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Erickson, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2485
Elevation Gain (m): 1400
Round Trip Time (hr): 7
Total Trip Distance (km): 11
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Mostly hiking and easy scrambling with some very loose terrain and minor exposure along the summit ridge.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
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On Saturday, June 8 2013 I was joined by Wietse, Steven, Ben, Mike, Andrea and Raf for a group ascent of little-known and little-ascended Mount Erickson in the Crowsnest Pass. Ironically enough, it was probably the busiest single day ever on the mountain! After going 7 years since 2006 with only 3 ascent parties signing the register, we added all our names plus met Dave Salahub on the summit, doing a solo ascent. And he thought he was going to be all alone… 😉

Mount Erickson Route Map

The day started out very nice. We followed So’s TR to find the trailhead, but still managed some confusion when the exact location of the BC border was in doubt. For reference, start measuring distance at the “Welcome to Alberta” sign – the one on the left side of the highway when coming from AB. I would park at the first pull out on the left. NOTE: It’s NOT the pullout that is almost a little road curving back along the highway, both left-side pullouts are literally just that – small gravel pullouts. The ‘correct’ one should have a small wooden cross in the opposite (right hand) ditch. This cross will help you find the best approach to the ridge.

Grovelling up the crappy gravel slope to access the south ridge from the Crowsnest Pass highway.

We started the day fairly late, at around 10:00 but in June we had plenty of day light. Steven, Ben and Mike had all hiked Saskatoon Mountain already that morning and then waited for Wietse, Raf, Andrea and I to join them for Erickson. I was sort of in a slow mood this particular day, but others were gunning for a 3rd peak after this one (Edmontonians have to bag a lot of peaks in one day since they drive so far). The pace was quite quick as we worked our way up to the ridge.

The forest is open and very pleasant.

I managed to separate from the group but the route was obvious. Wild flowers were a distraction for me on the ascent. If you’re an experienced scrambler you should have no route issues – basically head up and slowly trend climber’s left until finally hitting the ridge crest. Follow the treed ridge on scattered sheep trails on the east edge for the easiest and least bushy route. There was more bush than I was expecting but it was pleasant and open forest without any deadfall.

Getting higher on the ridge we finally get some views south towards Loop Peak.

Once we hit the ridge proper it was best to stick to the east edge on smatterings of sheep trails. There was some height loss on this ridge. Any snow patches were avoided easily and soon we were looking up at a strange rocket-launcher type tower high above on the ridge. We could also see a solo scrambler making their way up the rubble slope to it. We started up the slope – this was the steepest and loosest slope we were on all day but still only easy scrambling. There were a ton of fossils here too.

You can see the drop on the ridge and the tower / false summit in the distance.

The tower had a chopper landing pad right next to it and the summit was a short distance away, connected by a fun and easy ridge. Views from the top were awesome in all directions, even though the clouds were thickening a bit. To my great surprise the solo scrambler turned out to be Dave Salahub and we had a good laugh at the odds of meeting on such an obscure peak! Wietse and Steven celebrated their 200th summits on Erickson before we all started to head down. Descent was fast and easy.

A huge summit panorama with the Crowsnest area peaks at right, the long Erickson Ridge at center and peaks in BC at left.

I can highly recommend Mount Erickson as a worthwhile objective, especially when there’s snow elsewhere. Route finding is fairly straightforward and the views are pretty good, even considering the mine and the logging operations in the area. You won’t feel too isolated with the noise from mining, the highway and trains but there’s not too many names in the register either, especially considering the easy access and ascent route.

