logo

Resolute Mountain (Lion & Lioness)

Summit Elevation (m): 3150
Elevation Gain (m): 2000
Round Trip Time (hr): 11
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: This is a long day hike / easy scramble from hwy 11. Don’t underestimate the effort required!
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps


On Sunday, July 07, 2013 I was joined by Steven and Ben for a long scramble up Resolute Mountain near the White Goat Wilderness north of the North Saskatchewan River valley and up Thompson Creek, just east of Mount Cline. After a pretty long outing on Friday, we apparently thought we were ready for an even longer outing on Sunday! Resolute is not often summitted, if for no other reason than it’s a bloody long day and sits right beside an 11,000er (Cline) so is not seen as a worthy summit. After completing it I can say that it IS worth the long day and the many meters of height gain.

Resolute Mountain Route Map

Lion Peak

We started early, anticipating afternoon thunderstorms, at 04:40 from the Thompson Creek bridge (near a campground). The trail on the right side of the creek was obvious even in the predawn light. What also became obvious right away was the recent flood damage to the creek bed and parts of the nearby trail! Almost immediately we were forced off the old trail onto a new one, which was really only beat-down grass at this point. Considering the flood was only 2 week previous, I was impressed that there was a new trail already forming! I think this first section is the shared approach with Cline, so it makes sense that it sees more traffic.

Mount Murchison and its impressive Towers. Epaulette and Kaufmann Peaks at distant right.

Eventually we had to bail out of the creek due to flooding and debris and we almost immediately found flagging and the track again. I’m calling it a ‘track’ because from this point it’s not always obvious where to go. Basically if you stick to climber’s right of the creek and stay high above it (but about 100 vertical meters below any rock bands above), you’ll be fine. There are many cairns marking the route up and around a steep hillside (far above the creek here) but even then the track is quite easily lost, especially when you come to the shoulder-high growth in the slide paths.

Once we worked our way along the hillside we saw where the creek splits for the last time, and knew we had to descend and take the left branch. Here we found the track again and followed it up a very steep embankment to access the upper hanging valley above tree line and in sight of the high col, Mount Cline and our destination – Resolute.

Once we were above tree line in the upper hanging valley we started to encounter steep snow patches that we either had to cross or avoid by ascending or descending around them. We kicked steps across a few low-angled ones before it was time to don the crampons. The snow was rock-hard and we were all wearing light footwear in anticipation of the long hike so we couldn’t easily kick our way across or up the slopes. Ben didn’t have crampons and started to look for ways around the snow while Steven and I took full advantage of the great conditions and went straight up to the col on steep, firm snow. I love snow climbing in gullies! So much better than scree slogging up!! After topping out I commented to Steven that Ben was surely 45 minutes behind us. To our great surprise when we gained the broad ridge above the col, Ben was right below us already. We were shocked at how quickly he came up the scree slope and all he had to say in return was, “I gave ‘er because I didn’t want to slow you guys down”! That’s a good line… 🙂

The views in all directions were gorgeous, with Cline and the three White Goat peaks stealing the show. We ascended the ridge the whole way to the summit of Lion, except for a brief detour around the false summit. There was some exposure and small ‘notches’ to deal with but nothing hard. The views kept getting better and better as we went higher and the scrambling on the ridge was good fun. The weather was perfect with some clouds building but no wind and cool temps. 6 hours after leaving the car we were on our first summit of the day.

The intimidating east face of Mount Cline.
White Goat Peaks at left with Shoe Leather Creek, Purple Mountain, Entry Creek right of center and Lioness Peak at far right. Abraham Lake just visible at distant center.
Looking for a way up to the summit of Lion with Cline looming at right. We traversed a bit further before finding an easy way up.
The gorgeous White Goat Peak including Troll, Dasent and Gruff (L to R).

After enjoying the views for a while it was time to traverse over to the second summit of Resolute – Lioness Peak.

