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Haiduk Peak (+ North Hawk Ridge)

Summit Elevation (m): 2901 
Trip Date: Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Round Trip Time (hr): 11.5
Elevation Gain (m): 2125 
Total Trip Distance (km): 27.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 / 3 – you fall, you break something small like your pinkie
Difficulty Notes: An intricate route with overhead hazards and some limited exposure and loose rock on the north end of Hawk Ridge. I can’t really call it class 2 so consider it easy moderate or hard easy. Your choice. 😉
Technical Rating: SC5+, OT5, RE4
GPS Track: Download Zip
Map: Google Maps


I first planned a trip into the Egypt Lakes area when I read of a long day trip that Matthew Hobbs did back in 2015 via Redearth and Pharaoh Creek. Since there seemed to be so many larches around, I planned my trip for September 2016 via Healy Creek / Pass and it did not disappoint! Since then I’ve completed many other Fall trips into this area, most of them solo. I did a gorgeous trip into Lesser Pharaoh and The Sphinx with Phil in mid September 2017. Then, after a year off from the area in 2018, in 2019 I followed a route that Rob Schnell provided up the east face of Scarab Peak. In 2020 I was back – this time for the obscure “Natalko Peak” just east of Scarab – again via a route that Rob Schnell kindly provided me. I was keenly aware of the one remaining (official) summit I had left in the Egypt Lakes area as the end of summer 2021 approached. Haiduk Peak became a bit more popular than usual in 2020 after Matt Clay posted a trip report from his ascent via Honeymoon Pass and Verdant Creek – a horrid bushwhack by the sounds of it. (Matt used an older report from Rick Collier in 2005 to plan his ascent.) Since Matt’s posting, however, two other parties (that I knew of) had taken a much different route to access the same easy south slopes that Matt used. Paul Zizka forged a very ingenious route from the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek trail that ascended steep slopes to the north end of Hawk Ridge before traversing larch forests to the south end of Haiduk. Brandon Boulier followed Paul’s route and I planned to follow it too. The only question was – when and with whom? The when was obviously the last day of summer 2021. The “whom” was obviously myself.

Haiduk Peak & North Peak of Hawk Ridge Route Map.

I drove a very busy Banff-Radium highway (thanks to a closure east of Golden on hwy 1) to the very full Floe Lake parking lot up hwy 93 and started hiking under a cloudy sky around 07:30. The first few hundred meters of hiking are along the busy road, off to the side along an old roadbed in the forest. Soon I turned up Hawk Creek on a good trail, bringing back memories from my last time up here many years ago while approaching Isabelle Peak in 2007. I had good memories of the trail but the growth beside me certainly seemed a bit higher than 14 years previous! The trail crossed the Vermillion flats before ascending steadily across the south and then southeast slopes of Isabelle. About 75 minutes into my day it was time to cross Hawk Creek and ascend somewhere on the other side. It wasn’t immediately obvious just where this somewhere was but I made my way over to the rubble slopes beneath a steep looking gully and switched from approach shoes to my ultra lightweight mountaineering boots for the rest of my day. I was expecting snow and a lot of sidehilling – hence the switch.

The grind up rubble slopes to the bottom of the gully went by easily and quickly and soon I was enjoying an easy to moderate scramble up a steep gully with some loose rock, solid steps and steep dirt. The boots were instantly a hit with the soft dirt and provided firm steps compared with what the shoes would have given. Sometimes I get lucky with a good decision or two…

Although the lower gully was good fun scrambling, the section of very steep terrain above it was not as pleasurable. Despite stunning views back to Isabelle’s south cliffs the view ahead was less inspiring. There really wasn’t any proper bushwhacking but ascending steep dirt slopes with low willows and some dirt covered slabs wasn’t exactly ideal either. No matter. When you tackle routes such as the one I was on today you must expect to be on less-than-perfect terrain every once in a while. This is precisely the reason this is a relatively untraveled route – it’s not exactly easy.

Isabelle Peak across Hawk Creek behind the access gully with its stunning south cliff wall.

