Summit Elevations (m): 2599, 2648
Trip Date: May 20 2023
Elevation Gain (m): 1325
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 13
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your thumb and/or your ego
Difficulty Notes: None via our route – mostly on trail hiking.
Technical Rating: TL3, OT3; RE2
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps (Hensley)
A week after ascending Gates of the David Thompson, Wietse and I decided to tackle another set of peaks suggested by Brett Pawlyk in his David Thompson Country: A Scrambling Guide. “Tessa Peak” and “Landslide Ridge” are two unofficial summits sitting between the more official Mount Hensley and Mount Frank.
Rather than follow the directions in Brett’s guidebook however, we decided to take the more obvious and likely easier route up the well traveled Landslide Lake Trail instead. My back was still causing me some issues and we didn’t want to mess about with route finding so we decided to just take the trail.
After the lengthy 3+ hour drive from YYC, we started up the well marked and well traveled Landslide Lake Trail at 08:00. The birds were chirping and the morning air was already warm. Thankfully there was very little smoke from the many wildfires already causing havoc in Alberta this spring.
The trail was in excellent condition and exactly what we were looking for this particular day. After passing through a quiet aspen forest we came out on a steep hardpan shoulder, rising up beside a lively creek. We already had views of Tessa Peak, rising into a blue sky high above.
After ascending several hundred meters in the warm morning sun, we started a rising traverse across several avalanche gullies to the bottom of the col. On the way we passed a large group of sheep that didn’t seem too bothered by us.
We crossed a large avalanche gully on snow before continuing up the trail through a unique “sandstone” type landscape that wasn’t your typical Alberta Rockies terrain. Views back across the North Saskatchewan River to the giant Mount Peskett were incredible.
At the bottom of the slope leading to the col we abandoned the trail (it wasn’t obvious anymore) and simply bashed our way up with no issues. I think a lot of people lose the trail here. From the col Tessa Peak looked pretty darn straightforward.
There were a few loose steps up to the broad summit of Tessa Peak but nothing more than OT5 or SC5 at most. The views were incredible – this easy and fast objective is a very worthwhile hike simply due to its vantage and the fact that there’s a trail most of the way up.
We signed yet another bright pink Ephraim Roberts’ register before starting our way to the slightly higher Landslide Ridge on the other side of the col. We had zero issues hiking up to the 2nd “summit” of the day – if anything the smoke was even less than when we left the car.
Descent to the col was quick and easy with incredible views staring back at us from across the river valley below. After refreshing ourselves with some water at the col (a quickly disappearing snow bank won’t replenish for very much longer), we continued down the trail.
We met at least a dozen folks on our descent – all grinding their way up the steep hardpan trail in the heat of the day. We couldn’t be too smug however, we had plans to do the same with an off-trail adventure ourselves. I highly recommend this easy hike to anyone with half a day on their hands and some energy in their pockets. Don’t underestimate the height gain or the angle – this is a bloody steep hike! The views at the top (and even very part way up) are more than worth the heartbeats you will expend on route. With many hours left in our day we proceeded to another short objective mentioned in the guidebook.