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Brett, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2984 
Elevation Gain (m): 2400
Trip Time (hr): 10
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse
Difficulty Notes: Easy alternate descent is the way to go on this one! Difficult scrambling on the ridge described by Kane. Note: This trip combines both Pilot and Brett with a bike approach.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th)
Map: Google Maps


After ascending Pilot Mountain I decided to take advantage of the long approach up the Redearth valley by bagging Mount Brett while I was in the area anyway. I have to say – this is a long day. When Kane says you’ll be bagged afterwards, he’s not kidding! After descending into the valley between Pilot and Brett I was left with almost 1000 meters of height gain and some difficult terrain to negotiate – and it was a hot day which didn’t help the energy levels. That would leave me with a total of 2500 meters of height gain in a remote area on difficult terrain. It was an awesome day but probably not something I’ll repeat too often – especially as a solo objective.

Pilot Mountain & Mount Brett APPROXIMATE Route Map

The route is fairly straight forward. Descend into the valley either right under the pinnacle or you can traverse up high on Pilot to skier’s left and drop into the valley a bit further up. Either way leaves you with a trudge up to the lower ridge on Brett.

Looking up at the lower NW shoulder of Brett from the valley between Brett and Pilot. Brett’s summit is OOS at upper right.
Looking back at the descent route from Pilot – straight down the center gully after down climbing the crux on the left skyline summit ridge.
I must have been tired, because I didn’t clue in that the right hand slopes would be MUCH easier (especially on descent) than the knife-edge, jagged west ridge!

The scrambling on Brett is certainly harder than on Pilot. I ended up going around the second down climb on climber’s right without realizing I was bypassing the down climb – I simply followed the terrain and ended up there. I didn’t enjoy it though. It’s still very exposed and it’s loose and down sloping.

Looking to the summit and the difficult upper west ridge of Brett – it’s far harder than it appears here.
Curving towards the summit and on the ridge proper now, looking into my exit valley and Pilot Mountain.

It was a nice surprise to arrive at the summit, since I was still expecting the down climb! The views were excellent and I spent some time at the summit enjoying my accomplishments of the day. I even had a phone conversation with Kevin Papke at the summit! I had to return all the way to the parking lot so eventually I reluctantly started my descent.

Summit views south and west include Black Brett (L), Assiniboine, Monarch, Haiduk and Pharaoh Peaks (R).
Summit views south, west and north include Pharaoh Peaks, Ball, Stanley, Storm, Copper, Pilot, Castle, Ishbel, Cockscomb, Massive, Little Bourgeau, Bourgeau, Black Brett (R).

The crux that I by-passed on the way up is actually more exposed if you go over it on the way back. I found myself clinging rather desperately to a questionable hold while my feet sought solid ground for a few moments! I’m still not sure which way I prefer, I’m just glad I’m done it. I would do the alternate descent that Kane mentions (and that I failed to notice when I read the description) for the safest option.

The world’s nicest bivy spot! A delightful alpine valley rest spot.

The rest of the walk to my bike was uneventful except for a few nervous moments when my tired brain mistook a large grey rock for a grizzly. (I nearly pepper sprayed it when it refused to move! ;-))

The bushwhack to the Redearth road was a bit of a drag and I found myself wondering what the heck I was doing out there on my own but eventually I did make it back to my bike. The ride out was fast and fun. My round trip time of 10 hours wasn’t even that bad, but it felt a lot longer. I would highly recommend doing these two mountains together if you can handle the long day of difficult scrambling and the elevation gains.

