Mythic Tower, Little (Townsend Traverse)

Summit Elevation (m): 2618
Trip Date: Thursday, August 30, 2018
Elevation Gain (m): 1900
Round Trip Time (hr): 11.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 30
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain your wrist or break your leg
Difficulty Notes: A very long creek approach with minor bushwhacking, some routefinding and some sheep trails. The traverse is moderate to difficult depending on whether Mythic Tower is included. Little Mythic Tower is easy if ascended directly from either Cougar or Exshaw Creek.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download

The only “peak” remaining along the ridge after scrambling up Mount TownsendEpic Tower and Mythic Tower was about as unofficial as a peak can get – “Little Mythic Tower” – so dubbed by Bob Spirko back in July of 2008 while on his scouting trip to find and document the Mythic Towers mentioned by Gillean Daffern in her famous Rockies hiking guide. Some people get all technical and cautious when referring to their “formal peak lists”. Meh. Who has time for such things? I don’t even count my peaks anymore – because in the end who really cares how many I’ve done or even which ones I’ve done? I only care that I enjoy my outings, whatever they are, and I like to share them with others so that they too can enjoy them if they want. If a peak has a reference that is public, such as “Little Mythic”, then I will list it as a separate peak in case someone only wants to do it, or searches by that name. I could list it as a grid reference instead, but that’s boring and too technical for me. Like I always tell people who care about such things – feel free not to do it if you don’t want to bother! 

The Townsend Traverse

The traverse from Mythic Tower to Little Mythic was as easy as these things get and 100% worth it for two reasons. Firstly, the hiking was fun and easy with awesome views along the ridge and down into the Exshaw Creek and Cougar Creek valleys. Secondly, it gave me access to a really nice descent option that completed a loop of the upper Cougar Creek peaks. I knew from Jamie Junker’s report that it is easy to get into difficult downclimbing on the slabby west aspect of the ridge so I was really cautious about my alternate route down. I could see all the way into the creek below down easy scree and boulders so I knew my planned route would go.

Approaching the summit of Little Mythic Tower.
Great views north along the impressive ridge running towards Mount Townsend. Mythic Tower featuring prominently at center foreground.

The views were getting familiar from the summit of Little Mythic, but different enough towards Yamnuska and Hassle Castle to make it well worth the 10 or 15 minute diversion from my planned descent slopes. After taking some more smoke free photos it was time for my long exit. I was now 7 hours into my day and had done almost 2000m of elevation and 18km or so. I was feeling pretty good and knew that I could get out well before dark.

A close-up of Mythic Tower’s summit block showing the crack and crux chimney which are key to cracking the summit.

The descent into the bowl under Little Mythic to the west was easy and fast on a mix of scree and small boulders. My approach shoes didn’t love the small boulders but I survived with a few banged up ankles. I descended steep dirt and scree into the upper creek before following it back to my Townsend approach line. The terrain along this upper creek was very interesting with slabs, small pools of water and the beginnings of Fall colors starting to show.

The long exit via Cougar Creek pretty much went as I suspected, although I have to admit that not looking at my GPS helped it go by quicker than looking at it every 10 minutes to see how far I was. It took my a long time to reach the Cougar Peak drainage but from there the creek opens up a lot and my pace quickened. As usual I started running into other people as I reached the climbing walls along the end of the route until I was passing someone every few minutes, it seemed.

I was very surprised when I got to the truck and realized my entire day had ‘only’ been 11.5 hours long. I really enjoyed this trip a lot more than I thought I would. It was the perfect solo outing with easy creek travel, interesting terrain and some moderate the difficult scrambling and routefinding. I highly recommend all four peaks for experienced parties. Don’t forget a helmet and your sheep trail finding skills!

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