.
Looking south and west down hwy 40 towards Spoon Needle and Fortress.
The trail feels like Lord of the Rings in spots!
The trail feels like Lord of the Rings in spots!
Looking across the Kananaskis Valley towards Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle and The Fortress (R to L).
Looking across the Kananaskis Valley towards Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle and The Fortress (R to L).
Looking south to Fisher Peak (L), McKay Hills and the Wedge. Kidd on the right.
Looking south to Fisher Peak (L), McKay Hills and the Wedge. Kidd on the right.
Vern takes a break on the way up Wasootch Peak.
Vern takes a break on the way up Wasootch Peak.
Mount Bogart looms over Ribbon Peak up the Ribbon Creek Valley.
Mount Bogart looms over Ribbon Peak up the Ribbon Creek Valley.
Fortress Mountain telephoto from the ascent ridge on Wasootch.
Fortress Mountain telephoto from the ascent ridge on Wasootch.
Sparrowhawk.
Sparrowhawk.
Looking ahead to the south summit.
Looking ahead to the south summit.
Bogart and Sparrowhawk (R).
Bogart and Sparrowhawk (R).
Looking across highway 40 at Nakiska and Mounts Olympic, Allan, Collembolla, Sparrowhawk, Wind and Lougheed.
Looking across highway 40 at Nakiska and Mounts Olympic, Allan, Collembolla, Sparrowhawk, Wind and Lougheed.
Easy slopes to the south summit.
Easy slopes to the south summit.
L to R, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Olympic, Wind, Allan, Lougheed, Collembolla.
L to R, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Olympic, Wind, Allan, Lougheed, Collembolla.
Vern on the summit.
Vern on the summit.
Mountain Sheep.
Mountain Sheep.
Tiara Peak.
Tiara Peak.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.
Looking back at the south peak from the col between the North and South peaks.
Looking back at the south peak from the col between the North and South peaks.
Looking ahead to the North summit (true) from the traverse.
Looking ahead to the North summit (true) from the traverse.
Looking over Kananaskis Village to Kidd and Bogart.
Looking over Kananaskis Village to Kidd and Bogart.
The summit view north towards Baldy and Barrier Lake.
The summit view north towards Baldy and Barrier Lake.
Great lighting across hwy 40 towards Lorette (C) and Mary Barclay's (R).
Great lighting across hwy 40 towards Lorette (C) and Mary Barclay's (R).
Looking south to the slightly lower south summit with Kananaskis Peak and Old Baldy beyond.
Looking south to the slightly lower south summit with Kananaskis Peak and Old Baldy beyond.
L to R, Wedge, Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle, Fortress Ridge, Fortress, Kidd, Kidd Lookout, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Olympic, Allan, Collembolla.
L to R, Wedge, Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle, Fortress Ridge, Fortress, Kidd, Kidd Lookout, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Olympic, Allan, Collembolla.
Views east to the Porcupine Loop including Tiara Peak.
Views east to the Porcupine Loop including Tiara Peak.
Looking back up fast descent slopes.
Looking back up fast descent slopes.
Descending Wasootch Peak.
Descending Wasootch Peak.
Great views of Mount Kidd from the descent.
Great views of Mount Kidd from the descent.
Descending Wasootch Peak.
Descending Wasootch Peak.
Back in the creek.
Back in the creek.
Back in the creek.
Back in the creek.
Back in the creek.
Back in the creek.
Views from the parking area.
Views from the parking area.

3 thoughts on Wasootch Peak

  1. Have you heard anyone doing the Wasootch loop? There is a track on Gaia and my friend Pawel went up the North side.

      • I want to try it again, but I need to avoid the avi terrain, the latter may be an easier route ( no beta, still waiting for clarification from Pawel, yesterday he told me the way he went up the gully towards North Wasootch was moderate scramble, today he texted me once he went up west ridge down Kananaskis Peak, same as part of Steven Song’s loop).
        Quite intrigued with the lack of beta.

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