Eventually I worked my way up the steep slope and started towards a larch forest with views of the north peak of Hawk Ridge above. I stuck left before contouring slowly right to the col ahead. I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of a lovely larch forest along the north slopes of Hawk Ridge. Today was looking like a very good one indeed. Just over 2.5 hours from the parking lot I was in a wild place in the Rockies, high above Hawk Creek to the north and the upper reaches of Verdant Creek to the south.

North Hawk Ridge looms above the steep access slope. I’ll target the upper left here to get to the col.

Isabelle Peak towered behind me with Hawk Ridge stretching out to the south, west of Verdant and Haiduk on the east side of the valley. Sunlight shone through clouds and mixed with a brilliant blue sky in between. Yellow and fluorescent green larches glowed in all directions with snow capped giants beckoning from afar and hinting at lofty summits above the cloud cover.

Views back down to the top of the access to Hawk Creek at lower right near tree line. Isabelle Peak at right, the north peak of Hawk Ridge at left.
The traverse to a very distant Haiduk Peak (L) goes left and tries to maintain elevation (unsuccessfully) and stay at or above tree line (unsuccessfully).

Some days are made long before attaining a summit and today was one of these. I have to admit that Haiduk Peak looked a depressingly long way off as I started my traverse and descent to its distant SW ridge from the high col. It was tough to feel too down however, with the stunning views along Hawk Ridge and towards Mount Shanks down the only unburned reaches of Verdant Creek. The sun was warm on my neck as I walked through expired flowers and yellow larch forest. It felt as though the yellows were bursting off the needles – it was that bright.

Hiking through larches and old man beard with stunning views of Hawk Ridge.

I tried to maintain elevation as I crossed the upper north end of the Verdant Creek valley to the SW ridge of Haiduk but of course this only worked for so long before I was forced to lose height around the lower SW end of the ridge to avoid cliffs. 

As I lost height below the larch line in the forest I encountered some light bushwhacking. It never got silly but I was thinking I was pretty far “out there” by the time I finally stumbled out of some thick Krumholz into an open avalanche slope SW of Haiduk and granting access to the south summit slopes. I was already 4 hours into my day as I finally felt like my approach was over and I was planting feet on Haiduk Peak. It felt great! I was out here in the middle of nowhere on an obscure peak that few know about, much less bother with on a perfect late summer day all by myself. Nature was painting a dramatic scene behind me as I put one foot in front of the other back up to tree line and above – towards a distant, snowy summit.

There are many options up the easy south slopes of Haiduk. Don’t overthink it. It might be slightly easier to stick to the middle of the slope under the summit block rather than straying too far climber’s right but pretty much any route will eventually have you rolling your eyes and then your ankles on unrelenting rubble slopes to the upper summit block. I don’t know if a foot of fresh snow helped or hurt me but either way I was now extra happy to have my boots on – my feet were toasty warm and dry. My eyes were burning both from the stunning views over Hawk Ridge towards White Tail and Verendrye and from the fact that for the first time in decades I forgot my sunglasses at the car.

Views back across Hawk Ridge to White Tail and its outliers (L) and Verendrye (R) are stunning.

Eventually I dragged my a__ up to a very snowy summit block and easily ascended a nice little route up a series of low cliffs, my wandering footsteps visible in the snow behind me as I ascended higher and higher. Even though the summit was taking its damn time to appear it was very hard to be grumpy about it with the views I now had of Scarab Peak just to the SE and behind me to Hawk Ridge and Mount Shanks, not to mention the glorious forms of the giants in the Vermillion Range to the west. Finally around 5.5 hours from the parking lot I was standing on the summit of Haiduk Peak with stunning views in every direction.

The summit register was much busier after Matt’s entry but this is still a pretty obscure peak and it was cool to see an entry from Hans Fuhrer in 1977 – those aren’t common to find anymore. I spent at least 30-45 minutes in the cool winds at the summit taking in the incredible vistas. As usual for me in this area, all the local and distant giants were hiding in the clouds including Assiniboine, Ball and the Goodsirs.