Lion Peak (Resolute Mountain)
Early morning grass-whacking beside Thompson Creek.
Early morning grass-whacking beside Thompson Creek.
Mount Murchison and its impressive Towers.
Mount Murchison and its impressive Towers.
Creeping Beardtongue.
Creeping Beardtongue.
Picking our way up the drainage.
Picking our way up the drainage.
We can finally see our branch in the distance, the track goes climber's right of the stream.
We can finally see our branch in the distance, the track goes climber's right of the stream.
Crossing the branch in the upper stream to the upper hanging valley between Cline and Resolute.
Crossing the branch in the upper stream to the upper hanging valley between Cline and Resolute.
Looking back down the wild stream.
Looking back down the wild stream.
The faint trail winds through some light forest.
The faint trail winds through some light forest.
The upper hanging valley comes into view as we gain tree line. Lion on upper right and Cline on upper left with the col in the middle.
The upper hanging valley comes into view as we gain tree line. Lion on upper right and Cline on upper left with the col in the middle.
Gorgeous scenery all around this area.
Gorgeous scenery all around this area.
There are still a few km's just to the col and hundreds of meters of height gain yet.
There are still a few km's just to the col and hundreds of meters of height gain yet.
Looking back from the alpine valley.
Looking back from the alpine valley.
Traversing rubble slopes to the end of the valley.
Traversing rubble slopes to the end of the valley.
We started to encounter snow in the valley. It looked innocent enough but was rock-hard. Without crampons it was very tricky to cross.
We started to encounter snow in the valley. It looked innocent enough but was rock-hard. Without crampons it was very tricky to cross.
Views along Cline's intimidating east face start opening up.
Views along Cline's intimidating east face start opening up.
Snow is better than scree!
Snow is better than scree!
Ben looks tiny on the snow slope.
Ben looks tiny on the snow slope.
Climbing steep snow to access the col.
Climbing steep snow to access the col.
Ben starts up behind us.
Ben starts up behind us.
The snow becomes ice.
The snow becomes ice.
Incredible views from near the col of Cline and it's nice south ridge.
Incredible views from near the col of Cline and it's nice south ridge.
Looking north over the Cline / Resolute col at two peaceful tarns nestled under the White Goat peaks.
Looking north over the Cline / Resolute col at two peaceful tarns nestled under the White Goat peaks.
The summit block of Lion. This is actually the false summit that you circumvent to climbers right (higher up).
The summit block of Lion. This is actually the false summit that you circumvent to climbers right (higher up).
Ben with White Goat peaks in the background.
Ben with White Goat peaks in the background.
Ben comes up the broad ridge with Cline looming high above him.
Ben comes up the broad ridge with Cline looming high above him.
Steven on the ridge with Troll Peak in the immediate background and Mount Huntington (Cirrus) in the distance.
Steven on the ridge with Troll Peak in the immediate background and Mount Huntington (Cirrus) in the distance.
What a day!
What a day!
Steven on the ridge.
Steven on the ridge.
The ridge has some mild exposure if you go straight up it - which you should!
The ridge has some mild exposure if you go straight up it - which you should!
The ridge has some mild exposure if you go straight up it - which you should!
The ridge has some mild exposure if you go straight up it - which you should!
Incredible views of Cline and it's nice south ridge.
Incredible views of Cline and it's nice south ridge.
The three White Goat peaks from L to R are: Troll, Dasent and Gruff.
The three White Goat peaks from L to R are: Troll, Dasent and Gruff.
Cirrus in the distance.
Cirrus in the distance.
Traversing just beneath the true summit.
Traversing just beneath the true summit.
Looking for a way up. We traversed over to climber's right to gain the true summit block.
Looking for a way up. We traversed over to climber's right to gain the true summit block.
Panorama looking north to the White Goat wilderness towards Mount Stewart in the far distance.
Panorama looking north to the White Goat wilderness towards Mount Stewart in the far distance.
Summit views with Cline at right.
Summit views with Cline at right.
Shoeleather Creek at left, Entry Creek at center right and Lioness Peak at right.
Shoeleather Creek at left, Entry Creek at center right and Lioness Peak at right.
Looking towards Corona Ridge across the North Saskatchewan River.
Looking towards Corona Ridge across the North Saskatchewan River.

Lioness Peak

After summiting Lion Peak, it was time to traverse over to Lioness for our second summit of the day. I’ll admit, I was very skeptical that this summit deserved a “summit” rating but I wasn’t going to argue about it since it is an officially named peak. After doing the traverse I don’t have a problem with it anymore.

Ben descends to the Lion / Lioness col with Lion looming behind him.

The traverse isn’t too technical or hard, but it is extra work on top of a large day just to get to the main Lion Peak. We dropped down west slopes and contoured around the impressive cliffs on the south face of Lion Peak before dropping the packs and walking up Lioness. The views kept improving as we traversed – we were happy that the forecast clouds / rain weren’t cropping up to ruin our views. We enjoyed a short summit stay before heading back down.

 
Huge summit panorama from Lioness Peak. L to R, Lion, Troll, Dasent, Gruff, Purple, Abraham Lake, Corona Ridge, Murchison and many others.
The gorgeous Mount Murchison massif and its many named towers. R to L, Murchison NE, Murchison, Bison, Engelhard, Hall Tower.