Mount Brett
41 photos
I have to navigate through this valley on my way up Brett.
I have to navigate through this valley on my way up Brett.
Finally at valley bottom, looking back up my descent route off the west face.
Finally at valley bottom, looking back up my descent route off the west face.
Looking up at the lower ridge of Brett from the valley between Brett and Pilot.
Looking up at the lower ridge of Brett from the valley between Brett and Pilot.
Looking back at the descent route from Pilot - straight down the center gully after down climbing the crux on the left skyline summit ridge.
Looking back at the descent route from Pilot - straight down the center gully after down climbing the crux on the left skyline summit ridge.
Beautiful hiking terrain with fall colors coming out. I felt very alone back here, but that wasn't a terrible thing.
Beautiful hiking terrain with fall colors coming out. I felt very alone back here, but that wasn't a terrible thing.
I didn't clue in that the right hand slopes would be MUCH easier (especially on descent) than the knife-edge, jagged west ridge!
I didn't clue in that the right hand slopes would be MUCH easier (especially on descent) than the knife-edge, jagged west ridge!
Higher up on Brett's west ridge, looking over at Pilot.
Higher up on Brett's west ridge, looking over at Pilot.
Again - how did I miss the easy terrain on the right?
Again - how did I miss the easy terrain on the right?
Curving towards the summit and on the ridge proper now, looking into my exit valley and Pilot Mountain.
Curving towards the summit and on the ridge proper now, looking into my exit valley and Pilot Mountain.
Looking back at the first semi-exposed down climb on the ridge.
Looking back at the first semi-exposed down climb on the ridge.
Lots of tricky, exposed scrambling to go!
Lots of tricky, exposed scrambling to go!
Looking back at another spicy section of ridge.
Looking back at another spicy section of ridge.
Another section of ridge, almost at the summit now.
Another section of ridge, almost at the summit now.
Vern on the summit of Mount Brett, with his first peak of the day - Pilot Mountain - in the background.
Vern on the summit of Mount Brett, with his first peak of the day - Pilot Mountain - in the background.
Looking down on the (tiny) Massive Mountain and down the Bow River Valley towards Banff.
Looking down on the (tiny) Massive Mountain and down the Bow River Valley towards Banff.
Looking along the north ridge of Brett, Ishbel on the left and Cory on the right.
Looking along the north ridge of Brett, Ishbel on the left and Cory on the right.
Looking down the valley between Pilot and Brett - Pilot on the right, Copper at center.
Looking down the valley between Pilot and Brett - Pilot on the right, Copper at center.
Monarch, Haiduk, Pharaoh, Ball, Stanley, Storm, Temple, Copper, Castle, Pilot, Ishbel.
Monarch, Haiduk, Pharaoh, Ball, Stanley, Storm, Temple, Copper, Castle, Pilot, Ishbel.
Looking over Sunshine Meadows and Healy Pass towards The Monarch. Assiniboine at left.
Looking over Sunshine Meadows and Healy Pass towards The Monarch. Assiniboine at left.
Assiniboine looms to the south. Black Brett just sneaks into the picture on the left.
Assiniboine looms to the south. Black Brett just sneaks into the picture on the left.
The Castle Mountain massif.
The Castle Mountain massif.
Mount Bourgeau.
Mount Bourgeau.
Storm on the left, Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy and Temple L to R in the far distance.
Storm on the left, Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy and Temple L to R in the far distance.
Pilot, Massive, Little Bourgeau, Bourgeau and Black Brett (R).
Pilot, Massive, Little Bourgeau, Bourgeau and Black Brett (R).
Serious terrain on the ridge.
Serious terrain on the ridge.
Loose terrain - I should have been way off to the right here for the alternate easy descent route.
Loose terrain - I should have been way off to the right here for the alternate easy descent route.
The ridge isn't giving up easily!
The ridge isn't giving up easily!
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
My exit valley beckons.
My exit valley beckons.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Descending the west ridge of Brett.
Finally on easier terrain again.
Finally on easier terrain again.
Looking back at the upper mountain, finally back to hiking terrain.
Looking back at the upper mountain, finally back to hiking terrain.
I was convinced one of the boulders on the slope ahead of me was a grizzly!
I was convinced one of the boulders on the slope ahead of me was a grizzly!
The world's nicest bivy spot! A delightful alpine valley rest spot.
The world's nicest bivy spot! A delightful alpine valley rest spot.
About to hit the bush to Redearth Creek trail.
About to hit the bush to Redearth Creek trail.

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