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Numa Mountain

Summit Elevation (m): 2720
Elevation Gain (m): 1700
Round Trip Time (hr): 10.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Mostly hiking with some route finding and easy scrambling up an avalanche gully.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
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Friday July 05 2013 was a perfect day to escape Calgary (Stampede parade day…) so a group us did what we always try to do when we ‘escape’ – namely bag a peak! Steven, Wietse, Dave and I would join Kevin, Kelly and Scott along hwy 93 in Kootenay National Park and ascend something there. On the drive up we debated about the original destination – Mount Wardle. We weren’t too enthused about a possible 1000 vertical meter bushwhack and subsequently made a decision to tackle the much more pleasant Numa Mountain instead.

Numa Mountain Route Map

After collecting Kev and Scott from the Wardle parking area, we joined Kelly at the Floe Lake trail head and started up the excellent backpacking trail to Floe Lake and the Rockwall hike. This trail is very pleasant (for the first 7-8km anyway…) and we chatted our way along the 6km approach to the avalanche slope leading up to Numa’s summit block. I stayed behind the group and was distracted constantly by the hundreds of wild flowers everywhere – honestly this is the best trail I’ve been on for flower photography in a long time. After approximately 6km (just over) we found ourselves looking up an avalanche slope with a nice angle for ascent. We knew this must be the right slope and started up.

The first ~8km of trail towards Floe Lake is in great shape.
Stunning views from our avalanche slope ascent route back over Floe Creek towards Floe Lake.

Once the terrain on the avy slope opened up a bit we started a slow trend to climber’s left. Scott and Kelly didn’t realize that the bump on climber’s right wasn’t part of the main mountain and ended up gaining some extra meters. The burnt forest is pretty open and easy to navigate – as you come around on a side hill, you should start to see Numa Mountain’s gentle summit bump coming into view.

Mount Ball and Hawk Creek / Ridge at left. Verendrye, Floe and Foster at center and right.

We made the summit under perfect conditions – barely any wind and a warm sun. We spent almost an hour at the top enjoying the stupendous views and naming peaks in every direction. This mountain should be done more often considering how technically easy it is and how amazing the surrounding terrain is! Scott and Kevin decided to return via our ascent route due to time constraints, while the rest of us chose a more scenic and adventurous return via Numa Pass and Floe Lake. And a much longer return.

The Rockwall at left and the Ball range at right.
Stanley, Ball, Isabelle and Hawk Ridge.
Mount Drysdale in front of South Goodsir at left. Sharp Mountain rising over Limestone Peak at center.
The impressive Vermillion Range marches its way from Foster at right to the south past Verendrye towards Mount Wardle.

Scott has been on the Rockwall trail before, and indicated that he thought there was a simple scree slope down from the false summit all the way to Numa Pass. Since this sounded so easy and since none of us had ever been to Floe Lake before, we decided it was worth the extra 4-5km to see a new section of the trail. We also assumed that the Floe Lake trail would continue to be as excellent as it had been on our approach.

Descending to Numa Pass with the Rockwall at right and Vermillion south range at left.

As it usually happens in the mountains – a few too many assumptions are never a great thing. While Scott was correct that there was a relatively easy descent from Numa Mountain to Numa Pass, he forgot a small detail. That would be the 100 vertical meters you have to regain to reach the pass after descending the false summit! Oh well. Not too bad – but you’ve been warned now. After an extremely enjoyable and scenic descent to Floe Lake it was time to tackle the 10.7km back along the trail to the parking lot. We were all feeling tired and sore at this point but we had an excellent trail to follow so it was ‘robot’ mode right? Wrong.

Beautiful Floe Lake and Mountain from under Numa Pass.
Hiking down towards Floe Lake.
Floe Lake with Floe Mountain rising above.

The trail condition down the headwall below Floe Lake was in dismal shape. Avalanches had washed burnt and live timber across the steeply switch-backed trail and really made a mess out of it! We had to crawl through debris before cutting down the switchbacks and cutting through it again and again. This was tiring in the heat of the afternoon – but we eventually made it through. I’m sure eventually someone will make it into the area with a chainsaw but for now you should be aware of this section of trail. It’s not long but with a big overnight pack it’ll suck.

Steven does some avy debris gymnastics!

The rest of the way out was easy but long after a very full day. I highly recommend Numa Mountain as an easy / moderate outing with an excellent optional egress that serves up even more views than you’ve already experienced on the main mountain.