Views over Lesser and Greater Pharoah to Copper, Pilot, Brett, Healy Pass, Bourgeau and Howard Douglas. Scarab Peak at immediate right.
Mount Shanks in clouds at left with Wardle, White Tail and Floe (R).
Views over Gibbon Pass (L) and peak to Cataract, Protection, Castle, Lychnis, Douglas, St. Bride, Pulsatilla, Noetic and Bonnet (R).
L to R, Rundle, Eagle, Sundance, Howard Douglas, Brewster Rock, Lougheed, Little Fatigue and Nasswald (R). Sunshine Meadows in the foreground.

Ironically (or not), by far the hardest-to-access peak over the Egypt Lakes area has essentially zero views of any lakes. I could only spot the extreme southern end of Haiduk Lake but this didn’t subtract too much from the feeling of accomplishment at achieving this elusive summit. As my watch slowly proceeded towards 13:30 I decided it was time to start my long egress and started back down the summit block.

Views south to Scarab (L), Monarch, Shanks, Split, Wardle, Hawks, White Tail and Verendrye (R). The ascent route at lower right as I work my way down the snowy summit block.

I picked my way slowly down the rubble mess of the upper south slopes – again very thankful for boots – before picking up my pace a little as things dried out lower down. For the return trip I decided to try to outsmart the bush I’d encountered lower down by sticking higher on the traverse. This worked very well until it didn’t in the form of cliffs lining a creek along the traverse.

Stunning larches over Verdant Creek to Hawk Ridge with Mount Shanks the highest point of the ridge at distant left isn’t ascended much more often than Haiduk even though it’s arguably more accessible.

I still appreciated my highline route more than the bushy one below as I plunge-stepped dirt slopes down to my left to avoid the line of cliffs. From this point onward the route easily traversed slowly uphill through a gorgeous larch forest rather than a boring regular one. Distraction works well to counter tired bodies!

From my high traverse around the SW ridge of Haiduk (I have to descend to the left here due to cliffs) the rest of my route to the col at mid center right. The north peak of Hawk Ridge at center left.

The larch forest was a welcome distraction as I lugged my body up to the col under the north end of Hawk Ridge. It did such a great job of putting me in a good mood that I decided that I should probably check out the views from the north end of Hawk Ridge since I was so close anyway. It’s these types of decisions that make me wonder sometimes… 

So many larches! Nearing the access col (R) with north Hawk Ridge above at right.

As I suspected, the lower NE ridge of the north end of Hawk Ridge was an easy hike. Higher up the ridge, however, things took a bit of a turn. Nothing complicated but certainly more scrambling than Haiduk presented! I made my way across the ridge and along some bloody big and loose rocks to a huge cairn, muttering something about “why do I do these things” as I went along. Of course the answer presented itself pretty quickly from the summit – in the form of stunning views.

The north summit of Hawk Ridge just ahead.
Stunning view to the Monarch (L), Simpson Ridge, Nestor Peak, Mount Assiniboine, Indian Peak and Mount Shanks (R) over the rest of Hawk Ridge. Clear evidence of the ignition point of the Verdant Creek fire at lower center photo.
Split (L), Wardle, White Tail, Verendrye, Floe, Foster, Numa, Tumbling, Vermillion, Stanley and Isabelle (R). Hawk Creek far below at mid photo.
Stanley (L), Isabelle, Ball Pass, Haiduk, Scarab, Monarch, Shanks, Hawk Ridge, Split and Wardle (R).

The views from the north end of Hawk Ridge were definitely worth it, especially now that I’ve been up the south end (Mount Shanks) and the north one. The funny part is that the “summit” of Hawk Ridge is said to be somewhere in the middle over Honeymoon Pass. Sometimes you can’t win when it comes to the overly complex game of peakbagging. 😉 I made my way back down the NE ridge to the col and started quickly down to the steep access slopes above Hawk Creek.

Isabelle Peak is a gorgeous peak from north Hawk Ridge. The access gully / slope from Hawk Creek tops out at tree line at lower center photo here.

The descent of the steep dirt slopes to the access gully went quickly and easy thanks again to the heavier boots. This was a perfect trip to bring them on! The gully was good fun and soon I was putting on the approach shoes and hiking back along a sunny, quiet Hawk Creek trail to a distant hwy 93.

