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Carnarvon, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 3040
Elevation Gain (m): 1800
Round Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 18
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: This is large mountain with many areas of loose scree and exposure. It often has snow / ice on the route so take necessary precautions.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps


On Friday, September 03 2010 I completed my last ‘Kane scramble’ with EricMarko and Greg. Mount Carnarvon was looking like it would be my last Kane peak for a while and when I tallied up the remaining 11 peaks at the beginning of 2010 I picked it as the last one. I could not have timed it better! The summer of 2010 has been a drizzmal affair with late summer conditions and then early snow and ice. A week previous I was on Walcott and Burgess looking towards Carnarvon and crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t snow any more until I completed it. Thankfully the snow went elsewhere for the following week!

Mount Carnarvon Route Map

The weather forecast was calling for a gorgeous day on Friday and for once it actually delivered what it promised. I was a bit nervous starting out from the trail head. A nasty head cold was threatening to slow me down and a lot of people knew I was on my last peak. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel some amount of pressure to complete it successfully! It was a pleasure to finally meet Marko Stavrik. I’ve been in email contact with him for years and to finally engage a summit with him was good fun. He took along a work friend, Greg Ng and we were joined at the trail head by Eric Coulthard, a friend of ours from Edmonton.

A very calm, serene view of Hamilton Lake with Top Hat at the center and Carnarvon on the left. Emerald Peak on the right.

At around 08:50 we left the Emerald Lake parking lot, up the Hamilton Lake trail. Eric set a blistering pace and soon we were sweating buckets. A great thing about this scramble is that half of the 1800 meters of height gain is spent on a well-graded trail that wastes no time in gaining height. Right from the parking lot to Hamilton Lake – it’s a grind the whole way. The only not-so-nice aspect of the trail is that there are very few views until just before the lake. The views come in droves after that though.

Greg comes up the south ridge with Hamilton Lake below and Top Hat (L) and Emerald (R) visible.

A mere 1.5 hours after leaving the parking lot we were photographing a very calm and serene Hamilton Lake with reflections of Carnarvon painting its surface. After a short while at the lake (a worthwhile destination on its own), we started up the grassy east side of Carnarvon’s south ridge. We still had almost 1000 meters of height gain to go, even after gaining almost 900 meters to the lake.

The ridge ahead belies the size of this peak. It’s much further than it appears here.

The remaining scramble to the summit was very enjoyable. At every difficult junction there were two options. One option was to look for a faint trail or obvious cairns on climber’s left, around the obstacles.

Greg negotiates a section of ridge.
Eric on the ridge.
Topping out on another section of ridge – note the cairns. Looking west to the Van Horn Range.

The second option was to tackle the difficult terrain head-on. Despite some claims that Carnarvon is a moderate scramble if all the left traverses are done I disagree. I think because of its height gain, terrain and snow/ice gullies Carnarvon should be approached and treated like a difficult scramble that may or may not show its teeth depending on your route-finding ability and your luck with conditions.

Stunning views (including Laussedat) off the traverse.

Once we finally popped out on the summit ridge the others let me go first and I had the opportunity to kiss my last Kane summit cairn. 😀 The views from Carnarvon were outstanding. The cool wind kept our stay fairly short.

The Ottertail Range at left (Goodsirs and Vaux), Van Horne at center and right with the Selkirks (Sir Donald, Sanford) visible in the distance.
Looking north to the Freshfield Icefield including Barnard, Mummery and Karakal. The Lyells and Forbes right of center.
Laussedat at center with Spike and Redburn at left. Horsey at foreground right.
Hector, Daly, Niles, Wapta, Douglas, Ogden, St. Bride and Field among many other less easily recognized peaks.
Greg enjoys the stunning summit views including the Freshfields at distant left along with Forbes, the Wapta giants at center along with the Presidents and Skoki and Louise Peaks at distant right.

The way back was without incident and we spent a good 30 minutes at Hamilton Lake enjoying our success in warm sunshine before tramping back down the trail to the parking lot. I could have spent a couple of hours at the lake and definitely plan on returning for Emerald Peak and Top Hat Peak some time in the future.

Traversing back out of the gully to the south ridge.
Incredible views off the south ridge include Bosworth, Ogden, Wapta, Field, Cathedral, Stephen, Burgess, Walcott, Goodsirs, Vaux and more.
Views over Wapta Mountain (C) and Mount Field (R) with Ogden and Bosworth at left.
The lovely waters of Hamilton Lake with Emerald Peak rising above.

I could not have picked a better peak for my last Kane scramble. The scrambling, views and approach all combine to vault Carnarvon into my top 10 all time favorite Kane scrambles. My thoughts on finally completing the so-called ‘Kane List’ and peakbagging in general can be read here.