Numa Mountain
61 photos
The approach trail starts off very well defined.
The approach trail starts off very well defined.
A bridge crosses a raging Vermillion River near the parking lot.
A bridge crosses a raging Vermillion River near the parking lot.
Flora.
Flora.
The approach trail starts off very well defined.
The approach trail starts off very well defined.
Asters
Asters
Yellow dotted saxifrage on the avalanche slope we ascended.
Yellow dotted saxifrage on the avalanche slope we ascended.
The slope was fairly stable and easy to ascend - I would recommend going into the middle of it where there's a faint track to follow.
The slope was fairly stable and easy to ascend - I would recommend going into the middle of it where there's a faint track to follow.
Stunning scenery, looking back down the slope towards Floe Peak.
Stunning scenery, looking back down the slope towards Floe Peak.
The Indian Paintbrush were all bright pink on Numa Mountain instead of the more 'normal' red color.
The Indian Paintbrush were all bright pink on Numa Mountain instead of the more 'normal' red color.
Ascending the steep gully.
Ascending the steep gully.
Ascending the steep gully.
Ascending the steep gully.
The scenery on Numa Mountain is very nice, thanks in part to a forest fire about 10 years ago in the area.
The scenery on Numa Mountain is very nice, thanks in part to a forest fire about 10 years ago in the area.
Above tree line and now looking up at Numa's summit.
Above tree line and now looking up at Numa's summit.
Chickweed, high up on Numa.
Chickweed, high up on Numa.
The guys come up the slope behind me. Numa Creek is far below now - almost a vertical mile!
The guys come up the slope behind me. Numa Creek is far below now - almost a vertical mile!
Ascending the summit snow banks.
Ascending the summit snow banks.
Ascending the summit snow banks.
Ascending the summit snow banks.
Hawk Ridge at left with Floe and Foster Peaks at right.
Hawk Ridge at left with Floe and Foster Peaks at right.
The Rockwall at left and Ball Range at right.
The Rockwall at left and Ball Range at right.
Looking north along the Rockwall Trail. Wolverine Pass in the far distance with South Goodsir just making the photo on the right.
Looking north along the Rockwall Trail. Wolverine Pass in the far distance with South Goodsir just making the photo on the right.
Mount Drysdale in front of South Goodsir at left. Sharp Mountain rising over Limestone Peak at center.
Mount Drysdale in front of South Goodsir at left. Sharp Mountain rising over Limestone Peak at center.
Hungabee, Deltaform, Ringrose, Temple, Fay, Quadra and Bident are just some of the Lake Louise peaks visible to the north.
Hungabee, Deltaform, Ringrose, Temple, Fay, Quadra and Bident are just some of the Lake Louise peaks visible to the north.
The Ball Range to the north and east.
The Ball Range to the north and east.
South Goodsir peeks over the Rockwall - Vaux just visible as well.
South Goodsir peeks over the Rockwall - Vaux just visible as well.
Mount Ball
Mount Ball
Stanley Peak
Stanley Peak
The Rockwall route goes right up this gorgeous valley. Hewitt Peak to the left.
The Rockwall route goes right up this gorgeous valley. Hewitt Peak to the left.
Isabelle on the left.
Isabelle on the left.
Vern enjoying the views from the summit of Numa Mountain.
Vern enjoying the views from the summit of Numa Mountain.
Group shot! (Except Kelly - but he's almost in it!!)
Group shot! (Except Kelly - but he's almost in it!!)
Floe Lake with Floe Peak looming above it and Foster Peak on the right, high above Numa Pass.
Floe Lake with Floe Peak looming above it and Foster Peak on the right, high above Numa Pass.
Floe Peak above Floe Lake.
Floe Peak above Floe Lake.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa with Floe and Foster in the distance.
Descending the SW ridge of Numa with Floe and Foster in the distance.
Looking north from near Numa Pass along the Rockwall from near Numa Pass.
Looking north from near Numa Pass along the Rockwall from near Numa Pass.
The remarkable views of Floe Lake with the imposing Floe Peak towering above made the diversion worth it.
The remarkable views of Floe Lake with the imposing Floe Peak towering above made the diversion worth it.
Views over Floe Lake.
Views over Floe Lake.
Looking back up the trail to Numa Pass. We descended from the right side of this photo from the false summit of Numa Mountain.
Looking back up the trail to Numa Pass. We descended from the right side of this photo from the false summit of Numa Mountain.
Taking in the views from above Floe Lake.
Taking in the views from above Floe Lake.
Floe Lake is a wonderful place to sit for a while. Or camp!
Floe Lake is a wonderful place to sit for a while. Or camp!
Floe Lake is a wonderful place to sit for a while. Or camp!
Floe Lake is a wonderful place to sit for a while. Or camp!
Evergreen Violets
Evergreen Violets
Views on descent from Floe Lake.
Views on descent from Floe Lake.
Negotiating the avalanche debris on the steep headwall.
Negotiating the avalanche debris on the steep headwall.
Steven does some avy debris gymnastics!
Steven does some avy debris gymnastics!
Buttercup
Buttercup
Alpine Willowherb
Alpine Willowherb
Note Wietse and Dave in the overgrowth! The trail feels a bit overgrown in spots but it's always fairly easy to follow.
Note Wietse and Dave in the overgrowth! The trail feels a bit overgrown in spots but it's always fairly easy to follow.
Larkspur
Larkspur
Larkspur
Larkspur
Back on the well-maintained trail.
Back on the well-maintained trail.
Pink Indian Paintbrush - these were lovely and all over the place!
Pink Indian Paintbrush - these were lovely and all over the place!
Western Canada Violet.
Western Canada Violet.
Just because you can SEE the highway doesn't make it close... Still kilometers to hike to the parking lot!
Just because you can SEE the highway doesn't make it close... Still kilometers to hike to the parking lot!
Mats of Twinflower carpet the start of the Floe Lake trail.
Mats of Twinflower carpet the start of the Floe Lake trail.
Pink Wintergreen.
Pink Wintergreen.
An orange Indian Paintbrush.
An orange Indian Paintbrush.

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