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)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.