Pyramid Mountain

Summit Elevation (m): 2766
Trip Date: June 26 2010
Elevation Gain (m): 1575
Round Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 28.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No major difficulties but make sure your bike brakes are maintained for the ride down or you could end up with more adventure than you bargained for.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps

On the weekend of June 26, 27 I was joined by So Nakagawa on a quest to finish up my remaining “Kane” scrambles in Jasper National Park. The plan was to scramble both Pyramid and Cinquefoil on Saturday and finish up with Utopia on Sunday. Secretly I was thinking that this was a slightly aggressive plan and it would take a small miracle to pull it off but what’s life without a few aggressive, unrealistic goals?

Pyramid Mountain Route Map

We camped in the Pocahontas campground, which worked nicely for Cinquefoil and Utopia but was a bit of a drive for Pyramid. The fastest I’d heard of anyone doing Pyramid was around 8-9 hours and Kane calls it an “all day” affair so we decided that if we were going to scramble 2 peaks we’d better get up nice and early! Cinquefoil is rated as “easy” according to Kane, with a minimum time of 4 hours but we were a little wary of those statistics after reading some reports that this trip is longer than most expect. My alarm didn’t go off for some reason but the lightening skies still woke me after only getting around 5 hours of sleep at 04:30. After a quick bite to eat we were on our way to the Pyramid Mountain fire road.

We had no trouble finding the fire road and soon were grunting up steep hills. I do a lot of running and walking to stay in shape when I’m not going up mountains, but biking is something I haven’t been doing a lot of recently. I could tell. We managed to grunt up a few long hills before we decided to start conserving some energy for the mountain and pushed our bikes up a few of the steeper sections. At the junction we turned left and found that the road was in much rougher shape for the last 3-4 km. It was more enjoyable for mountain biking though.

The weather was incredible on this particular day. Sun mixed with clouds and a nice cool breeze kept us from sweating too much. I would hate to do this bike ride in 30 degrees. We made our way up the ridge on scree and snow as Kane describes in his book.

Looking down our ascent ridge with an incredible panorama opening up to the east including Maligne Lake.

The summit was windy and cold (0 degrees) so we didn’t linger long. The panorama of summits was stunning and made all the work worth it. Probably my favorite summit view of all the Kane Jasper peaks.

Great summit views with clouds swirling and deep greens in the valleys.
Fantastic pano over the Victoria Cross Range. In the foreground from R to L, Kinross, Unnamed and Zengel.
Looking across Pyramid and Patricia Lakes towards Jasper and down Hwy 93. The Skyline Traverse on the left and Mount Edith Cavell in the distance on the right.

We descended our ascent route since any large snow slopes looked pretty unstable. The bike ride back to the parking lot was fast but I didn’t really enjoy it because my rear brakes weren’t working at all and my front brakes weren’t very good either! Kane isn’t kidding when he says to make sure you check your brakes before this trip.

Leaving the summit – Esplanade and Buttress on the left.
More gorgeous scenery on the ridge.
Pyramid Mountain looms over Pyramid Lake.

We were very surprised with our round trip time of 6 hours. I admit that we did move pretty quickly, So is in very good shape and I had a hard time keeping pace with him but even so, this was much quicker than I expected. Overall I really enjoyed Pyramid Mountain. Fantastic views keep you entertained once you finally start the scrambling. The bike ride is a grunt but if your brakes are working properly you’ll have a blast on the way out.

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