After a million summit photos we headed back. The descent was long but softer snow made things much easier in the upper valley and soft scree from the upper col worked well too. After traversing back along the summit block of Lion you can maintain your line straight across obvious open scree slopes to get back to the Cline / Lion col, rather than re-ascend to the base of Lion’s false summit like some of insisted on.

Ben tests the rock on Lion as we traverse back to the Cline / Resolute col.
The lovely White Goat Peaks, Troll, Dasent and Gruff.
The scree descent into the alpine bowl beneath Cline was FAST!

I would highly recommend doing these summits in early summer to take advantage of excellent snow conditions in the upper hanging valley. It helps on ascent (avoids scree) and descent (quick and saves your knees!). Remember to bring crampons and ice ax if you plan on doing a snow ascent. We found a better track along the creek on the way out and realized that even where the track pretty much vanishes, there should be blazes on trees and cairns built.

Our round trip time of around 11 hours should be considered fairly quick since we didn’t stop moving most of the day and we were going at a good pace. Many folks will take over 13 hours for this trip which makes sense given the distance, rough track and height gain. I LOVE these types of scrambles! Remote, great scenery and not many names in the summit register. What more could you want? Highly recommended.

Lioness Peak (Resolute Mountain)
Scrambling under the impressive cliffs on the south side of Lion Peak.
Scrambling under the impressive cliffs on the south side of Lion Peak.
Scrambling under the impressive cliffs on the south side of Lion Peak.
Scrambling under the impressive cliffs on the south side of Lion Peak.
Easy hiking to the summit (L) from under the cliffs of Lion (R).
Easy hiking to the summit (L) from under the cliffs of Lion (R).
Ben descends to the Lion / Lioness col. We contoured Lion from the left.
Ben descends to the Lion / Lioness col. We contoured Lion from the left.
Cline, Lion, Cirrus, Troll, Dasent, Gruff,  Purple, Abraham Lake and others.
Cline, Lion, Cirrus, Troll, Dasent, Gruff, Purple, Abraham Lake and others.
Great views back towards Lion with Cline in the clouds beyond.
Great views back towards Lion with Cline in the clouds beyond.
Looking towards Murchison at distant left and Wilson right of center over Cline's east face.
Looking towards Murchison at distant left and Wilson right of center over Cline's east face.
A good view of Cirrus in the distance at center.
A good view of Cirrus in the distance at center.
The far distant peak with snow could be Hangman Peak.
The far distant peak with snow could be Hangman Peak.
Forbes shows up.
Forbes shows up.
The clouds are lifting and we have good views of Murchison and its impressive towers.
The clouds are lifting and we have good views of Murchison and its impressive towers.
Panorama over our ascent valley and Hwy #11.
Panorama over our ascent valley and Hwy #11.
Heading back down towards Lion.
Heading back down towards Lion.
Dwarfed by the cliffs.
Dwarfed by the cliffs.
Ben attempts a new rock route up Lion. He gave up pretty quickly.
Ben attempts a new rock route up Lion. He gave up pretty quickly.
Contouring back around Lion with Cline looming at left.
Contouring back around Lion with Cline looming at left.
Looking back up at the false summit of Lion on descent of the broad ridge.
Looking back up at the false summit of Lion on descent of the broad ridge.
An impressive view of the White Goat peaks from just above the Cline / Lion col - (L to R) Troll, Dasent and Gruff.
An impressive view of the White Goat peaks from just above the Cline / Lion col - (L to R) Troll, Dasent and Gruff.
The scree run on the upper slopes beneath the Cline / Lion col is awesome - and fast!
The scree run on the upper slopes beneath the Cline / Lion col is awesome - and fast!
Snow made our descent of the upper valley quick and easy.
Snow made our descent of the upper valley quick and easy.
Descent tracks and Mount Cline.
Descent tracks and Mount Cline.
Lovely scenery in the upper valley.
Lovely scenery in the upper valley.
Bouldering options abound!
Bouldering options abound!
Bouldering options abound!
Bouldering options abound!
An old fire ring hints at a bivy.
An old fire ring hints at a bivy.
Lush, green slopes in the burnt forest.
Lush, green slopes in the burnt forest.
Descending the upper forest.
Descending the upper forest.
Heading down the drainage.
Heading down the drainage.
Primrose.
Primrose.
Back in more open forest again.
Back in more open forest again.
Thompson Creek is a mess!
Thompson Creek is a mess!
Thompson Creek.
Thompson Creek.
Thompson Creek.
Thompson Creek.
Thompson Creek.
Thompson Creek.
Common Harebell
Common Harebell
Wild Rose.
Wild Rose.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.