Summit Elevation (m): 2771
Elevation Gain (m): 1150
Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 7
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse
Difficulty Notes: A fall on the crux would severely injure or kill so take necessary precautions.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
On Saturday, September 20th 2008, Keith, JW and I scrambled up Mount Bosworth in beautiful, sunny weather – the summer weather we never had in 2008! Originally we were supposed to be making an attempt at North Victoria Peak on this day but since the weather forecast was pretty good we decided to wait for a cloudy day to enjoy that 11,000er. In case you’re having a slow day and missed the sarcasm, there was actually other reasons for not attempting North Vic this day. I was still sore from my Mistaya / Cauldron outing on Wednesday and JW was feeling a bit gun-shy after a close call with falling rock on Mount Louis that same Wednesday. Maybe very fortunate timing because a friend did Narao Peak on Saturday and claimed to see fresh avalanche evidence right near the rock step on North Victoria. I waited another 7 years and bagged it in 2015.
We all met in Calgary and JW drove through Banff and then 2.3 km past the Yoho National Park sign before parking alongside the highway. The weather was gorgeous already this early in the morning and we could tell that we were going to have a very nice day for this late in the season. The first challenge was figuring out which gully was the actual ascent gully. There was a choice of two and we chose the left one, knowing that it was probably not the Kane route, but liking the way the rock looked. It was solid and steep. In keeping with our Fisher Peak policy, difficult scrambles can be made easier if you first go up some terrain (off route) below the crux that is actually harder than the crux! The crux seems less of a big deal that way. This was no different. I followed JW up some low 5th class rock. Eventually, after two or three small rock bands, we worked our way climber’s right onto the normal Kane route and then up and around the first buttress below the ridge on Bosworth.
Bosworth is a fun mountain, but horribly loose. The day after we climbed it there was a rock fall in the area that covered the trans-Canada highway. We probably started that slide on Saturday already! You’d think with all the avalanches that run off it in the winter, the loose rock would be off by now, but such is not the case. Don’t do this mountain with a large group – you’ll regret it.
After the first buttress, we traversed rubbly slopes under another buttress before angling up towards the ridge. Once on the ridge we pretty much climbed over any other obstacles (upper moderate to difficult scrambling) before coming to the final black cliff defending the summit. This final bit was exposed and difficult scrambling but was very solid compared to the rest of this heap of choss! We really enjoyed all the difficult scrambling on Bosworth because it felt safer than the moderate / loose terrain – you just couldn’t fall on the difficult stuff.
The views were stunning the whole way up – although slightly marred by smoke / haze. As you get higher and higher (and I’m not referring to the weed that the boys from Golden were smoking at the summit here), you get better views of Cathedral, Stephen, Victoria, Collier, Daly, the Wapta peaks, Hector and other summits.
We finished the climb with a “Mount Cline lunge” (interesting notch in the ridge) and settled in for a long summit stay since it was warm and windless at the cairn. The views had the potential to be some of the best around, even though Bosworth is relatively short compared to all of its neighbors, but the smoke or haze ruined the panorama a bit. We took our time exploring the summit area (so who put that stupid ‘Permit’ sign there anyway?!) and reading the register. Apparently there are a few ways up and down this heap of rock – none sounded quite as much fun as our route up though.
After 1.5 hours (that’s the record for me this summer) at the top we reluctantly headed back. At first we tried the gully right under the summit but it was very loose with slabby terrain and just wasn’t fun so we traversed back to the ridge and down climbed our ascent route. JW and Keith insisted that we try the gully further to the east than the Kane gully (OK, maybe it was my suggestion) so we ended up doing a bit more side-hilling and bushwhacking than necessary on the way back.
We spotted a cool waterfall and drank some clean, cold steam water on the way back which was perfect timing. The fall colors were also more prominent in our descent gully than on the way up. One very weird discovery on the way down left us a bit puzzled. What was a 7 iron doing on the descend route? Keith found it and I lugged it down on my backpack. This mountain seems to be a bit of a dumping ground for random bits of trash! The summit has a “Permit” sign and some wire and re-bar, and the descent route has old golf clubs?! WTF man?
My advice would be to follow our route up small cliff bands on the lower mountain (there were some cairns so we aren’t the only ones to go this way) and the Kane route down this lower section. If you are uncomfortable on the lower section of ‘our’ route, you should just turn around – you certainly won’t like the upper mountain! Traversing too far skiers left on the way down is only complicating things unnecessarily, something I’ve learned to love this year.
Mount Bosworth is a highly recommended scramble, lots of hands-on scrambling and views that are hard to beat with no approach and a short day.