Mount Erickson
Leaving the parking area.
Leaving the parking area.
Ascending shitty gravel near the highway.
Ascending shitty gravel near the highway.
The forest is open and very pleasant.
The forest is open and very pleasant.
I told you that flowers were a distraction for me! Ladies Slipper is one of my favorites.
I told you that flowers were a distraction for me! Ladies Slipper is one of my favorites.
The forest is open and very pleasant.
The forest is open and very pleasant.
You can see a 'bump' on climber's left which isn't really worth going for. You can go up the gully but again - not really worth it.
You can see a 'bump' on climber's left which isn't really worth going for. You can go up the gully but again - not really worth it.
A nice open slope.
A nice open slope.
Lyall's Rockcress.
Lyall's Rockcress.
I managed to find a nice meadow with tons of flowers - these are Balsam Roots.
I managed to find a nice meadow with tons of flowers - these are Balsam Roots.
Another one of my favorites - Spotted Saxifrage.
Another one of my favorites - Spotted Saxifrage.
I love these too - I didn't realize they bloom so early. This is the 3-flowered Aven.
I love these too - I didn't realize they bloom so early. This is the 3-flowered Aven.
Getting higher on the ridge we finally get some views south towards Loop Peak.
Getting higher on the ridge we finally get some views south towards Loop Peak.
Bearberries
Bearberries
Carpets of Glacier Lillies in the forest.
Carpets of Glacier Lillies in the forest.
Staying to the east side of the ridge worked well and avoided any thicker bush on the ridge proper (but not too much left).
Staying to the east side of the ridge worked well and avoided any thicker bush on the ridge proper (but not too much left).
An open rubble slope, again we stuck to climber's left.
An open rubble slope, again we stuck to climber's left.
You know you're in Crowsnest Pass when you start passing old, dead trees on open, wind hammered ridges!
You know you're in Crowsnest Pass when you start passing old, dead trees on open, wind hammered ridges!
Gaining the south ridge.
Gaining the south ridge.
Gaining the south ridge.
Gaining the south ridge.
Looking ahead, north and west along the ridge to the false summit and radio tower.
Looking ahead, north and west along the ridge to the false summit and radio tower.
The team on the ridge.
The team on the ridge.
Looking back to the south before dropping down on the ridge.
Looking back to the south before dropping down on the ridge.
Tecumseh at left with Coulthard at right distance.
Tecumseh at left with Coulthard at right distance.
You can see the drop on the ridge and the tower in the distance.
You can see the drop on the ridge and the tower in the distance.
Ascending the south ridge of Erickson.
Ascending the south ridge of Erickson.
Ascending the south ridge of Erickson.
Ascending the south ridge of Erickson.
Steven and Ben at the helicopter landing pad beside the 'rocket launcher' tower.
Steven and Ben at the helicopter landing pad beside the 'rocket launcher' tower.
The strange tower.
The strange tower.
Telephoto from the chopper pad of Andrea and Mike at the summit of Mount Erickson.
Telephoto from the chopper pad of Andrea and Mike at the summit of Mount Erickson.
Looking back at the tower as I traverse to the summit.
Looking back at the tower as I traverse to the summit.
Crowsnest Mountain and Tecumseh and Phillips from the summit.
Crowsnest Mountain and Tecumseh and Phillips from the summit.
The large group at the summit of Mount Erickson.
The large group at the summit of Mount Erickson.
Hey look! It's Dave Salahub!
Hey look! It's Dave Salahub!
A huge panorama looking east (R), north (C) and west (L) along the Great Divide.
A huge panorama looking east (R), north (C) and west (L) along the Great Divide.
Telephoto of Crowsnest.
Telephoto of Crowsnest.
Looking over to Sentry Mountain and McLaren, Parrish and Chinook Peaks.
Looking over to Sentry Mountain and McLaren, Parrish and Chinook Peaks.
Tele shot of Tecumseh and Phillips.
Tele shot of Tecumseh and Phillips.
Looking southwest towards the Three Sisters near the town of Fernie.
Looking southwest towards the Three Sisters near the town of Fernie.
Looking over the massive Sparwood Mine towards the impressive form of Mount Washburn.
Looking over the massive Sparwood Mine towards the impressive form of Mount Washburn.
Looking towards Mount Harrison.
Looking towards Mount Harrison.
Vern on the summit of Mount Erickson.
Vern on the summit of Mount Erickson.
The summit register was quite empty and 7 years old. I was surprised that we were only the 4th ascent party to sign it in 7 years.
The summit register was quite empty and 7 years old. I was surprised that we were only the 4th ascent party to sign it in 7 years.
This was Wietse and Steven's 200th summit. The only difference is that Wietse took 10 years and Steven took 10 months... :)
This was Wietse and Steven's 200th summit. The only difference is that Wietse took 10 years and Steven took 10 months... 🙂
Andrea descends the ridge from the summit.
Andrea descends the ridge from the summit.
Descent was easy - but the clouds moved in and we got a very slight sprinkle of rain.
Descent was easy - but the clouds moved in and we got a very slight sprinkle of rain.
Field Chickpea
Field Chickpea
Purple Saxifrage
Purple Saxifrage
Colorful rock
Colorful rock
Colorful rock
Colorful rock
Glacier Lily
Glacier Lily
Ben the flower photographer!
Ben the flower photographer!
Ben descends to the highway.
Ben descends to the highway.
This photo was taken on descent from the pullout. The 2nd pullout is after this concrete barrier, the cross is in the ditch under the wires, right near the person in the red cap.
This photo was taken on descent from the pullout. The 2nd pullout is after this concrete barrier, the cross is in the ditch under the wires, right near the person in the red cap.

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