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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)
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 The access to the mountain is also outdated, especially if you’re trying to scramble it before September when the lake covers the trail.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.

Cinquefoil Mountain
So starts down a promising looking path to Merlin Pass.
So starts down a promising looking path to Merlin Pass.
So narrowly avoids death by "sheep". No one says that scrambling is safe.
So narrowly avoids death by "sheep". No one says that scrambling is safe.
Sheep are dumb. Nice enough - but dumb.
Sheep are dumb. Nice enough - but dumb.
The sheep narrowly avoid death by scramblers.
The sheep narrowly avoid death by scramblers.
Looking back down the ridge to the Athabasca River.
Looking back down the ridge to the Athabasca River.
Looking back over Jacques Creek and the Athabasca River.
Looking back over Jacques Creek and the Athabasca River.
Taking a break.
Taking a break.
So ascends the trail under a blazing blue sky.
So ascends the trail under a blazing blue sky.
The two differently colored lakes are Jasper (left) and Talbot (right). Edna Lake sneaks into the extreme lower left corner of the photo.
The two differently colored lakes are Jasper (left) and Talbot (right). Edna Lake sneaks into the extreme lower left corner of the photo.
The crux looks very intimidating from far away.
The crux looks very intimidating from far away.
You can either choose a moderate / difficult line on the left or go up one of numerous gullies on the right.
You can either choose a moderate / difficult line on the left or go up one of numerous gullies on the right.
The two differently colored lakes are Jasper (left) and Talbot (right). Edna Lake sneaks into the extreme lower left corner of the photo.
The two differently colored lakes are Jasper (left) and Talbot (right). Edna Lake sneaks into the extreme lower left corner of the photo.
The crux. It's loose and steep but nowhere near as bad as it looks from afar!
The crux. It's loose and steep but nowhere near as bad as it looks from afar!
You can just make out So on the left side of the easy route on more difficult and exposed terrain.
You can just make out So on the left side of the easy route on more difficult and exposed terrain.
Making our way to the summit under brilliant skies.
Making our way to the summit under brilliant skies.
Making our way to the summit under brilliant skies.
Making our way to the summit under brilliant skies.
More awesome scenery on the summit ridge.
More awesome scenery on the summit ridge.
So at the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
So at the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
So at the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
So at the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
Greenock, Roche De Smet at left, Roche Miette, Capitol, O'Hagan,Utopia and Roche Jacques at right.
Greenock, Roche De Smet at left, Roche Miette, Capitol, O'Hagan,Utopia and Roche Jacques at right.
Roche Jacques, Colin, Hawk and Morro.
Roche Jacques, Colin, Hawk and Morro.
We were on Pyramid Mountain earlier in the day.
We were on Pyramid Mountain earlier in the day.
Vern and So on the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
Vern and So on the summit of Cinquefoil Mountain.
Roche Jacques.
Roche Jacques.
Green valleys towards the Miette Range and Makwa Ridge.
Green valleys towards the Miette Range and Makwa Ridge.
Mount Colin.
Mount Colin.
Greenock is on the close end of the ridge, Roche De Smet the high point in the distance.
Greenock is on the close end of the ridge, Roche De Smet the high point in the distance.
Mount Geike.
Mount Geike.
Pyramid Mountain.
Pyramid Mountain.
Roche Miette looks very cool from this angle.
Roche Miette looks very cool from this angle.
Excellent views towards Greenock and Roche De Smet over the Athabasca River.
Excellent views towards Greenock and Roche De Smet over the Athabasca River.
Views towards Roche Ronde and Coronach Mountain over the Beaver Bluffs and Snake Indian River.
Views towards Roche Ronde and Coronach Mountain over the Beaver Bluffs and Snake Indian River.
The clear cut on the ridge is a bit weird but apparently exists as a fire break? For a pretty small fire though!
The clear cut on the ridge is a bit weird but apparently exists as a fire break? For a pretty small fire though!

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