Dip Slope Mountain

Trip Date: Tuesday, September 03 2019
Elevation Gain from Bivy (m): 685
Trip Time from Bivy (hr): 3.5
Trip Distance from Bivy (km): 5
Reference Trip: Explor8ion in the Heart of Banff National Park
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2- you fall, you sprain something.
Difficulty Notes: An easy scramble from the bivy that includes some very loose, bouldery slopes and pretty straightforward routefinding. Accessing this remote peak is going to be your biggest challenge by far.
Technical Rating: SC5; RE5
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps

After one of my highlight scrambles of 2019 up Deluc Mountain, we returned to our delightful bivy in warm summer sunshine and prepared ourselves for our next objective – a traverse to a bivy under Dip Slope Mountain and hopefully an ascent as well. The traverse went better than we could have hoped for and after working hard in the heat we took a break at our 2nd camp of the trip before looking up at the steep rubble slopes above camp. It was around 16:30 when we started out of camp with lighter packs, apprehensively looking up at the very steep and loose slopes awaiting our feet.

It was obvious where we had to go to break through cliffs guarding the upper SW slopes. We traversed very steep and horribly loose rubble towards the north end of the slopes where the line of cliffs was breaking down. When I say the cliffs were “breaking down” at this point, it’s more of a “sliding off” than actually breaking. They break after they slide! The entire Dip Slope massif is, well, dipping – and rather dramatically at some points along the way. We delicately scrambled through the loose cliffs and were soon plodding our way up the easy NW ridge to a very foreshortened summit block. Assisting us with the grind was a pretty heated (thanks to me I must say) philosophical debate on the nature of defining “God” and what that word means to certain people over others. Yes, we went there. Yes, I got triggered. We’ll leave it there for now…

Views back to our bivy lake from the SW face of Dip Slope. Deluc Mountain rises at center – we were up there mere hours ago which is hard to believe now! Middle Brother to the left of Deluc.

Although I was tired at this point I was also psyched. The views were mindblowing from the NW ridge and the terrain was fairly solid and laid back. I really enjoyed the views towards Smoky (Growl) Peak across the very remote and less traveled Roaring Creek valley to the east. Views towards Deluc, Middle Brother, Harris and distant giants such as Mamen and Icefall were also pretty sweet. People might wonder what the big deal is for me and these silly peaks that few people are even aware of but that’s the whole point for me. Who can say they’ve seen Mamen Peak and Mount Malloch from different angles or even laid eyes on Roaring Creek, nevermind hiked it before? Not many.

Smoky (Growl) Mountain at distant center across the Roaring Creek Valley as we ascend the scenic SW ridge of Dip Slope Mountain.

Sidebar : Information about Dip Slope Mountain

Dip Slope Mountain was named in 1968 by W.L. Putnam after its obvious geological features. The interesting thing regards is first (recorded) ascent which wasn’t until 1990 by the intrepid peakbagger and Rockies explorer Graeme Pole. Rick Collier nabbed a second (recorded) ascent in 1998 when he found the original register was soaked and left another. Rick also mentions that Alistair Des Moulins ascended the two outliers north of the main summit in 1991 but obviously Rick knew he didn’t ascend Dip Slope at that time.

An original summit register from Graeme Pole’s FRA in 1990. Soaking wet unfortunately… We also found a much drier register from Liam Harrap in left in 2016.

When we got to the summit we immediately noticed a bright red tape-wrapped glass jar which unsurprisingly held a register from Liam Harrap who’d ascended three years previous in 2016, almost to the day of our ascent. There was no sign of Rick Collier’s register but Graeme’s was still there and still soaking wet too! This would make our summit the fourth (recorded) ascent of this striking peak – yet another FRA for me! (Fourth or fifth ascent… )

The ridge seemed to go on forever. Dip Slope Mountain is huge – only 60m shorter than Deluc and still over 3100m high. Eventually Cornelius stopped ahead of Mike and I and we knew he must be at the apex of the sliding mountain. We enjoyed a fantastic summit panorama for our second amazing scramble of the day. September 3rd 2019 was quickly becoming a top fan favorite in my eyes anyway! It only took us just over 1.5 hours to ascend the mountain from the bivy.

Summit views over Roaring Creek towards Smoky Mountain and Mount Goodair at left and towards Cataract Peak and Deluc Mountain at center. Clearwater Pass at distant right.
Views over a distant Clearwater Pass and Upland Lake (Devon). Peaks visible include (L to R), Devon, Watermelon, Bobac, Forbes, Clearwater and South Tower.
The lovely and lonely Roaring Creek peaks with Snort and Bleat (Mount Goodair) Peak at right, both around 3100m high.
Icefall (L), Mamen, Malloch, Whimper and Smoky (or Growl) Mountain (R) over Roaring Creek and the two unnamed outliers of Dip Slope.

The wind was cool and the sun was setting in the west as we left our second summit of the day. We easily descended the ridge and SW slopes to the break in the cliffs where we had some rockfall issues but nothing major. We decided to take our own lines down the face to the camp to avoid any more close calls – a wise decision. I snapped some pretty sublime photos towards the higher lake with its waterfall coming out of the cliffs below and the sun setting towards South Tower Peak.

Deluc NW2 rises over the two Dip Slope tarns as we descend the SW ridge to our bivy at lower left.
Late evening views from the SE face of Dip Slope to the wonderful upper lake and Willingdon South Tower at right.

We enjoyed a late supper back at camp to close out a premier day in the Rockies. Little did we know that karma was going to demand a shitty sacrifice the following day…

9 thoughts on Dip Slope Mountain

  1. That upper lake…… I am trying to say something interesting and I cannot find the words. Absolutely and completely speechless.

  2. Haha, Yep. that too. Gotta figure out where the actual summit is – I had thought it was over Mummy Lake and that photo was looking at the ascent line. But it looks from the topo that it is further along the ridge, looking over Talc Lake.

      • There is a trail through that pass below Talc Lake, then ascend from south end. Not sure what got burned in there, but looks reasonable otherwise. Add it to the list… 😂
        I was thinking maybe something like Flints Peak or Mystic Peak for fall next year. Nice larch forest around those areas.

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