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Charles Stuart South, Mount (Buffalo Point)

Summit Elevation (m): 2812
Elevation Gain (m): 1573.2
Round Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 14
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 1/2 – You fall you sprain your ego or your big toe
Difficulty Notes: Easy hiking and scrambling.
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Hiking)
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I wasn’t sure how it would feel to bash my way up a scree slope after just ascending two of the nicest peaks in Alberta a few weeks previous (North Twin and Twins Tower) but surprisingly I really enjoyed my solo ascent of Buffalo Point. Considering this was my 300th peak, it was strangely appropriate that it’s ‘unofficial’ and off the beaten path and that I did it solo, as so many of my favorite outings over the past 10 or 11 years have been solo ascents of piles of scree and for some strange reason I still love doing it! I guess I must genuinely love the mountains if I can enjoy a scree bash almost as much as a fine ski ascent.

I’ve heard rumors that the approach is a bit convoluted on this one but as long as you stick to climber’s left along the fenced property at the start, the route is pretty straightforward. Follow the creek bed until you get to a waterfall and then go up on climber’s left to the summit.

Here is where you leave the creek bed and angle to climber’s left. There is still a LOT of elevation gain at this point.

After gaining the lower mountain just above tree line I started feeling that I was almost at the summit. Of course, with almost 1600 meters of height gain this was an illusion! The bottom half of the upper scree slog is actually pretty solid scree. The section after this is anything but solid. I ended up trying snow gullies which were almost too isothermal already and then I bailed to the ridge on climber’s left. This ridge proved to be moderate to difficult scrambling so I knew I’d be descending the looser scree, which was obviously fine. 

Looking back at the approach from about half way up the the upper slopes. I haven’t bailed to the ridge yet (right side of photo).

Looking back on it now, I have no idea why I didn’t traverse to the true summit but I don’t think the route via west slopes under the connecting ridge had been done yet when I was up there. The views were decent enough from the summit but soon I was headed back down.

Summit panorama looking across the Bow Valley at the huge massif of Mount Rundle. Charles Stewart at right, ST at center and Lady MacDonald at left with Grotto at far left.
Now looking east off the summit with Charles Stewart at left and Stenton, Townsend, Epic, Mythic, Fable, Cougar, Grotto and Lady MacDonald also visible.

I descended the easy loose scree slopes rather than the more difficult ridge.

Mount Charles Stewart South (Buffalo Point)
Looking back at the approach from near where I intersected the stream bed.
Looking back at the approach from near where I intersected the stream bed.
For the most part the stream bed is easy to walk in. It got a bit tedious on return so I bailed to the trail through the trees on the way back.
For the most part the stream bed is easy to walk in. It got a bit tedious on return so I bailed to the trail through the trees on the way back.
Approaching the cool canyon section.
Approaching the cool canyon section.
Approaching the cool canyon section.
Approaching the cool canyon section.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The canyon is pretty dope.
The canyon is pretty dope.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
The access canyon.
Looking back at the canyon as I continue up the creek.
Looking back at the canyon as I continue up the creek.
Just around the corner on the left is the scree ascent slopes.
Just around the corner on the left is the scree ascent slopes.
Looking back.
Looking back.
Looking back.
Looking back.
Here is where you leave the creek bed and angle to climber's left. There is still a LOT of elevation gain at this point.
Here is where you leave the creek bed and angle to climber's left. There is still a LOT of elevation gain at this point.
Looking at the waterfall that ends the valley approach from the scree ascent slope.
Looking at the waterfall that ends the valley approach from the scree ascent slope.
A very foreshortened view of the upper slopes of Buffalo Point. Those snow 'patches' are more like snow 'fields' when you get closer. :-)
A very foreshortened view of the upper slopes of Buffalo Point. Those snow 'patches' are more like snow 'fields' when you get closer. 🙂
Looking back.
Looking back.
Looking back at the approach from about half way up the the upper slopes. I haven't bailed to the ridge yet (right side of photo).
Looking back at the approach from about half way up the the upper slopes. I haven't bailed to the ridge yet (right side of photo).
Looking back along the ridge that leads to ST.
Looking back along the ridge that leads to ST.
Looking down the ridge. Doesn't look bad from this angle but the upper part was pretty steep and loose.
Looking down the ridge. Doesn't look bad from this angle but the upper part was pretty steep and loose.
Looking up the moderate / difficult scrambling portion of the ridge to the summit.
Looking up the moderate / difficult scrambling portion of the ridge to the summit.
Summit panorama looking across the Bow Valley at the huge massif of Mount Rundle. Charles Stewart at right, ST at center and Lady MacDonald at left
Summit panorama looking across the Bow Valley at the huge massif of Mount Rundle. Charles Stewart at right, ST at center and Lady MacDonald at left
Charles Stewart at left and Stenton, Townsend, Epic, Mythic, Fable, Cougar, Grotto and Lady MacDonald
Charles Stewart at left and Stenton, Townsend, Epic, Mythic, Fable, Cougar, Grotto and Lady MacDonald
Looking over to the true summit of Charles Stuart.
Looking over to the true summit of Charles Stuart.
Looking down the South Ghost towards Orient Point.
Looking down the South Ghost towards Orient Point.
Mount Townsend at right.
Mount Townsend at right.
Looking over Canmore to EEOR and Ha Ling with the Goat Range towering beyond.
Looking over Canmore to EEOR and Ha Ling with the Goat Range towering beyond.
The Three Sisters towering over Canmore.
The Three Sisters towering over Canmore.
Grotto Mountain.
Grotto Mountain.
Not sure how official this is, but good enough for me!
Not sure how official this is, but good enough for me!
Heading down easy scree slopes.
Heading down easy scree slopes.
Heading down easy scree slopes.
Heading down easy scree slopes.
On descent looking back at the guy I met ascending the snow 'patches'. Can you spot him?
On descent looking back at the guy I met ascending the snow 'patches'. Can you spot him?
A warm, beautiful day to be out in the hills.
A warm, beautiful day to be out in the hills.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Exiting the canyon.
Near the hwy looking back.
Near the hwy looking back.
Looking at the road that Gillean mentions from the parking spot along the road.
Looking at the road that Gillean mentions from the parking spot along the road.

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