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Lougheed II & III, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 3105
Elevation Gain (m): 1400
Round Trip Time (hr): 8.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 10
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain your thumb
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling at most, easy if you choose a good route to the upper ridge.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (Hiking)
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After reading Bob Spirko’s and So Nakagawa’s trip reports on Mount Lougheed, I really wanted to give it a go in 2012. For some reason it’s already been a pretty popular peak with other’s this year so I knew it was in good shape. When Wietse and Kevin Papke were throwing around the idea of heading out on Sunday, July 22nd I proposed peaks II and III of Mount Lougheed and they quickly agreed. Why didn’t I also include peak I and do the traverse? I’m not sure. I wasn’t really in the mood to challenge the “5th class terrain” just under peak II and didn’t have the energy for the whole traverse.

Mount Lougheed Peaks II & III Route Map

Mount Lougheed – Peak II

After hiking Headwall Lakes in crappy weather the day before, I was delighted with the clear, crisp air and the wonderful forecast for Sunday. We found Spencer Creek and the trail following it on climber’s left without any issues (11 km past the Goat Pond bridge from Canmore). The trail was very pleasant and I enjoyed sticking well behind Wietse and Kev and taking pictures of the flowers and just enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery.

It’s hard not to simply lollygag around these meadows all day rather than bother with the hot and sweaty business of peak bagging!
I could live in this valley forever! Wind Mountain directly ahead here.

As we approached tree line and the end of the trail the route finding became a wee bit tougher – but not much. The sublime hanging valley which is tucked between Lougheed II and III and Wind Mountain and the north face of Sparrowhawk was the highlight of the day for me. This great little spot reminded me of some of my favorite scrambles / bivies including Mount Ball and even my all time favorite, the Mount Chephren bivy location. Carpets of wildflowers and bright green meadows greeted us as we worked our way higher along the upper environs of Spencer Creek. 

Looking up the scree slope we must ascend before crossing over to climber’s right to avoid obvious cliff issues.
Looking back at Sparrowhawk from above the crux – note the large cairn.

We started up the grassy slopes on the southwest flank of Lougheed II and soon were topping out on an upper bench with the scree cone clearly visible. The rest of the route closely followed Nugara’s description and we all agreed that the ascent route for Lougheed II doesn’t go much above easy scrambling if you’re on route with good conditions.

Wietse heads for the summit at right, Lougheed I at left with the scary looking traverse between them.
Incredible summit views south, west and north include (L to R), Sparrowhawk, Spray Lakes, Nestor, Old Goat, Big Sister, Rimwall, Windtower and Lougheed I.

After enjoying a great view and a bite to eat (and forgetting to sign the register) we continued down to Lougheed III from the summit.

