Summit Elevation (m): 2294
Elevation Gain (m): 950
Trip Time (hr): 9
Total Trip Distance (km): 15
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2- you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No major difficulties, mostly a slog with some decent views. I guess.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
On Saturday April 12, 2008 I joined Wietse and Keith on a tramp up the east ridge of Yamnuska, down into the CMC valley and then up the southeast ridge of the East Peak of Mount Wendell. The forecast for the day was for highs around 20 degrees and sunny. This is the only reason we decided to go for this trudge instead of staying home and watching the Masters. 😉 Seriously though, this is not a trip for the easily bored or casual peakbagger. You’d be much better off bagging a different front-range peak if you are not serious about attaining lofty (OK this one’s not even lofty) heights.
While the CMC valley has some very interesting and beautiful scenery, so do most other hikes I’ve done in the Rockies. The hike up the east ridge of Yamnuska is kind of depressing because it’s so worn out and dirty. Once over the ridge (make sure you make your way almost to the start of the scrambling section on Yam) you should turn to climber’s right at the first big meadow on the north side of the ridge. I’ve tried to find this meadow for a while and we never went up the ridge towards the scramble route far enough. As a matter of fact, we were busy heading back down the ridge to the east because we thought we were off route, when we ran into 5 people, also heading into the CMC valley! They quickly assured us that we were in fact supposed to go further west along the ridge, so we gamely turned around and followed that group.
The group we met was planning on tackling the difficult route on EPOW as detailed in Andrew’s book. Wietse and I both agreed that they would need some good luck on a difficult Nugara route with snow and ice on it! As it turns out the other group did not make it to the summit. We had an enjoyable time scouting out the giant rocks next to the CMC wall. It’s almost tempting to go back with rock shoes, those rocks have some fun little lines on them! I said almost worth it! That whole area back there probably deserves more rock climbing focus. It’s difficult to get in there but once you’re in, you’re on your own for the most part. There look to be a lot of routes too.
We traversed around the base of the cliffs to the east side of the mountain and then proceeded on snow and rock to an interesting slabby section. This was a pretty cool little traverse up angled slabs along the base of a cliff. If you didn’t know that there was a route through this section you’d be wondering why you were bothering trying it – thanks to the first people who bothered, you don’t have to worry.
The rest of the route was the best of the day both for views and for terrain, with some moderate exposure and some very pleasant ridge walking. The summit sported a great view and we spent quite some time watching the other group struggle towards the difficult section of the alternate ascent.
Eventually a couple of local scramblers joined us at the summit. Both Rob and Chris were familiar names from the RMBooks web board but we had never met them so that was cool. You can see Rob’s trip report here.
The hike back was a bit long and quite nasty going back over the east ridge of Yamnuska, but the weather was gorgeous and the sky was clear so all-in-all this was a nice spring scramble and it felt quite good to get back into it again.