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Jimmy Simpson Junior, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2721
Trip Date: August 01 2016
Elevation Gain (m): 900
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 7.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No major difficulties for seasoned off trail scramblers. An easy, loose gully just above treeline and another slightly steeper one below the summit block.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
Mapwhat3words


I was happy with the outcome of Friday’s scramble up Devil’s Thumb and instantly began planning another objective for Sunday. As the weekend progressed, the weather deteriorated for the Bow Lake area and soon the date slipped to Monday. I didn’t want to go Monday due to the expected hordes of folks returning to Calgary after a long weekend of camping so Kaycie and I agreed that we’d get up at 04:45 and try to be off the mountain by around noon – hopefully beating the mad rush from Banff / Canmore to YYC.

Mount Jimmy Simpson Junior Route Map

We started from the Bow Lake parking lot in crisp, cool air at around 08:00 and were soon looking at our ascent slope from the trail. We donned Gore-tex jackets and pants to fend off the dew-soaked vegetation and proceeded to make our way up the easy bushwhack to more open avalanche slopes halfway to the lower cliff band. The lower slopes on Jimmy Junior are bushy but it’s Alberta bush, in other words not really “bush”. 🙂 The route was sort of obvious and we ended up more or less following a shallow drainage which became an obvious drainage the higher we went. Raf told me he’d seen a Grizzly up near the lower cliff band so we made sure to do lots of yelling on our way up.

The views started opening up behind us almost immediately after reaching the main drainage and exiting the thicker bush. Of course, as we worked our way higher, the views only kept improving and distracting us. As we broke treeline, I could see an obvious break in the first cliff band on its SE end and we contoured back around towards it, avoiding the low Krumholtz that was blocking a direct line from our drainage. As usual, once we got closer to the break it was even easier than we first thought and soon we were standing on top of the cliff band, looking down on Bow Lake and taking in the gorgeous morning scene around us.

Kaycie stands on the south end of the ridge above the low cliffs with a grand view over Bow Lake.
The south ridge starts off very broad and open to amazing views.
The lovely tarn between Jimmy and Jr. is visible as the terrain becomes more scrambly. Iceberg Lake is also visible at far right in the distance.

From the top of the first cliff bands the route to the summit was obvious, follow the south ridge up! So that’s what we did. We ventured a bit further west to take in a gorgeous little tarn and some waterfalls in the gully to our left but other than that, we stuck right to the ridge which included some easy scrambling on fairly solid rock. Near the very top there was another easy scrambling move or two to get up the summit block from which we wandered to the apex cairn exclaiming at the wonderful views that continued to open up in every direction. I enjoyed pointing out many peaks that I’ve summitted on the Wapta and across hwy 93 to Kaycie. Lots of good memories in the Bow Lake area!

KC approaches the short scrambling step.
Iceberg Lake at the toe of the Bow Glacier is a major source of water for Bow Lake and Calgary. It’s also a lovely hiking destination that is harder to access than you’d think due to several river crossings that aren’t bridged.
Looking up hwy #93 from the summit of Jimmy Junior.
Another shot of KC and the wonderful views over Bow Lake from the summit of Jimmy Junior.

After enjoying the views for around 30 minutes we decided to head down as clouds were starting to build already and as indicated earlier, we really wanted to avoid the long weekend return traffic to YYC. We took a bit of a shortcut down from near the summit on the east scree slope which sped things up a bit. From there we retraced our ascent line to the parking lot. Our round trip time was 4:20 including a few nice breaks. Jimmy Jr. is a nice short outing, close to a major highway with mind blowing views that doesn’t see that many visitors compared to many other peaks in the area. It gets skied quite a bit in the winter but you shouldn’t avoid it when it’s free of snow either – the views of Bow Lake are worth the short hike and it competes with its neighbor, Jimmy Simpson for views despite being much shorter and easier.

