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Noyes, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 3084
Elevation Gain (m): 1400
Round Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 8.5
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 3 – You fall you break something
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling with some route finding and bushwhacking to treeline.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps


On Tuesday, August 09 2011, Wietse and I scrambled to the summit of Mount Noyes in Banff National Park. This scramble is uncanny in it’s similarities to Mount Weed, the mountain just to the south of Noyes. As awesome as the views from Weed are, I would have to say that Mount Noyes is a more enjoyable scramble, or it certainly was for me. The main difference between Weed and Noyes is that Weed is pretty straightforward route-finding and a fairly typical Rockies approach. The route finding on Noyes isn’t nearly as straightforward and there are some hidden gems along the way. I had more fun on the Noyes approach than I can remember on any recent approach over the past couple of years.

Mount Noyes Route Map

We started from the overflow camping area on hwy 93 (roughly 10km north of Bow Summit) and went about 15 minutes along Silverhorn Creek before the terrain forced us up to climber’s left. I can’t possibly describe our route accurately, but suffice it to say that if you don’t have a good route finding ‘nose’, you will do your most difficult scrambling in the trees!

Wietse crosses into the scree bowl leading to the scramble section. White Pyramid, Chephren and Waterfowl Lakes in the background.

We were very fortunate to discover a great little break in the upper cliff band which led us over the first ridge. I marked our exit on my GPS because there’s no way we’d find it back otherwise! The thickest bushwhacking of the day brought us to the beautiful upper hanging valley, leading towards an obvious cliff / headwall with a waterfall plunging down the middle. We walked to the cliffs and turned up to climber’s left where we saw our first cairn (at the top). Sticking to the bottom (right of) the upper cliffs, we worked our way up and to climbers left before a route to the SW ridge of Noyes became obvious. We took advantage of a semi-permanent snow field to reach the SW ridge.

The face of the upper mountain looked very intimidating on the approach, but like many other Rockies peaks, it’s bark was certainly much worse than it’s bite! The moderate chimney felt more difficult than it should have due to snow and ice and wet rock. If there is any snow on the upper face you should consider bringing crampons. That would have made this section much easier. We were following fresh tracks to this point and thought for sure someone had beat us to the summit for 2011 – this was not the case according to the register and I think they turned around at the crux.

After the crux it was a steep and loose grunt to the summit cairn. The views were outstanding – too many peaks and valleys and ice fields to mention!

Outstanding views looking south, west and north along the hwy 93 corridor including Peyto, Mistaya, Waterfowl and Chephren Lakes (L to R) and numerous summits such as (L to R), Peyto, Caldron, Patterson, Barbette, Breaker, Ebon, Aries, Stairway, Midway, Aiguille, Howse, White Pyramid, Chephren, Epaulette, Kaufmann, Sarbach, Bison, Murchison.
Chephren and Waterfowl Lakes with Howse, White Pyramid and Chephren rising over them.
Looking north, east and south off the summit of Noyes includes (L to R), Bison, Murchison, Hall Tower, Spreading, Cline, Corona Ridge, Marmota, Loudon, Quill, Silverhorn, Observation, Weed and Patterson.

After 40 minutes on the summit we casually descended, using my GPS to find the break in the cliff band and finding the way down a bit more bushy than we remembered it from the morning. Funny how that happens sometimes.

On descent back through convoluted terrain to the lower approach valley, looking back. Note the impressive marker cairn here!

Noyes is a top scramble for me. Just a wonderful day in a beautiful area. Wildflowers were everywhere including but not limited to Camas, Saxifrage, Aster, Paintbrush, Arnica, Avens, River Beauty, Blue Bells and Columbine. I can’t think of a single reason why this peak shouldn’t be on every Alberta Rockies scrambler’s list.

