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Loaf Mountain

Summit Elevation (m): 2639
Elevation Gain (m): 800
Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 22
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties, mostly hiking on grassy slopes with trails.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps


On Saturday, October 18th 2008 Wietse, Naomi and I tagged the summit of Loaf Mountain in the East Castle area, just north of Waterton National Park. Due to a seasonal closure of the road that leads to the normal trail head, we had to walk an additional 4 km each way from a locked gate. This resulted in more exercise but also prevented us from bagging more than one peak, simply because time and energy wouldn’t allow for it. You can do Spionkop Ridge along with Loaf if you have the energy / time. You can also scramble Drywood Mountain and Loaf if you’re so inspired.

Loaf Mountain Route Map

Despite the long walk on an uninspiring road, the trip was still worth it. The easy road hiking allows for deep conversation. All the larches had lost their needles in the strong winds but the colorful rocks and vegetation was still a treat for the eyes. Following Nugara’s trip description worked great and we encountered no difficulties. We went a short ways (5-10 minutes) after a large waterfall in the creek before crossing the creek easily and heading up easy-angled slopes.

Looking ahead to the colorful Loaf in the distance at left. Drywood on the right here.
Sheep hunters on horseback along Drywood Creek.
Great views down South Drywood Creek with Drywood looming on the left.

The wind was brutal but thankfully the temperatures were very warm (12 degrees at 08:00) so even though it was cool on the summit we could enjoy some views before escaping down the west slopes and contouring back toward the trail heading up to Boivin Lake. We met some hunters on horseback throughout the day – they were looking for sheep but I still felt good about wearing my bright orange jacket! They seemed impressed by our route choice and expressed amazement at the distance we walked.

Very interesting terrain with soaring cliffs, dead trees and extremely colorful rock.
One of my favorite shots from the entire Castle / Crown Wilderness Area – incredible lines and colors in this view towards Loaf Mountain.
Boivin Lake with Victoria Ridge, Windsor Mountain and Castle Peak in the background.
Looking south (L) and west (R) off the summit towards Glendowan, Spionkop Ridge, Newman, Avion Ridge and Sage.

We briefly considered tagging Spionkop Ridge but the incredibly strong wind discouraged us from summing the energy to bother. Since Spionkop can be combined with Newman Peak and Avion Ridge we thought we’d save it for another day. 

Looking east down the ridge of Loaf with Drywood on the left and an outlier of Spionkop and Mount Roche on the right.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.

The long hike back to the car from Boivin Lake was uneventful and filled with good conversation. I would recommend this peak for a day when other areas might be out of season or as a two peak day with either Spionkop or Drywood Mountain. On its own its just a really long hike, albeit a rather pleasant one.

Loaf Mountain
41 photos
Wietse and Naomi walk along the first 4km of boring road along South Drywood Creek.
Wietse and Naomi walk along the first 4km of boring road along South Drywood Creek.
Looking ahead to the colorful Loaf in the distance at left. Drywood on the right here.
Looking ahead to the colorful Loaf in the distance at left. Drywood on the right here.
Sheep hunters on horseback.
Sheep hunters on horseback.
Looking back at Drywood Mountain.
Looking back at Drywood Mountain.
A wider view of the sheep hunters. The end of Loaf's ridge seen in the background.
A wider view of the sheep hunters. The end of Loaf's ridge seen in the background.
Wietse hikes beside the creek that we will shortly cross. An outlier of Loaf Mountain in the background.
Wietse hikes beside the creek that we will shortly cross. An outlier of Loaf Mountain in the background.
Great views down South Drywood Creek with Drywood looming on the left.
Great views down South Drywood Creek with Drywood looming on the left.
Lovely, clear water in South Drywood Creek as we cross it.
Lovely, clear water in South Drywood Creek as we cross it.
Naomi and a dead tree with Drywood above her head here.
Naomi and a dead tree with Drywood above her head here.
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain.
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain.
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain looking at Drywood (R).
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain looking at Drywood (R).
Very interesting terrain with soaring cliffs, dead trees and extremely colorful rock.
Very interesting terrain with soaring cliffs, dead trees and extremely colorful rock.
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain the summit ahead.
Ascending to the east ridge of Loaf Mountain the summit ahead.
Loaf Mountain in the distance as we work our way up the colorful access slopes to the east.
Loaf Mountain in the distance as we work our way up the colorful access slopes to the east.
Looking off Loaf's east ridge to Drywood (R).
Looking off Loaf's east ridge to Drywood (R).
Easy access slopes but with cliffs surrounding us.
Easy access slopes but with cliffs surrounding us.
Castle colors.
Castle colors.
Wietse and Naomi follow me along the bumpy summit ridge of Loaf.
Wietse and Naomi follow me along the bumpy summit ridge of Loaf.
One of my favorite shots from the entire Castle / Crown Wilderness Area - incredible lines and colors in this view towards Loaf Mountain.
One of my favorite shots from the entire Castle / Crown Wilderness Area - incredible lines and colors in this view towards Loaf Mountain.
Drywood Mountain is another impressive summit in this area.
Drywood Mountain is another impressive summit in this area.
A great view of the NE face of Loaf Mountain.
A great view of the NE face of Loaf Mountain.
The distinctive summit of Castle Peak.
The distinctive summit of Castle Peak.
Almost there! Easy slopes to the summit.
Almost there! Easy slopes to the summit.
Wietse and Naomi follow me up with Drywood at left.
Wietse and Naomi follow me up with Drywood at left.
Boivin Lake with Victoria Ridge, Windsor Mountain and Castle Peak in the background.
Boivin Lake with Victoria Ridge, Windsor Mountain and Castle Peak in the background.
Looking south (L) and west (R) off the summit towards Glendowan, Spionkop Ridge, Newman, Avion Ridge and Sage.
Looking south (L) and west (R) off the summit towards Glendowan, Spionkop Ridge, Newman, Avion Ridge and Sage.
Looking east down the ridge of Loaf with Drywood on the left and an outlier of Spionkop on the right.
Looking east down the ridge of Loaf with Drywood on the left and an outlier of Spionkop on the right.
Castle Peak and Windsor Mountain.
Castle Peak and Windsor Mountain.
Summit shot.
Summit shot.
Another view of Boivin Lake as we descend to the col before taking the obvious cut line to the right.
Another view of Boivin Lake as we descend to the col before taking the obvious cut line to the right.
Spionkop Ridge is easy from here.
Spionkop Ridge is easy from here.
Looking back at the easy summit slope of Loaf.
Looking back at the easy summit slope of Loaf.
Great views west down the Castle River with Sage and Matkin on th left and Windsor Ridge on the right.
Great views west down the Castle River with Sage and Matkin on th left and Windsor Ridge on the right.
At the col looking down our exit valley with Drywood right of center.
At the col looking down our exit valley with Drywood right of center.
Heading down the cutline.
Heading down the cutline.
Great views down South Drywood Creek.
Great views down South Drywood Creek.
Frozen waterfall.
Frozen waterfall.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
A long, but easy, walk back along South Drywood Creek.
Nice color and texture in the terrain coming off Drywood Peak as we exit the valley.
Nice color and texture in the terrain coming off Drywood Peak as we exit the valley.

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