On Sunday, June 12 2011 I decided that I needed a break from work and headed off to the mountains for some “me” time. I had an idea in the back of my mind that if the weather looked decent I would attempt a short, but difficult, scramble out of Andrew Nugara’s book – Mount Baldy via the West Ridge. As I drove into K-country I noticed that the weather was cooperating. There was a mix of sun and cloud with some scattered showers but nothing too dramatic.
Hanneke was in Edmonton for the weekend, so we decided to go for a pleasant Sunday afternoon hike with the kids, dog and I. The only place free enough of snow on this gorgeous weekend was McConnell Ridge, so we gave that a try and it worked out beautifully.
On Good Friday, April 22, 2011 I took my brother in law, Mike up his very first Rockies peak. He chose to attempt his first peak on alpine touring gear, which I thought was very admirable considering you can’t really find a more physically challenging way to climb a mountain than with huge skis and boots attached to your feet! 🙂
Summit Elevation (m): 2868Trip Date: April 09 2011Elevation Gain (m): 1000Round Trip Time (hr): 7Total Trip Distance (km): 15Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you break your leg. Unless you’re caught in an avalanche – then you could die.Difficulty Notes: Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip. Technical Rating: OT4 – Skiing; YDS (3rd)GPS Track: DownloadMap: Google Maps On Saturday, April 09 2011 So and I did the Bow Peak […]
On Sunday March 27, 2011 So Nakagawa and I skied to the summit of Crowfoot Mountain under a clear, nearly windless spring / winter day. I haven’t stood on a peak since I scrambled Midnight Peak way back on October 30 2010! I think that 5 months between peaks has to be some sort of new record for me. The last few outings I’ve had to the Rockies have been marked by cloud, wind and dreariness. So and I were both looking forward to a nice spring day with sunshine and melting snow but we knew that this was unlikely.
I made it this time! After a previous attempt at the summit of Jimmy Simpson with Raff and Josh in January of 2007 I returned 3.5 years later and bagged it via the other side on a gorgeous fall day. Ironically there was probably more snow in October than we had on our first attempt in January. Originally I had a trip planned with Kerry to do Cathedral Mountain. Due to fresh snow of unknown quantity and an aversion to a 03:00 wake-up time we canceled those plans on Friday evening. I knew what I’d replace it with – I was in the mood to try a solo jaunt up Jimmy Simpson.
After scrambling up Mount Schaffer on Thursday, I decided that a long hike followed by a scramble up Wiwaxy Peaks would be in order for Friday, October 1 2010. I was hiking by around 07:30 on Friday. The air was crisp and cool but the sky was clear and I felt great after a pretty good sleep in the hut. Huts can be extremely noisy and cramped but stuffing my ears with TP combined with being pretty tired after a long day and a wake up time of 04:00 helped me sleep despite the snoring of Bob the artist beside me! 🙂
After spending one of the most enjoyable and gorgeous fall days of my hiking / scrambling life the day before on Schaffer, McArthur Lake and All Souls Prospect, I woke up on Friday morning, the first day of October ready for another fantastic outing. I was hiking over frost-nipped ground by around 07:30 after breakfast and an excellent cup of Starbucks instant coffee. The air was crisp and cool but the sky was clear and I felt great after a pretty good sleep in the hut.
As part of a peaceful and relaxing solo hiking trip to the Lake O’Hara region in 2010, I scrambled up Mount Schaffer early in the day on the 30th of September in perfect weather conditions. After checking out McArthur Lake (stunning) I had the rest of the day to explore part of the so-called Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit, a gorgeous series of trails staring near the Lake O’Hara lodge and working its way up past Mary and Moor Lakes to Hungabee and Opabin Lakes before looping back around the upper Opabin Plateau and along Yukness Mountain’s south and west flank towards Lake Oesa.
After scrambling Mount Kent the day before I was up at 04:30 on Thursday, September 30 2010 to spend a few solitary days in the Lake O’Hara region of Yoho National Park. Of course, I realized that I would not be alone in this beautiful area, but I needed a few days of peace and meditation before starting a new contract and getting back to the real world again. Amazingly I managed to book a spot at the Elizabeth Parker ACC hut with only a week’s notice – normally you have to play a lottery the previous year just for the right to book a spot!
