GR338442 (North Peak of McDougall)

Summit Elevation (m): 2283
Elevation Gain (m): 800
Trip Date: November 6 2011
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 5.5
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2/3 – You fall you sprain or break something.
Difficulty Notes: Some moderate scrambling and loose terrain along with limited route finding make this a moderate scramble.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Gaia

I don’t have very many (any?) GR’s in my summit log. (Grid References, or unnamed summits). The reason is obvious – without a named summit it’s hard for others to relate what the heck you’re referring to if you simply reference a number! Lately I’ve been reconsidering this logic. I actually like going up obscure peaks and out-of-the-way spots and calling everything by it’s GR might be kind of fun…

GR338442 Approximate Route Map

Since Andrew Nugara’s scrambles book lists a few GR’s on it’s tick list of summits, I guess I will start listing a few of these and see how it feels. My original plans were to ascend Mount Bryant but when I got to the north end of the Powderface trail (road) I saw a sign indicating a local closure for a car rally race from 12-7pm! That was a major bummer – I wasn’t too impressed. Stuck with nothing to do and running out of time to drive somewhere else and still have time to ascend anything I pulled out Nugara’s book and started perusing it for ideas. GR338442 jumped out at me. With a possible extension to Kananaskis Peak I could even end up with a two peak day. I drove the remainder of hwy 68 to hwy 40 and parked near Kananaskis Village turn off, as for Wasootch Peak.

I didn’t like the sounds of the nasty bushwhack so I ascended the Wasootch trail on the left side of the creek rather than Nugara’s lower route through the forest. I went pretty high on this trail until it insisted on giving preference to Wasootch by angling climber’s left and away from the creek. I was about 50-75 meters above the creek at this point and had to lose the elevation before walking up the creek to find a way up the ridge. Eventually I came to a drainage (small, rocky) and ascended it to gain tree line on the ridge to GR338442. The gully had some snow and ice in it but didn’t present too many huge problems.

Nice views from the upper route include Kidd, Bogart, Ribbon, Sparrowhawk, Allan, Lougheed and Collembolla.

The top part of the route was surprisingly loose and unpleasant. Every step up was half a step back! I tried to find solid ground but it was a challenge. With snow, there was one tricky little traverse that I couldn’t slip on (exposed) but other than that nothing major. The summit views were great under a blue sky with a chilly breeze. Kananaskis Peak looked intimidating to get to, and I wasn’t feeling 100% so I bailed on that plan.

Kananaskis Peak (right) and Wasootch (left).
Barrier Lake at distant left with Baldy to the right at center.

The descent was fast. I descended further down the treed ridge, until the terrain flattened a bit and then hit the creek, crossed it and descended the Wasootch trail to the truck. There was 5 vehicles parked near me – they were all ascending Wasootch, which seems to be the new Mount Baldy now! If you’re desperate for a summit and have done everything else in the region this peak is worth your time. Else, there is better objectives out there. I certainly won’t be repeating.

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