Summit Elevation (m): 3144
Elevation Gain (m): 1650
Trip Time (hr): 7
Total Trip Distance (km): 28
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: Howard is mostly an off trail hike with some easy scrambling. Can be done in the off season if the approach road is open.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps
I decided to end a 4 day peak bagging party (Monday – Pilot / Brett, Tuesday – Burstall / Storm, Wednesday – Fox) with a jaunt up Mount Bogart. (NOTE: Since the floods of 2013, the approach route and even the route itself may have changed significantly so beware that the GPS track will be off.) I don’t really know what I was thinking since Bogart is one HECK of a SLOG but I guess I figured since it was only rated moderate and since it was kind of on the way home (I was camping in Elkwood) and one of the only Kananaskis peaks from Kane that I had left, I really didn’t have much of a choice. The weather forecast wasn’t great so I knew I’d have to move quickly and get an early start to have any chance of finishing. I wasn’t too keen about doing this one solo since I know cougars and bears like the Ribbon Creek valley and I also knew that I’d be totally alone for many hours in remote terrain, but what can you do when all your buddies are working and you’re not?
I left the parking lot on my bike at 0630 just as the sky was getting lighter. I was slightly disappointed to see the sign indicating only 4 km of the Ribbon Creek trail was for biking but I think the sign is misleading and it’s closer to 5km. That still left me 5-6 km of hiking just to get to the base of the scrambling! It was going to be a slog – just like I suspected. I actually enjoyed the nice cool morning walk and arrived at Ribbon Falls about 10 minutes ahead of when I thought I would. The ascent up the water gully to the upper basin on Bogart looks intimidating from below and it’s a bit tricky. You should take care not to get suckered onto difficult terrain here – there is a moderate route through this stuff but it’s a wandering one and isn’t always obvious.
I was getting tired by the time I topped out on the lovely alpine bowl above the water gully leading to the final 800 vertical meters of Bogart. The clouds were also building but it was early and I figured I still had at least 2 hours before the weather turned on me so I plodded towards the final scree grunt.
Kane is right when he says this slope is somewhat fore-shortened but I had my altimeter watch on so I thought I knew what I was in for. I was kind of right and kind of wrong. Once I finally got up to the final cliff band the 7300 meters of height gain over the past 4 days caught up with me and I started feeling seriously bagged and somewhat unmotivated. I also lost my route finding ability and for some reason ended up way too far on climber’s right scratching my head and clambering up some really difficult and exposed terrain. Eventually I realized I was being stupid and backed off before finding the obvious route up a narrow crack through to the upper mountain and finally the summit itself. The views were great with interesting clouds and familiar mountains in every direction.
On the way down I actually started nodding off while in motion a few times, apparently I was getting tired. I managed to down climb through the gully to the Ribbon Creek trail and the rain started literally 1 minute after I got off the last slab. Talk about good timing!
The way back to the bike was kind of boring and my poor feet were falling off but once I got to the bike things got fun again. Bogart has great views and is a fun outing but make sure you have good weather, lots of time and good route finding skills. Also make sure you bring a bike.