I was surprised to see how dramatic the north end of Hawk Ridge looked from below and was doubly glad that I’d taken the extra 45 minutes to an hour to make the ascent. The yellows of late summer, early fall were bursting out of foliage around me as birds chirped happily in the late afternoon warmth. It was a good day to be alive and not working.

Returning down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek trail on a wonderful last day of summer 2021.
The north summit of Hawk Ridge looms high above Hawk Creek seen from the trail.

As you can probably tell from the amount of photos and superlatives in this report, I great enjoyed the convoluted ramble from hwy 93, up Hawk Creek and over to Haiduk Peak. This route might not seem very straightforward – and it’s not – but considering that it avoids almost all bushwhacking and allows you to enjoy the only remaining larch forests in Verdant Creek it is 100% worth the hassle. And can you really call it a hassle when your day involves a good trail, fresh water and air, bursting fall colors, blue skies, swirling clouds, fresh snow and distant views of hidden giants? I call that a win every day of the week and especially on a Tuesday.

Haiduk Peak & North Peak of Hawk Ridge
Starting out along the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail along hwy 93.
Starting out along the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail along hwy 93.
Crossing Hawk Creek with views towards North Hawk Ridge.
Crossing Hawk Creek with views towards North Hawk Ridge.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Hiking the Hawk Creek / Ball Pass trail.
Crossing Hawk Creek to the access slope.
Crossing Hawk Creek to the access slope.
The steep access slope above at center.
The steep access slope above at center.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
View down the steep access gully.
View down the steep access gully.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Scrambling up the steep access slope.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
Views back down to Hawk Creek and Isabelle Peak.
At the top of the steep access slope.
At the top of the steep access slope.
Hawk Ridge North.
Hawk Ridge North.
Hawk Ridge North.
Hawk Ridge North.
Views along Hawk Ridge (R) down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Views along Hawk Ridge (R) down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley. Haiduk at left.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley. Haiduk at left.
Traversing towards a distant Haiduk Peak.
Traversing towards a distant Haiduk Peak.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Views along Hawk Ridge down the upper Verdant Creek valley.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Crossing a small stream.
Crossing a small stream.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through a larch forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Traversing through forest towards Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the lower SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Ascending the SW slopes of Haiduk Peak.
Larches, Hawk Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye.
Larches, Hawk Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Larches, Hawk Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye.
Larches, Hawk Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye.
Views back down my ascent slope.
Views back down my ascent slope.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW snow and rubble slopes to the summit.
Ascending SW snow and rubble slopes to the summit.
Scarab Peak.
Scarab Peak.
Nearing the summit.
Nearing the summit.
Ascending a snowy ramp to the summit block.
Ascending a snowy ramp to the summit block.
The summit of Haiduk Peak is very snowy today.
The summit of Haiduk Peak is very snowy today.
A 44 year old register from Hans Fuhrer. Pretty cool.
A 44 year old register from Hans Fuhrer. Pretty cool.
Just a tiny corner of Haiduk Lake visible.
Just a tiny corner of Haiduk Lake visible.
The Monarch.
The Monarch.
Rundle (L), Eagle, Sundance, Howard Douglas, Brewster Rock, Sunshine Landing and Little Fatigue (R)
Rundle (L), Eagle, Sundance, Howard Douglas, Brewster Rock, Sunshine Landing and Little Fatigue (R)
Brett (L), Black Brett and Mount Bourgeau (R).
Brett (L), Black Brett and Mount Bourgeau (R).
Storm Mountain.
Storm Mountain.
