Trip Date: Tues, July 06 2021
Reference Trip: Ghostly Endeavors on Brocks Peak & Spectral Lakes
Elevation Gain (m): 600 (from Spectral Lakes)
Trip Time (hr): 3 (from Spectral Lakes)
Trip Distance (km): 3.5 (from Spectral Lakes)
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3+ – you fall, you break something or worse.
Difficulty Notes: Moderate to difficult scrambling on a variety of terrain from simple scree to steep rubble covered slabs, routefinding.
Technical Rating: SC7
Map: Google Maps
First Ascent: 1963; T W Swaddle, M Benn, T Sorenson
Revenant Mountain has been on my radar for many years now. I liked the mysterious and ominous sounding name and the fact that it seemed to have very few ascents and even fewer documented ascents than many other peaks in the Ghost Wilderness Area. I read Rick Collier’s report many times, wondering if I could even get up the difficult sounding south ridge. Phil Richards and I looked at the towering peak from nearby Haunted Peak in 2020 and Wietse and I once again speculated and pondered on ascent lines from separate ascents of Psychic and Spectral Peak earlier in 2021. According to Wikipedia “Revenant” is defined as;
In folklore, a revenant is an animated corpse that is believed to have revived from death to haunt the living. The word revenant is derived from the Old French word, revenant, the “returning” (see also the related French verb revenir, meaning “to come back”).
Revenants are part of the legend of various cultures, including Old Irish Celtic and Norse mythology, and stories of supposed revenant visitations were documented by English historians in the Middle Ages.
What’s not to like?! Of course while lying in my tent mere hours after climbing this peak I was thinking about death and ghosts and the fact that there was a large slab of rock near my tent that looked very suspiciously like an altar but that’s a totally different story…
After approaching the lovely Spectral Lakes and ascending Brocks Peak earlier in the day I was sitting near the lower Spectral Lake staring up at the steep east face of Revenant and thinking I should probably go tag it. I had time and the weather was nice so why not? One thing I know from decades of exploring the Rockies that you don’t waste good weather windows when there’s nearby peaks to be bagged. I finished my afternoon snack, packed up a light daypack and started up the lower east face of the mountain following beta received from Sara’s trip only days earlier.
Both Rick and Sara ascended Revenant via the south ridge from a col further south that grants access to the Haunted Creek valley beyond. Both also mentioned descending a more direct line to the Spectral Lakes down the complex east face of the mountain on a mix of scree and slab. Apparently this route looks far worse than it is so I decided I might as well try to ascend and descend to the upper south ridge using the east face from the lakes. I have to say this worked much better than I expected. I angled up on an obvious scree bench before angling slightly more left up a mix of steeper slab and loose gullies to the south ridge. The terrain here is definitely moderate (SC6) in nature and care must be taken with loose rock and plenty of difficult terrain to get suckered into.
Once on the south ridge I was delighted with the views and the rest of the route. It looked fun and interesting! The scree bench was huge, reminding me of Mount King Edward’s upper bench. Similar to King Edward, Revenant also has a couloir breaking the cliffs above the bench.
Thankfully, unlike King Edward’s mid-fifth class gullies, Revenant Mountain’s upper gully that breaks the cliffs is only moderate to low-difficult scrambling. I’m rating it SC7 but really it’s more like SC6+. Any snow, ice or too much water here will quickly make it SC7. It’s steep but there’s plenty of holds and exposure could be worse. Just don’t expect to walk up it with your hands in your pockets and you’ll likely be ok. It was slightly harder than I expected but it didn’t scare me at all – for what that’s worth. Once through the gully I ground my way to the summit on very loose scree. I was surprised to pop out on the top after only 1.5 hours from camp and even more surprised by a giant bivy coral at the summit.
After signing the very sparse summit register (5th recorded ascent in 27 years) and taking a billion summit photos I turned my attention to the descent. I had no troubles descending back to the scree bench and continued to enjoy my spectacular views over the Ghost River and surrounding peaks.
I worked my quickly down my ascent line, following small cairns that I’d built to easily find my path through the small cliffs and through some slabby terrain. Only 3 hours after leaving my camp at the lower Spectral Lake I was back at it in time for supper, feeling pretty darn good about my day so far! I highly recommend Revenant Mountain for competent scramblers. The mountain itself is almost easy after the somewhat involved approach to the Spectral Lakes. At least on the mountain there’s no bushwhacking and you’re only 600 vertical meters from the summit once you hike over Aylmer Pass (and Brocks Peak if you’re me) and approach the lakes. The east face is complex but the route opens up once you’re on it, guiding you forward and up to the south ridge. The scrambling is engaging enough to keep you distracted from all the work you’ve done to get there. A favorite for me and a very nice feather in my scrambling cap – one I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time.