Summit Elevation (m): 2595
Trip Date: June 13 2015
Elevation Gain (m): 1500
Round Trip Time (hr): 10.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 31
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Distance and time is for Threepoint and Rose. Only difficulties are route finding and the large gains and distances involved.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps
Ever since I first biked the Big Elbow loop in the front ranges of Kananaskis Country along the Sheep and Elbow Rivers I was interested in scrambling Threepoint Mountain and Mount Rose. I’m not sure why, but these two peaks kept coming up in conversations. While scrambling Cougar Mountain in 2010, I remember looking over at the two mountains and wondering if they could be done together. On May 31 2015 I scrambled Bluerock Mountain and found myself gazing once again at Rose and Threepoint, wondering about them. When Phil Richards sent me a PM on ClubTread asking if I’d be interesting in giving Threepoint and Rose a go, I couldn’t resist. Our first plan fell through due to my laziness at getting up early, but with the weather looking like it might allow us to sneak in a trip on Saturday, June 13 if we left early enough, we made plans to leave the trailhead at 05:30.
After dodging at least 4 or 5 deer on the way to the trailhead, I finally met Phil and we hopped on our mountain bikes for the approach ride up the Elbow River. Phil had recently ridden the road for about 6km with his wife, so we knew it was in decent shape to that point. I haven’t biked much this year but the old muscles came back and soon I was huffing and puffing my way uphill – my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest after the first big uphill! Thank goodness it didn’t. We got some nice morning views of Threepoint along the trail before coming to a very washed out section. We navigated this section but soon came to a point where the old road is completely gone – washed out by the 2013 floods. At this point we could have biked another 2km or so before cutting left to Threepoint, but with the washouts and navigation headaches ahead, we decided to simply abandon the bikes and start our hike.
The first job we had was crossing the Elbow. It was pretty tame at this point and we crossed without going deeper than around our knees. From this point we had to stick to climber’s left of the river which meant a few side excursions through flood debris and along trashed river banks. Eventually we found ourselves directly under the west end of Threepoint’s NW ridge and started working our way up through light forest towards it. From the bottom we could spot broken cliff bands above – the same ones shown in Nugara’s book. Instead of following his line, we went further climber’s right (south) and managed to find a break through the bands lower down before heading straight up towards the pinnacle high above steep scree slopes. This section was a grunt! When we got close to the pinnacle / first summit, we trended climber’s left on Nugara’s route line again, before breaking through the scree ascent slope and onto the ridge proper, just east of the pinnacle.
The view to the main summit and the surrounding area was excellent. What a morning we were having! We were enjoying much better weather than expected, especially the wind was much calmer than I thought it would be. On the drive up, I noticed a lot of fresh snow on Bluerock, but we got lucky with very little ice / snow on our route.
The ridge and final ascent slope on Threepoint looked a bit intimidating, but as usual once we got our noses in it, the terrain was no more than easy scrambling. After a glorious ridge walk and steep ascent we found ourselves on the first summit of the day at the early hour of 09:45 with excellent views in every direction.
We both knew that our day wasn’t over yet – we wanted to try the route to Mount Rose before the weather moved in. After a quick bite to eat and some summit photos, it was time for the real test of the day, finding a route from Threepoint Mountain to Mount Rose.