Greater Pharaoh with Bourgeau in the bg.
Greater Pharaoh with Bourgeau in the bg.
Scarab (L) and Isabelle (R) with the Rockwall peaks at center distance.
Scarab (L) and Isabelle (R) with the Rockwall peaks at center distance.
Whitetail and its outliers.
Whitetail and its outliers.
Mount Wardle.
Mount Wardle.
Sharp Mountain with Limestone to its left.
Sharp Mountain with Limestone to its left.
Lesser (C), Middle and Greater Pharaoh Peaks.
Lesser (C), Middle and Greater Pharaoh Peaks.
Brett (L), Black Brett, Healy Pass, Bourgeau and Rundle (R).
Brett (L), Black Brett, Healy Pass, Bourgeau and Rundle (R).
Eagle (L), Sundance and Howard Douglas over the Sunshine Meadows.
Eagle (L), Sundance and Howard Douglas over the Sunshine Meadows.
Pharah Peaks at left with Scarab SE of Haiduk Peak.
Pharah Peaks at left with Scarab SE of Haiduk Peak.
Descending rubble slopes on the upper south aspect.
Descending rubble slopes on the upper south aspect.
Descending south slopes.
Descending south slopes.
Dramatic views of White Tail and it's two outliers.
Dramatic views of White Tail and it's two outliers.
Descending south slopes towards Hawk Ridge.
Descending south slopes towards Hawk Ridge.
Mount Shanks.
Mount Shanks.
Hawk Ridge and Mount Shanks (L).
Hawk Ridge and Mount Shanks (L).
Views back to the lower SW ridge of Haiduk (L) as I traverse back.
Views back to the lower SW ridge of Haiduk (L) as I traverse back.
Snowy Mount Shanks is the highest point along Hawk Ridge.
Snowy Mount Shanks is the highest point along Hawk Ridge.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col at distant c-r.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col at distant c-r.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col.
Traversing larch forest back to the North Hawk Ridge col.
Shrooms.
Shrooms.
Forest scenes.
Forest scenes.
Forest scenes.
Forest scenes.
Larches!
Larches!
Starting up the NE ridge of Hawk Ridge North Peak.
Starting up the NE ridge of Hawk Ridge North Peak.
Larches and Haiduk Peak.
Larches and Haiduk Peak.
Larches with Numa Peak in the bg.
Larches with Numa Peak in the bg.
Traversing to the north summit of Hawk Ridge.
Traversing to the north summit of Hawk Ridge.
Haiduk (L), Scarab, Monarch, Simpson Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye (R).
Haiduk (L), Scarab, Monarch, Simpson Ridge, White Tail and Verendrye (R).
Looking south down Hawk Ridge. Verdant Creek at left, Hwy #93 at right.
Looking south down Hawk Ridge. Verdant Creek at left, Hwy #93 at right.
Looking south down Hawk Ridge to Mount Shanks.
Looking south down Hawk Ridge to Mount Shanks.
Split Peak.
Split Peak.
Mount Wardle.
Mount Wardle.
Moody views up hwy #93 with the Rockwall at left and Vermillion and Haffner to the right.
Moody views up hwy #93 with the Rockwall at left and Vermillion and Haffner to the right.
Simpson Ridge and Nestor Peak (R).
Simpson Ridge and Nestor Peak (R).
The Monarch (L), Simpson Ridge, Nestor, Indian and Mount Shanks over the Verdant Creek valley.
The Monarch (L), Simpson Ridge, Nestor, Indian and Mount Shanks over the Verdant Creek valley.
Vermillion Peak and Haffner.
Vermillion Peak and Haffner.
Descending the NE ridge of Hawk Ridge.
Descending the NE ridge of Hawk Ridge.
Isabelle Peak.
Isabelle Peak.
Descending to the NW access slope. Isabelle at center.
Descending to the NW access slope. Isabelle at center.
Caves in Isabelle's south cliffs.
Caves in Isabelle's south cliffs.
Descending the steep NW access gully with direct views of Isabelle Peak.
Descending the steep NW access gully with direct views of Isabelle Peak.
Descending the steep NW access gully to Hawk Creek.
Descending the steep NW access gully to Hawk Creek.
Descending the steep NW access gully to Hawk Creek.
Descending the steep NW access gully to Hawk Creek.
Strange white embedded rock.
Strange white embedded rock.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail. North Hawk Ridge above.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail. North Hawk Ridge above.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
Hiking down the Ball Pass / Hawk Creek Trail.
North Hawk Ridge from hwy #93.
North Hawk Ridge from hwy #93.

2 thoughts on Haiduk Peak (+ North Hawk Ridge)

  1. Those are some amazing pictures of that southern aspect of Isabelle Peak and give a bit more visual context as to the scramble route. Incredible pictures!

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