Mount Lougheed II
Gorgeous carpets of moss near Spencer Creek.
Gorgeous carpets of moss near Spencer Creek.
Gorgeous carpets of moss near Spencer Creek.
Gorgeous carpets of moss near Spencer Creek.
Twinflowers are one of my favorite small flora.
Twinflowers are one of my favorite small flora.
These are called White Camas.
These are called White Camas.
A waterfall coming into Spencer Creek.
A waterfall coming into Spencer Creek.
The trail stays out of the creek on climber's left.
The trail stays out of the creek on climber's left.
Silky Lupine
Silky Lupine
A lovely summer morning.
A lovely summer morning.
It's hard not to simply lollygag around these meadows all day rather than bother with the hot and sweaty business of peak bagging!
It's hard not to simply lollygag around these meadows all day rather than bother with the hot and sweaty business of peak bagging!
Looking over carpets of wild flowers down Spencer Creek and our approach route.
Looking over carpets of wild flowers down Spencer Creek and our approach route.
Creeping Beardtongue
Creeping Beardtongue
Kev comes up the rocky drainage of Spencer Creek.
Kev comes up the rocky drainage of Spencer Creek.
Spencer Creek has carved an interesting niche in the upper hanging valley.
Spencer Creek has carved an interesting niche in the upper hanging valley.
I could live in this valley forever! Wind Mountain directly ahead here.
I could live in this valley forever! Wind Mountain directly ahead here.
We are tiny compared to the huge wall of rock coming off Mount Sparrowhawk.
We are tiny compared to the huge wall of rock coming off Mount Sparrowhawk.
Alpine Forget-me-not
Alpine Forget-me-not
Canada Anemone
Canada Anemone
Looking up the scree slope we must ascend before crossing over to climber's right.
Looking up the scree slope we must ascend before crossing over to climber's right.
Looking down the scree cone - note the green meadows far below! Sparrowhawk looming to the south.
Looking down the scree cone - note the green meadows far below! Sparrowhawk looming to the south.
Wietse searches for the trail that eventually goes climber's right to gain the upper ridge.
Wietse searches for the trail that eventually goes climber's right to gain the upper ridge.
Getting into cliffs now.
Getting into cliffs now.
Starting to trend right, sticking to easy terrain - note the pinnacle high above us.
Starting to trend right, sticking to easy terrain - note the pinnacle high above us.
Threading our way up through low cliffs.
Threading our way up through low cliffs.
Wietse and Kevin approach the only real scramble on this peak and it can be avoided on the right.
Wietse and Kevin approach the only real scramble on this peak and it can be avoided on the right.
Not as hard as it looks - note the large cairn at the top.
Not as hard as it looks - note the large cairn at the top.
Looking back at Sparrowhawk from above the crux - note the large cairn.
Looking back at Sparrowhawk from above the crux - note the large cairn.
A chopper flies through the bowl between us and Sparrowhawk.
A chopper flies through the bowl between us and Sparrowhawk.
The upper mountain is easy but still a scree grunt to the peak.
The upper mountain is easy but still a scree grunt to the peak.
Damn! This mountain is high!
Damn! This mountain is high!
Starting to get some nice views looking south at Spray Lakes.
Starting to get some nice views looking south at Spray Lakes.
Summit views over Nestor (L) and Old Goat (R) to Assiniboine, Eon and Aye.
Summit views over Nestor (L) and Old Goat (R) to Assiniboine, Eon and Aye.
Wietse heads for the summit at right, Lougheed I at left.
Wietse heads for the summit at right, Lougheed I at left.
Incredible summit views south, west and north include (L to R), Sparrowhawk, Spray Lakes, Nestor, Old Goat, Big Sister, Rimwall, Windtower and Lougheed I.
Incredible summit views south, west and north include (L to R), Sparrowhawk, Spray Lakes, Nestor, Old Goat, Big Sister, Rimwall, Windtower and Lougheed I.
Traversing the summit ridge, looking towards the front ranges.
Traversing the summit ridge, looking towards the front ranges.
Traversing the summit ridge, looking towards the front ranges.
Traversing the summit ridge, looking towards the front ranges.
Looking along the scary ridge to Lougheed I.
Looking along the scary ridge to Lougheed I.
At the summit looking over Lougheed I with Canmore at lower right. Kind of neat to have the Spray Valley on the left and Bow Valley on the right.
At the summit looking over Lougheed I with Canmore at lower right. Kind of neat to have the Spray Valley on the left and Bow Valley on the right.
Great views to the west over Spray Lakes.
Great views to the west over Spray Lakes.
Nestor and Old Goat in the fg, Aye, Eon and the mighty Mount Assiniboine beyond.
Nestor and Old Goat in the fg, Aye, Eon and the mighty Mount Assiniboine beyond.
Peaks as far away as Mount Ball (C) show up on this clear day.
Peaks as far away as Mount Ball (C) show up on this clear day.
Looking along the ridge to Lougheed II and Wind Mountain.
Looking along the ridge to Lougheed II and Wind Mountain.

Mount Lougheed – Peak III

After enjoying a very pleasant approach and summit on Lougheed II we were ready to tackle the scree bash up Lougheed III. We found the excellent bivy location at the II / III col (this is where the climber’s traverse spends the first night) and continued up faint trails to the summit of Lougheed III. The best option here is to stay climber’s left on the larger chunks of scree with the odd slab making things a bit easier.

Looking along the ridge to Lougheed II and Wind Mountain, looking like the same peak until you look closer.

As we topped out on Lougheed III’s summit I was surprised at how good the view was! I found it better than Lougheed II’s views, although the views of Spray Lakes weren’t quite as good. From Lougheed III, the descent slope on II looked very hard (while in reality it was rather easy) and Wind Mountain’s north ridge alpine route looked much harder than its 5.5 rating! Looking at slopes head-on is the worst way to assess how hard they are – you have to get your nose in them in order to really know. If you’re truly hardcore you can solo the entire Lougheed traverse without a rope – but you’d better know what you’re doing if you attempt this!!

My favorite views all day were into the Wind Creek Valley to the NE. Pigeon and McGillivray in the distance.
Kev looks towards Pigeon Mountain down the Wind Creek Valley – Mount Allan and the Centennial Trail on the right.
Looking towards Pigeon Mountain down the Wind Creek Valley with Wind Mountain rising at right looking very difficult from this angle.

