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Wonder Peak

Summit Elevation (m): 2852
Elevation Gain (m): 500
Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 10
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Mostly an easy scramble on a scree trail – some steep bits just under the summit.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps


Rod and I set off from the Jones Naiset Cabin around 16:00 on Thursday, September 4th under a mostly cloudy sky. There was very little wind and quite a bit of snow on the surrounding peaks but we were confident we could either scramble up Wonder Peak or The Towers and return before dark. We had already ascended The Nub earlier in the day and still had plenty of energy remaining for another peak. The trail up to Wonder Pass went by quickly and was an easy 200 meters of height gain out of the way.

Wonder Peak Route Map

At the pass we made the decision to go up Wonder Peak because we could spot an obvious trail snaking up it’s lower slopes and The Towers would require a bit more route-finding (basically a side hill bash) before grinding on scree to the top. I would also love to combine Naiset Point with The Towers if I’m going up there anyway and we didn’t have time to do both. Wonder Peak is not rocket science to ascend.

Rod at Wonder Pass with Wonder Peak to the left.

Simply go climbers left at the pass, descend slightly to the north before skirting some small cliffs and getting onto the mountain proper. Once on the mountain, simply follow trails to the summit mass, or stick to the ridge and go around any obstacles on climber’s right. Every time it looks like things are going to be tricky they aren’t. I love this about mountains – usually there’s a way around the difficulties and that’s half the fun of climbing them!

Excellent views to the north towards Nasswald (L) and Og Mountain – which we’d do the next day.

Another view north – Nub Peak on the left, Og Mountain on the right with Citadel and Golden in between at center.

The only moderate bit of scrambling is after you contour around the summit block (on the right) and have to get up the last 15 or 20 meters. I actually missed the first opportunity to go up a small gully and ended up coming back to the peak on a small ridge. There was a cool window in this little section, which was fun to discover. When I got to the last 10 vertical meters of the summit block there was only a small, narrow crack to work my way up. It was great fun with pretty solid holds and didn’t feel as exposed as it actually was.

Incredible views over Wonder Pass to Aurora, Gloria, Eon and Aye (L to R)

Rod joined me after only a slight hesitation at the crux. The summit view was great but without clouds it would have been mind-blowing. You could see all the way to the big K-Country peaks like Sir Douglas and Joffre and Eon, Aye and Assiniboine were right in our faces. Marvel Lake and Lake Gloria were glittering far beneath and all around us was a plethora of peaks just begging to be summited! I think this area will keep me busy for a while…

Looking down the Bryant Creek approach valley with Cone at left and Turner at right.
Mount Assiniboine’s east face looms threateningly over The Towers and Mount Magog (R) with Alcantara, Eon and Aye to the left over Terrapin and Gloria Lakes.
Views across Marvel Lake to Wonder, Byng, Aurora, Brussilof and Alcantara (R).

After clicking a bunch of pics we turned back and descended the crack carefully before plunge-stepping easily down the snowy ridge to the foot of the mountain. Once off of Wonder Peak we came on some very fresh and rather large grizzly tracks in the snow. We cautiously yelled and yodeled our way all the way back to the hut. A ranger came by a bit later and confirmed that there were two grizzlies up in the Wonder Pass area, a young, unafraid male and a very large but cautious sow.

Lake Magog catches some sun at far left with Indian, Nestor, Nub, Citadel, Golden, Nasswald, Windy Point and Og visible.
Rod walks back to our hut – the cook shelter visible here.

If you’re in the Assiniboine area, Wonder Peak is truly wonderful and only took us just over 3 hours round-trip from the Naiset huts. If you have more energy you can do Wonder Peak, Cascade and Gibraltar Rock and Mount Cautley in one loop of moderate scrambling. You can bet I’ll be back to give that a shot sometime!

Wonder Peak
35 photos
Rod and I aren't done yet for the day. Heading for Wonder Pass from the hut.
Rod and I aren't done yet for the day. Heading for Wonder Pass from the hut.
Looking back at the Nub from the Wonder Pass trail.
Looking back at the Nub from the Wonder Pass trail.
The larches are a brilliant green - soon to be brilliant yellow.
The larches are a brilliant green - soon to be brilliant yellow.
Rod at the BC / Alberta border at Wonder Pass. Wonder Peak on the left.
Rod at the BC / Alberta border at Wonder Pass. Wonder Peak on the left.
Excellent views to the north towards Nasswald (L) and Og Mountain - which we'd do the next day.
Excellent views to the north towards Nasswald (L) and Og Mountain - which we'd do the next day.
Rod makes his way up the lower slopes of Wonder Peak.
Rod makes his way up the lower slopes of Wonder Peak.
Eon and Aye with The Towers in the foreground.
Eon and Aye with The Towers in the foreground.
Another view north - Nub Peak on the left, Og Mountain on the right with Citadel and Golden in between at center.
Another view north - Nub Peak on the left, Og Mountain on the right with Citadel and Golden in between at center.
Looking through Wonder Pass - I know where the name came from!
Looking through Wonder Pass - I know where the name came from!
The Towers is another scramble.
The Towers is another scramble.
Like a painting! Nub at left, Og at right distance.
Like a painting! Nub at left, Og at right distance.
The summit looks scary and snowy from this angle on the way up.
The summit looks scary and snowy from this angle on the way up.
Too bad Assiniboine is hidden in the clouds. Aye and Lunette are beside it.
Too bad Assiniboine is hidden in the clouds. Aye and Lunette are beside it.
Looking ahead to the summit of Wonder Peak.
Looking ahead to the summit of Wonder Peak.
Gorgeous views of Gloria Lake, Aye, Lunette and Mount Assiniboine.
Gorgeous views of Gloria Lake, Aye, Lunette and Mount Assiniboine.
Looking at the rest of the route. At least there's a trail!
Looking at the rest of the route. At least there's a trail!
Wonder Lake is far beneath us.
Wonder Lake is far beneath us.
Looking north off the ascent ridge.
Looking north off the ascent ridge.
Traversing snowy slopes to the summit.
Traversing snowy slopes to the summit.
Looking back at Rod and the ascent ridge of Wonder Peak.
Looking back at Rod and the ascent ridge of Wonder Peak.
Distant views from near the summit.
Distant views from near the summit.
I love windows on ridges!
I love windows on ridges!
Can you spot Rod below the crux?
Can you spot Rod below the crux?
Rod comes up to the tiny summit of Wonder Peak - only room for two here!
Rod comes up to the tiny summit of Wonder Peak - only room for two here!
Mount Joffre in Kananaskis Country.
Mount Joffre in Kananaskis Country.
Mount Sir Douglas in Kananaskis Country.
Mount Sir Douglas in Kananaskis Country.
We hiked in through that valley on day 1.
We hiked in through that valley on day 1.
If we had more daylight we could bag three more peaks from here!
If we had more daylight we could bag three more peaks from here!
Looking towards the Nub.
Looking towards the Nub.
Rod guzzles some of the contents of the summit register.
Rod guzzles some of the contents of the summit register.
Rod and Vern on the summit of Wonder Peak.
Rod and Vern on the summit of Wonder Peak.
Mount Eon and Aye.
Mount Eon and Aye.
Looking back at the summit.
Looking back at the summit.
Fresh grizzly diggings on the way down.
Fresh grizzly diggings on the way down.
Hurrying back for some supper.
Hurrying back for some supper.

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