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)
GPS Track: Download
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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.

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