We enjoyed another break (this one was longer thanks to no wind) before working our way down between Lougheed III and Wind Mountain. We didn’t bother going right to the col, but rather worked our way down some loose and slabby terrain before reaching the col. This was the hardest scrambling of the day – moderate at most though. We paused near some plane crash wreckage for a few moments before heading down the valley, utilizing snow patches wherever we could to make the descent more pleasant on our knees. Once again, we were mesmerized by the beauty of this pristine valley. It’s a mystery that this scramble / hike has not made it into any guidebooks yet – but maybe it’s better to leave it for people willing to do a bit more work and keep it cleaner.

The hike back down Spencer was fast and warm. Surprisingly the mosquitoes were nonexistent but finding the start of the trail from the high meadows was a bit of an adventure.

Fascinating greenery around seepage in the Spencer Creek origins.
The hike out of Spencer Creek Valley is gorgeous.

I highly recommend this scramble and this two peak combo, it’s one of the best on this range of mountains IMHO.

Mount Lougheed III
Looking along the ridge to Lougheed II and Wind Mountain.
Looking along the ridge to Lougheed II and Wind Mountain.
Easy descent to the Lougheed II / III col.
Easy descent to the Lougheed II / III col.
Mount Allan's distinctive brown shale summit.
Mount Allan's distinctive brown shale summit.
Ascending Lougheed III, looking down at lush green Wind Creek Valley to the east.
Ascending Lougheed III, looking down at lush green Wind Creek Valley to the east.
Looking back at Lougheed II - the highest peak of the Lougheed massif.
Looking back at Lougheed II - the highest peak of the Lougheed massif.
My favorite views all day were into the Wind Creek Valley to the NE. Pigeon and McGillivray in the distance.
My favorite views all day were into the Wind Creek Valley to the NE. Pigeon and McGillivray in the distance.
It's a long way down the face!
It's a long way down the face!
Looking towards Pigeon Mountain down the Wind Creek Valley - Mount Allan and the Centennial Trail on the right.
Looking towards Pigeon Mountain down the Wind Creek Valley - Mount Allan and the Centennial Trail on the right.
Wind on the left, Sparrowhawk at center.
Wind on the left, Sparrowhawk at center.
Wind Mountain.
Wind Mountain.
Mount Assiniboine and tiny Lunette to the left.
Mount Assiniboine and tiny Lunette to the left.
Mount Eon.
Mount Eon.
Mount Aye.
Mount Aye.
Mount Joffre.
Mount Joffre.
Looking over Leval towards Whiteman Mountain with Talon on the left.
Looking over Leval towards Whiteman Mountain with Talon on the left.
Loder, Door Jamb and Yamnuska look like little bumps from up here.
Loder, Door Jamb and Yamnuska look like little bumps from up here.
Old Goat Mountain.
Old Goat Mountain.
Can get enough of this valley!
Can get enough of this valley!
Heading down between Wind and Lougheed III.
Heading down between Wind and Lougheed III.
The bowl looks innocent enough but there is some moderate slabby / loose rock sections to watch out for.
The bowl looks innocent enough but there is some moderate slabby / loose rock sections to watch out for.
Careful steps on loose slabby terrain.
Careful steps on loose slabby terrain.
Careful steps on loose slabby terrain.
Careful steps on loose slabby terrain.
Airplane wreckage from a tragic chain of events in 1986 that left a total of 13 people dead in three separate crashes in the same area.
Airplane wreckage from a tragic chain of events in 1986 that left a total of 13 people dead in three separate crashes in the same area.
Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
Airplane wreckage
The view down valley from near the wreckage.
The view down valley from near the wreckage.
We used snow patches to speed up parts of the descent.
We used snow patches to speed up parts of the descent.
Fascinating greenery around seepage in the Spencer Creek origins.
Fascinating greenery around seepage in the Spencer Creek origins.
Water provides life!
Water provides life!
Wietse is tiny next to Sparrowhawk's cliff face.
Wietse is tiny next to Sparrowhawk's cliff face.
L to R, Lougheed II, III and Wind Mountain.
L to R, Lougheed II, III and Wind Mountain.
Sublime alpine meadows.
Sublime alpine meadows.
A look back from the meadows.
A look back from the meadows.
Back in Spencer Creek.
Back in Spencer Creek.
Cool walking in the shade on a hot summer afternoon.
Cool walking in the shade on a hot summer afternoon.

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