Mount Carnarvon
Heading up the trail to Hamilton Lake - just over 5km and much of it quite steep.
Heading up the trail to Hamilton Lake - just over 5km and much of it quite steep.
The trail is well defined but it take a while to get any views.
The trail is well defined but it take a while to get any views.
Carnarvon comes into view as we near Hamilton Lake - far off still!
Carnarvon comes into view as we near Hamilton Lake - far off still!
A very calm, serene view of Hamilton Lake with Top Hat at the center and Carnarvon on the left. Emerald Peak on the right.
A very calm, serene view of Hamilton Lake with Top Hat at the center and Carnarvon on the left. Emerald Peak on the right.
Marko takes photographs at the lake.
Marko takes photographs at the lake.
Hamilton Lake with Top Hat Peak.
Hamilton Lake with Top Hat Peak.
Heading up grassy slopes to Carnarvon's south ridge.
Heading up grassy slopes to Carnarvon's south ridge.
Greg comes up the south ridge with Hamilton Lake below and Top Hat (L) and Emerald (R) visible.
Greg comes up the south ridge with Hamilton Lake below and Top Hat (L) and Emerald (R) visible.
It's a grunt to the south ridge!
It's a grunt to the south ridge!
This is a heckuva big mountain! This is gazing up the south ridge - the summit not in view yet.
This is a heckuva big mountain! This is gazing up the south ridge - the summit not in view yet.
The ridge ahead belies the size of this peak. It's much further than it appears here.
The ridge ahead belies the size of this peak. It's much further than it appears here.
More views off the south ridge across to Emerald Peak and down to Hamilton Lake. My final Kane scramble did NOT disappoint with views.
More views off the south ridge across to Emerald Peak and down to Hamilton Lake. My final Kane scramble did NOT disappoint with views.
Looking south off the ridge towards the Ottertail Range including the Goodsir Towers and Mount Vaux.
Looking south off the ridge towards the Ottertail Range including the Goodsir Towers and Mount Vaux.
The Van Horne Range stretches out to the west over the Amiskwi River.
The Van Horne Range stretches out to the west over the Amiskwi River.
Greg and Eric on the south ridge.
Greg and Eric on the south ridge.
The scale of the upper mountain is tough to comprehend. It keeps going and going. At least it's fun, with stunning views.
The scale of the upper mountain is tough to comprehend. It keeps going and going. At least it's fun, with stunning views.
The scale of the upper mountain is tough to comprehend. It keeps going and going. At least it's fun, with stunning views.
The scale of the upper mountain is tough to comprehend. It keeps going and going. At least it's fun, with stunning views.
Marko went straight up this band, the rest of us followed cairns on a ledge to climber's left around it.
Marko went straight up this band, the rest of us followed cairns on a ledge to climber's left around it.
Marko.
Marko.
Eric.
Eric.
Marko heads directly up the grey band.
Marko heads directly up the grey band.
We side-hill around the cliffs.
We side-hill around the cliffs.
Traversing around a cliff band on loose terrain. Note Marko at the top of the photo - he went straight up the cliff instead.
Traversing around a cliff band on loose terrain. Note Marko at the top of the photo - he went straight up the cliff instead.
Eric tops out (note the cairn to his left) with great views to the west behind him.
Eric tops out (note the cairn to his left) with great views to the west behind him.
Greg negotiates a section of ridge.
Greg negotiates a section of ridge.
Lots of mountain left!
Lots of mountain left!
Looking ahead to another traverse.
Looking ahead to another traverse.
Eric on the ridge.
Eric on the ridge.
Greg starts up another steeper section on the south ridge - Eric and Marko already part way up it.
Greg starts up another steeper section on the south ridge - Eric and Marko already part way up it.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Steep scrambling on loose terrain.
Topping out on another section of ridge - note the cairns. Looking west to the Van Horn Range.
Topping out on another section of ridge - note the cairns. Looking west to the Van Horn Range.
A steep and exposed traverse across the west face off the ridge to get around some cliffs - following cairns and faint trails.
A steep and exposed traverse across the west face off the ridge to get around some cliffs - following cairns and faint trails.
A steep and exposed traverse across the west face off the ridge to get around some cliffs - following cairns and faint trails.
A steep and exposed traverse across the west face off the ridge to get around some cliffs - following cairns and faint trails.
ou can spot a cairn ahead and above Marko here on the traverse.
ou can spot a cairn ahead and above Marko here on the traverse.
Marko scrambles past a cairn.
Marko scrambles past a cairn.
Eric takes an exposed ledge towards a cairn.
Eric takes an exposed ledge towards a cairn.
Stunning views (including Laussedat) off the traverse.
Stunning views (including Laussedat) off the traverse.
Traversing over to the last scree gully before the summit ridge.
Traversing over to the last scree gully before the summit ridge.
Traversing over to the last scree gully before the summit ridge.
Traversing over to the last scree gully before the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
