Summit Elevation (m): 3174
Trip Date: August 07, 2009
Elevation Gain (m): 1100
Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 8.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: As long as it’s dry, this is mostly an off trail hike, or easy scramble. All bets are off when there’s snow on the route.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
Finding myself with a free weekend in the summer is a very rare occurrence, so when it happened on the weekend of August 7, 8 and 9 I arranged a 3 peak extravaganza! The first summit would be a solo effort so I chose something without a lot of difficulties and a short approach, Observation Peak.
There really isn’t a lot to say about this scramble, it’s pretty easy and it’s hard to get lost. Simply follow Alan Kane’s instructions and you’ll encounter no difficulties. A number of people have either attempted or done this mountain with snow and apparently this can be tricky due to avy slopes. I started the day with a pleasant walk down the approach road towards the access avalanche gully. It was obvious where to branch into the gully and soon I was sweating my way up the gully on grass (lots of mosquitoes) until it finally transitioned to scree.
Once on scree I followed a trail (still very loose) up interesting terrain. Despite appearances the terrain stayed within the realm of easy scrambling. Once near the “top”, I discovered I wasn’t. The south ridge kept going and going but the views were so stunning and the day was so pleasant I didn’t care.
I think the summit of Observation holds the record of my longest stay on a summit – definitely the longest solo one. I spent 2 hours napping and enjoying the unbelievable summit panoramas in every direction. Smoke levels were very low and my camera almost overheated as a consequence.
Descent was fast and easy. I still can’t believe that I didn’t meet anyone else on such a gorgeous day, but I suppose many folks were still working. I’m sure glad I wasn’t!
As a summer objective this is a fast outing (I took less than 4 hours up and down but had a 2 hour nap / break on the summit!) and has very respectable views – I highly recommend it.