Summit Elevation (m): 2776
Elevation Gain (m): 1050
Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 17
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling on the Kane route, note that the approach is on a decommissioned trail with deteriorating conditions.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
After scrambling Mount Chephren Keith Bott and I bivied in the Waterfowl Lakes campground with high hopes to summit Mount Sarbach the following day, August 09, 2009. After waking up at 04:15 we were disappointed when the skies opened up and it began to rain. There would be no attempt on Sarbach this day! We decided to drive to Lake Louise and if the weather was more cooperative there we would attempt something smaller, Sheol Mountain. This would also be my last Kane scramble from the Lake Louise area.
We arrived in the parking lot around 0545. The sky was very hazy and when we stepped out of the vehicles we could actually smell the smoke. We also wouldn’t be having great views this day… The clouds were building but we decided to try anyway, since we were all the way out there and had just bivied for the night in a campground.
Just before leaving the parking lot another vehicle pulled in. We waited for a few minutes to see if we could hike in with other people (the 4 person minimum was technically in place and we only had 2). When I asked the young man who stepped out what they were up to he smiled and said they were street luggers and would be rocketing down the Moraine Lake highway until the cops stopped them! He said it was a $400 fine but worth it. Good times! We promised not to “tell” on each other and Keith and I charged up the Paradise Valley trail with our group of 2.
The scramble itself is very straight forward – just follow Kane’s directions. The access trail at the junction is now decommissioned, so look carefully at my picture to see where you must turn off to access the scramble. The trail is still there, it’s just not maintained and it’s hard to see from the main trail now.
I would highly recommend taking the climber’s right route. It’s moderate scrambling but reasonably fun. After this gully, the ‘crux’ doesn’t seem like very much at all – I didn’t realize I was past it till I was on the summit.
The summit ridge is the best part of the scramble and the views would be stunning on a clear and beautiful day.
There are much higher mountains around if the day is clear and beautiful so my feelings on Sheol are mixed. I would use it to access Haddo and Aberdeen for an interesting day out but as a scramble it doesn’t make any of my ‘top’ lists.