The final scree gully to the summit ridge.
Topping out on the final scree gully.
Topping out on the final scree gully.
On the summit ridge, heading for the summit cairn which I'm standing near.
On the summit ridge, heading for the summit cairn which I'm standing near.
Views west to the Van Horne Range from the summit of Carnarvon.
Views west to the Van Horne Range from the summit of Carnarvon.
The Ottertail Range at left, Van Horne at center and right with the Selkirks visible in the distance
The Ottertail Range at left, Van Horne at center and right with the Selkirks visible in the distance
Summit register.
Summit register.
Views north include the Freshfields at left and President Range at center including The President and Vice President.
Views north include the Freshfields at left and President Range at center including The President and Vice President.
Greg enjoys the incredible summit views.
Greg enjoys the incredible summit views.
Mount Stephen at fg right and Cathedral fg left with Victoria, Huber and Hungabee in the bg.
Mount Stephen at fg right and Cathedral fg left with Victoria, Huber and Hungabee in the bg.
Awesome views to the west include Redburn and McBeath.
Awesome views to the west include Redburn and McBeath.
Mount Laussedat on the right with Sir Sanford in the distance at center.
Mount Laussedat on the right with Sir Sanford in the distance at center.
Des Poilus left of center with Collie to its right. Ayesha, Baker, Habel and Rhondda in the far distance.
Des Poilus left of center with Collie to its right. Ayesha, Baker, Habel and Rhondda in the far distance.
The President and Vice President with Des Poilus on the right.
The President and Vice President with Des Poilus on the right.
Hector at far left with Daly and Niles beside to the right.
Hector at far left with Daly and Niles beside to the right.
Hector at far left with Daly and Niles beside to the right and Wapta, Field and Ogden at right.
Hector at far left with Daly and Niles beside to the right and Wapta, Field and Ogden at right.
Gazing towards a distant Mount Gordon through the Presidents col.
Gazing towards a distant Mount Gordon through the Presidents col.
The Wapta Glacier with Hector and Daly on the right. Balfour in the distance at left.
The Wapta Glacier with Hector and Daly on the right. Balfour in the distance at left.
Laussedat at center with Spike and Redburn at left. Horsey at foreground right.
Laussedat at center with Spike and Redburn at left. Horsey at foreground right.
Looking north to the Freshfield Icefield including Barnard, Mummery and Karakal. The Lyells and Forbes right of center.
Looking north to the Freshfield Icefield including Barnard, Mummery and Karakal. The Lyells and Forbes right of center.
Team summit photo.
Team summit photo.
Looking north to the Freshfield Icefield including Barnard, Mummery and Karakal.
Looking north to the Freshfield Icefield including Barnard, Mummery and Karakal.
Ready to drop back down the gully from the summit ridge.
Ready to drop back down the gully from the summit ridge.
Eric descends from the summit ridge.
Eric descends from the summit ridge.
Descending the scree gully.
Descending the scree gully.
Descending the scree gully.
Descending the scree gully.
Traversing back out of the gully to the south ridge.
Traversing back out of the gully to the south ridge.
Traversing back out of the gully to the south ridge.
Traversing back out of the gully to the south ridge.
More of the traverse.
More of the traverse.
More of the traverse.
More of the traverse.
Back on the south ridge, note the cairns underneath Marko here.
Back on the south ridge, note the cairns underneath Marko here.
Views towards Cathedral Mountain and Mount Stephen.
Views towards Cathedral Mountain and Mount Stephen.
Views over Hamilton Lake towards Lake O'Hara (L) and the Ottertail Range (R).
Views over Hamilton Lake towards Lake O'Hara (L) and the Ottertail Range (R).
Views over Hamilton Lake towards Lake O'Hara (C) and the Ottertail Range (R).
Views over Hamilton Lake towards Lake O'Hara (C) and the Ottertail Range (R).
Cathedral and Stephen with Hungabee and Victoria beyond.
Cathedral and Stephen with Hungabee and Victoria beyond.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Vern on the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Vern on the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Eric descends the ridge.
Eric descends the ridge.
Interesting cliff band on the lower south ridge.
Interesting cliff band on the lower south ridge.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Eric descends the ridge.
Eric descends the ridge.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Descending the south ridge of Carnarvon.
Vern kisses his last Kane Peak (2nd ed.)
Vern kisses his last Kane Peak (2nd ed.)
Descending back to Hamilton Lake.
Descending back to Hamilton Lake.
Looking back up the lower south ridge of Carnarvon.
Looking back up the lower south ridge of Carnarvon.
Heading back along Hamilton Lake.
Heading back along Hamilton Lake.
The lovely waters of Hamilton Lake with Emerald Peak rising above.
The lovely waters of Hamilton Lake with Emerald Peak rising above.
Heading back along Hamilton Lake.
Heading back along Hamilton Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
Heading back down to Emerald Lake.
A waterfall along the way.
A waterfall along the way.

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