Jimmy Simpson Junior
Kaycie on the Bow Falls trail with Jimmy Jr. at upper right.
Kaycie on the Bow Falls trail with Jimmy Jr. at upper right.
Obligatory shot of Bow Lake from the shoreline trail, which we followed for about 5 minutes.
Obligatory shot of Bow Lake from the shoreline trail, which we followed for about 5 minutes.
Can this really be considered "bushwhacking"? It's more like "bush hiking".
Can this really be considered "bushwhacking"? It's more like "bush hiking".
Hints of the views to come from the drainage.
Hints of the views to come from the drainage.
It's a bit of a grunt to get to treeline, but nothing worth complaining about and look behind us here. It's going to be worth it!
It's a bit of a grunt to get to treeline, but nothing worth complaining about and look behind us here. It's going to be worth it!
As we near the thinner top of the avy slope, the views start to really open up behind us.
As we near the thinner top of the avy slope, the views start to really open up behind us.
The break in the lower cliff band is obvious at left.
The break in the lower cliff band is obvious at left.
Kaycie is enjoying the beautiful morning.
Kaycie is enjoying the beautiful morning.
Kaycie stands on the south end of the ridge above the low cliffs with a grand view over Bow Lake.
Kaycie stands on the south end of the ridge above the low cliffs with a grand view over Bow Lake.
The rest of the route up is obvious - follow the ridge.
The rest of the route up is obvious - follow the ridge.
Apparently folks have gone up this drainage, just west of the south ridge of Jimmy Jr. in order to access this peak but it's not recommended due to loose terrain.
Apparently folks have gone up this drainage, just west of the south ridge of Jimmy Jr. in order to access this peak but it's not recommended due to loose terrain.
The south ridge starts off very broad and open to amazing views.
The south ridge starts off very broad and open to amazing views.
The terrain is easy hiking at this point.
The terrain is easy hiking at this point.
The lovely tarn between Jimmy and Jr. is visible as the terrain becomes more scrambly. Iceberg Lake is also visible at far right in the distance.
The lovely tarn between Jimmy and Jr. is visible as the terrain becomes more scrambly. Iceberg Lake is also visible at far right in the distance.
The terrain gets a bit more interesting near the top.
The terrain gets a bit more interesting near the top.
Looking back down the spine of the south ridge.
Looking back down the spine of the south ridge.
Iceberg Lake visible here with The Onion rising above it and St. Nicholas above that. Olive to the left and Gordon to the right.
Iceberg Lake visible here with The Onion rising above it and St. Nicholas above that. Olive to the left and Gordon to the right.
The short, easy, scrambling bit just before the summit.
The short, easy, scrambling bit just before the summit.
KC approaches the short scrambling step.
KC approaches the short scrambling step.
Looking down the step.
Looking down the step.
(L to R), Observation, Cirque, Dolomite, Andromache, Bow, Crowfoot and Vulture among many others of course.
(L to R), Observation, Cirque, Dolomite, Andromache, Bow, Crowfoot and Vulture among many others of course.
Vulture, Balfour (in clouds), Olive, St. Nicholas and now Gordon is also in clouds.
Vulture, Balfour (in clouds), Olive, St. Nicholas and now Gordon is also in clouds.
Molar Mountain has a very distinctive shape.
Molar Mountain has a very distinctive shape.
Dolomite Peak is also very distinctive.
Dolomite Peak is also very distinctive.
Watermelon Peak
Watermelon Peak
A tele-pano of Olive, St. Nicholas, Gordon and Portal (L to R).
A tele-pano of Olive, St. Nicholas, Gordon and Portal (L to R).
Little Crowfoot is an excellent ski objective in winter.
Little Crowfoot is an excellent ski objective in winter.
Iceberg Lake at the toe of the Bow Glacier is a major source of water for Bow Lake and Calgary.
Iceberg Lake at the toe of the Bow Glacier is a major source of water for Bow Lake and Calgary.
Bow Peak rises over the south end of Bow Lake and Crowfoot Pass to its right.
Bow Peak rises over the south end of Bow Lake and Crowfoot Pass to its right.
Recondite Peak just shows up to the east.
Recondite Peak just shows up to the east.
Willingdon and Crown Peak are lovely 11,000ers to the east.
Willingdon and Crown Peak are lovely 11,000ers to the east.
Caldron Peak rises to the north of Jimmy Jr.
Caldron Peak rises to the north of Jimmy Jr.
KC on the summit of Jimmy Junior.
KC on the summit of Jimmy Junior.
Another shot of KC and the wonderful views over Bow Lake.
Another shot of KC and the wonderful views over Bow Lake.
Coming down the loose easy scrambling section just under the summit.
Coming down the loose easy scrambling section just under the summit.
We shortcut the south ridge here (L), descending the open scree slopes on the east side of it.
We shortcut the south ridge here (L), descending the open scree slopes on the east side of it.
Spot the Marmot? (lower right)
Spot the Marmot? (lower right)
Lovely terrain in the drainage between Jimmy and Jimmy Jr.
Lovely terrain in the drainage between Jimmy and Jimmy Jr.
Can't get enough of the views over Bow Lake even though it's getting cloudier.
Can't get enough of the views over Bow Lake even though it's getting cloudier.
Looking down the easy access chute in the lower cliff band.
Looking down the easy access chute in the lower cliff band.
Descending easy scree.
Descending easy scree.
One last view from just below the cliffs before descending back to Bow Lake. The lower cliff access is at right via the obvious scree gully.
One last view from just below the cliffs before descending back to Bow Lake. The lower cliff access is at right via the obvious scree gully.
Descending to Bow Lake.
Descending to Bow Lake.

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