Summit Elevation (m): 2317
Trip Date: May 20 2023
Elevation Gain (m): 975
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 6.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: A very steep off trail adventure with potential for getting off route. It shouldn’t feel more than easy moderate if on the easiest line.
Technical Rating: SC6; RE3
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps (Abraham Mountain)
After spending a few pleasant hours on Tessa Peak and Landslide Ridge in the morning, Wietse and I were ready to tackle another short objective for the afternoon. It was already pretty warm as we stepped out of the car along hwy 11 and looked up at our next objective rising above – the unofficial “Little Abraham Peak”. I’m pretty much done bagging small, unofficial summits that have the word “little” in their titles but this one intrigued me for its purported views of Abraham Lake and the fact that it runs up beside one of my favorite scrambles in DTC – Abraham Mountain.
Like the other unofficial summits in DTC that I’ve done recently, Little Abraham is detailed in Brett Pawlyk’s book – David Thompson Country: A Scrambling Guide. We left the hwy at 13:30 – right in the heat of the day. Also unlike Tessa Peak, there are no streams running along this ascent so we carried more water than usual. We started with a light bushwhack just as Brett talks about – following the transition between a large Aspen grove and pine forest to the bottom of the ridge. Just as we suspected from the stats in the book – things got very steep after the initial forest hike.
What we were not expecting was a very obvious trail that would run almost from the bottom of the ridge until the top of it – disappearing a few times but there for at least 75% of the route. We stuck the ridge wherever possible, sweating in the afternoon heat – there isn’t very much in the way of shade on this route as you might imagine for a south facing ridge. It didn’t take long and we had fantastic views back over a half-filled Abraham Lake.
From the first viewpoint we continued up on steep, loose terrain, putting small cairns wherever we thought we might be confused on descent. About halfway up the ridge we encountered the only terrain I can honestly say could be classified as “moderate” or “SC6” – on the easier side of that scale.
After the moderate section we ascended to the “black rocks” that are mentioned by Brett and when the terrain steepened again we simply traversed left on rubble. Soon we were on the grassy slopes – also mentioned by Brett and steeply ascending the final bit of ridge to the first summit.
Views from the summits were very good – especially on such a beautiful day. Honestly, the views didn’t improve THAT much from much lower down on the ridge, but that’s only because the main draw for this one is Abraham Lake. I pointed out the efficient route I’d taken on Abraham Mountain years previous. Vision Quest Ridge also looked great from this angle.
We spent some time on the summit in the refreshing breeze – not looking forward to the steep hot descent ahead. The descent was indeed, steep and bloody HOT. Hard to believe it was only mid-May with most of the snow vanishing from even the higher peaks such as Elliott.
Despite our hundreds of peaks and Rockies excursions and despite putting up cairns we somehow managed to get onto a south ridge variation near the bottom of the route. I’m still not 100% sure how it happened but we managed to bail off the moderate terrain with careful routefinding.
Despite the light bushwhacking and unofficial status of this peak, Little Abraham was a surprise for both Wietse and I. We kept exclaiming on ascent how much fun it was compared with our expectations. This is another great 1/2 day objective in DTC and something that should interest most scramblers. It’s also a great scouting trip for the larger and more involved Abraham Mountain. I’m sure some folks could combine the two but this wouldn’t be quite as easy as you’d think.