Cinquefoil Mountain

Summit Elevation (m): 2259
Elevation Gain (m): 1275
Round Trip Time (hr): 5.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 12
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Easy to moderate scrambling on the Kane route.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps

After scrambling Pyramid Mountain in 6 hours car-to-car, So and I decided that we’d better not waste the rest of a perfectly fine day on lounging around in our campsite so we went up Cinquefoil Mountain instead! Cinquefoil is rated “easy” and the short time that Kane lists is around 4 hours. This is fine except it sets the expectation for the mountain pretty low. Most people seem surprised both by the difficulty and length of this trip. We didn’t find the mountain difficult by any means, but it’s also not the same “easy” that Heart, Ha Lin, Fairview or St. Piran are either. The access to the mountain is also outdated, especially if you’re trying to scramble it before September when the lake covers the trail.

Cinquefoil Mountain Route Map

I would suggest a new access rather than the parking lot at N53 3 58, W118 3 44. Park closer to where the north west ridge descends almost to the highway and bushwhack across a small ditch and directly to the ridge. You can’t park right under the ridge because there’s a small lake right there – park as close as you can while still being able to jump across the narrow ditch. This spot will be somewhere around N53 4 17, W118 3 7. Gain the north west ridge after a short bushwhack, either via the Kane access gully or much earlier, basically as soon as possible. We gained the ridge quite quickly and had to detour around approximately 20 sheep rather than disturb them too much. The young ones were a pleasure to watch. That’s about the extent of the ‘pleasure’ on this scramble too!

The two differently colored lakes are Jasper (left) and Talbot (right). Edna Lake sneaks into the lower left of the photo along with Mount Greenock.
Easy scrambling to the summit.

Cinquefoil is probably my least favorite Jasper scramble so far. It’s easy enough and the trail is fun to follow (keep your eye out for cairns) but the mountain just isn’t much of a challenge and doesn’t have a lot of interesting terrain. The crux is somewhat interesting if you stay climber’s left but otherwise it’s a scree slog. Of course, being our second peak of the day meant that we were starting to feel all the elevation gain, not to mention the 4.5 hours of sleep the night before. That probably didn’t help my mood.

Greenock, Roche De Smet at left, Roche Miette, Capitol, O’Hagan,Utopia and Roche Jacques at right. Colin at extreme right.
Roche Jacques, Colin, Hawk and Morro to the right of center as a tiny bump.

The views were better than I was expecting so that made up for the heat and the trudge. I’m glad I did it but I would never repeat this one.

Gorgeous views over the Athabasca River to Mount Greenock and Roche De Smet.
Views over the Athabasca River (note the train) and Snake Indian River towards a distant Coronach Mountain.

Our round trip time of 5.5 hours made us wonder how fast you’d have to go to do it in 4. You’d be running the whole way! I think Kane’s time of 4 hours as a minimum is stretching it a bit. 6-8 hours would be more appropriate for planning purposes.

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