Mount Noyes
59 photos
We hiked along Silverhorn Creek for about 15 minutes before cutting up to climber's left. You can only avoid the steep elevation gain so long!
We hiked along Silverhorn Creek for about 15 minutes before cutting up to climber's left. You can only avoid the steep elevation gain so long!
There is no trail through the forest - only smatterings of animal routes.
There is no trail through the forest - only smatterings of animal routes.
Looking down at Wietse coming up the break in the cliffs.
Looking down at Wietse coming up the break in the cliffs.
Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush
Yellow Columbine seem to easily cross pollinate with purple Asters
Yellow Columbine seem to easily cross pollinate with purple Asters
A panorama looking back over hwy 93. Mistaya Lake at left, Waterfowl Lakes at right.
A panorama looking back over hwy 93. Mistaya Lake at left, Waterfowl Lakes at right.
Wietse crosses a low ridge into the access scree gully.
Wietse crosses a low ridge into the access scree gully.
Obviously no easy route through the curtain wall ahead, we contoured left just ahead before proceeding to the summit at upper left.
Obviously no easy route through the curtain wall ahead, we contoured left just ahead before proceeding to the summit at upper left.
The summit rises far above - we cut left here.
The summit rises far above - we cut left here.
Looking left of the previous photo, Wietse is gaining height on loose scree to the upper mountain - he will soon traverse back to the right.
Looking left of the previous photo, Wietse is gaining height on loose scree to the upper mountain - he will soon traverse back to the right.
Looking back down our route - Patterson in the bg.
Looking back down our route - Patterson in the bg.
It's a steep scree grunt!
It's a steep scree grunt!
Following cairns as we work our way climber's left above the curtain wall to the summit.
Following cairns as we work our way climber's left above the curtain wall to the summit.
The terrain is loose so caution is encouraged with large groups. Wietse comes up behind me now.
The terrain is loose so caution is encouraged with large groups. Wietse comes up behind me now.
Finally the route to the summit comes into view at left.
Finally the route to the summit comes into view at left.
Taking advantage of snow patches - a nice break from scree.
Taking advantage of snow patches - a nice break from scree.
Views over Waterfowl and Chephren Lakes. Bison rising at far right.
Views over Waterfowl and Chephren Lakes. Bison rising at far right.
Views back towards Patterson.
Views back towards Patterson.
Does this pile of rubble ever end?! :)
Does this pile of rubble ever end?! 🙂
The snowy / icy crux isn't too bad - just slightly awkward.
The snowy / icy crux isn't too bad - just slightly awkward.
Peyto, Caldron, Patterson, Barbette, Breaker, Ebon, Aries, Stairway, Midway, Aiguille, Howse, White Pyramid, Chephren, Epaulette, Kaufmann, Sarbach, Bison, Murchison
Peyto, Caldron, Patterson, Barbette, Breaker, Ebon, Aries, Stairway, Midway, Aiguille, Howse, White Pyramid, Chephren, Epaulette, Kaufmann, Sarbach, Bison, Murchison
Views north, east and south (R) are amazing from Noyes!
Views north, east and south (R) are amazing from Noyes!
Bison, Murchison, Hall Tower, Spreading Eagle, Cline, Corona Ridge, Marmota, Loudon.
Bison, Murchison, Hall Tower, Spreading Eagle, Cline, Corona Ridge, Marmota, Loudon.
White Pyramid, Forbes and Chephren
White Pyramid, Forbes and Chephren
I'm not certain, but Rostrum could be the peak at left here.
I'm not certain, but Rostrum could be the peak at left here.
Surprisingly good view of the Lyells, (L to R), Christian, Walter, Ernest, Edward, Rudolph.
Surprisingly good view of the Lyells, (L to R), Christian, Walter, Ernest, Edward, Rudolph.
South and North Twin Peaks show up.
South and North Twin Peaks show up.
Mount Bryce.
Mount Bryce.
A great telephoto looking up Corona Ridge's beautiful summit ridge. Steven and I were the 4th party in many years to ascend that peak
A great telephoto looking up Corona Ridge's beautiful summit ridge. Steven and I were the 4th party in many years to ascend that peak
Mount Mummery
Mount Mummery
Parapet Peak.
Parapet Peak.
Collie (R) and des Poilus.
Collie (R) and des Poilus.
Balfour and Olive.
Balfour and Olive.
Mount Weed just to the south.
Mount Weed just to the south.
Mount Hector with Andromache and Little Hector in front.
Mount Hector with Andromache and Little Hector in front.
Waterfowl Lake and the Mistaya River.
Waterfowl Lake and the Mistaya River.
Barbette, Parapet, Breaker,  Ebon, Aries, Stairway, Midway, Aiguille, Howse, White Pyramid, Chephren
Barbette, Parapet, Breaker, Ebon, Aries, Stairway, Midway, Aiguille, Howse, White Pyramid, Chephren
Corona Ridge (L) and the false summit of Marmota (R).
Corona Ridge (L) and the false summit of Marmota (R).
Waterfowl Lake at right with Chephren Lake and mountain at center.
Waterfowl Lake at right with Chephren Lake and mountain at center.
Vern on the summit of Noyes.
Vern on the summit of Noyes.
Tarns in between Noyes and Marmota.
Tarns in between Noyes and Marmota.
Quill Peak (R) with Loudon at left distance.
Quill Peak (R) with Loudon at left distance.
Descending from the summit of Noyes.
Descending from the summit of Noyes.
Great views of Mount Weed's north face.
Great views of Mount Weed's north face.
Downclimbing the crux.
Downclimbing the crux.
Descending the upper scree slope.
Descending the upper scree slope.
Back on snow.
Back on snow.
Traversing snow slopes.
Traversing snow slopes.
Descending to the lower scree gully / valley.
Descending to the lower scree gully / valley.
Back down scree off the ridge to the summit.
Back down scree off the ridge to the summit.
Looking back at the obvious marker cairn - one of the largest I've seen!
Looking back at the obvious marker cairn - one of the largest I've seen!
Back down scree off the ridge to the summit.
Back down scree off the ridge to the summit.
Alpine Buttercup with Mount Weed in the bg.
Alpine Buttercup with Mount Weed in the bg.
Flowers with Noyes at upper left.
Flowers with Noyes at upper left.
Nice flowery alpine meadow - Chephren in the distance.
Nice flowery alpine meadow - Chephren in the distance.
Breaking through the lower cliffs in the forest.
Breaking through the lower cliffs in the forest.
Breaking through the lower cliffs in the forest.
Breaking through the lower cliffs in the forest.
Views of the lower forest with obvious cliffs that we broke through.
Views of the lower forest with obvious cliffs that we broke through.

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