On Wednesday, September 29 2010 I was joined by Wietse and Johan on a scramble up Mount Kent. Kent is described by Andrew Nugara as a moderate scramble on slabs and scree with a rewarding view considering its modest height. We found Nugara’s description very accurate. Following his directions we reached the summit with no major issues.
On Friday, September 25 2010 Hanneke and I did a nice hiking circuit in Lake Louise. Our route took us to Lake Agnes, over The Beehive and down to the Plain of Six Glaciers trail back to the parking lot. The Beehive is not a tough scramble by any means, but it does involve some elevation gain and consequently some very sublime views.
On Saturday, September 11 2010 I climbed to my 260th summit with my 9 year old son, Niko. The fact that we got to do this short scramble together as part of a special father-son weekend makes this a peak that I’ll remember for a long time. What else can I say? It’s short, steep and loose. You get to enjoy the sounds of gunshots and ATV’s and you get to enjoy the sight of recent logging too! On a more serious note, you do get great views of the Crowsnest Pass area including full-on shots of Crowsnest Mountain.
On Friday, September 03 2010 I completed my last ‘Kane scramble’ with Eric, Marko and Greg. Mount Carnarvon was looking like it would be my last Kane peak for a while and when I tallied up the remaining 11 peaks at the beginning of 2010 I picked it as the last one. I could not have timed it better! The summer of 2010 has been a drizzmal affair with late summer conditions and then early snow and ice. A week previous I was on Walcott and Burgess looking towards Carnarvon and crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t snow any more until I completed it. Thankfully the snow went elsewhere for the following week!
After arriving home from my brother’s wedding on August 26 2010 I was feeling a bit bummed about the weather forecast for the Rockies that coming weekend (27-29). With only two (or was it three) Kane peaks left I was determined to finish before 2011 rather than have two last peaks hanging around for another year! Unfortunately for me though, the week previous had dumped fresh snow all over the Rockies and I was sure that Yoho probably got hit with the most. The forecast was also very grim with rain, thunderstorms and snow in varying percentages for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
After ascending Mount Ball and Beatrice Peak the previous day, we awoke to clear skies on Sunday morning, August 15 2010 ready to tackle Stanley Peak. Thanks to Dave Stephens we knew there was an easier route than the Kane bash up the face – we could ascend southwest slopes to the summit. We had an idea that instead of coming all the way back above the headwall to our bivy site before going back down Haffner Creek, we could descend off Stanley’s south slopes and cut off a good part of the bushwhack. This would be a bit dicey because of cliff bands guarding the south side of Stanley but we felt good about finding a route off, so we set out with our full packs.
I woke up at 0315 on Saturday morning, August 14 2010 eager to drive to the Marble Canyon camp ground and a bushwhack up Haffner Creek. OK, I wasn’t exactly eager, but I did wake up! I arrived at the parking lot around 06:00 and by 06:30 our party of four was starting up Haffner Creek.
While in BC for a family wedding my father-in-law suggested that the ‘boys’ should go bag a peak somewhere. Well, since I’m a prolific peakbagger I couldn’t resist this chance! At first the idea was to climb Golden Ears. Once I researched that scramble I realized that our group did not have the necessary experience or gear to attempt this objective.
I took Wednesday, July 14 2010 off work and headed to K-Country to scramble one of my last remaining Kane peaks with Keith and So – Cougar Mountain. The weather forecast was dismal for this day but since we had all booked it already it wasn’t worth another cancellation. The summer weather so far in 2010 has been dismal at best! Like it so often happens, as I drove closer and closer to the front ranges the clouds started to dissipate and by the time I pulled into the parking area at 06:30 the sky was blue!
On Thursday, July 1 2010 I was joined by Bill Kerr to celebrate Canada’s birthday with an ascent of Copper Mountain in Banff National Park. Copper is one of those peaks that is very prominent and easy to access but doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. Various trip reports on the internet indicate some confusion regarding the ascent and descent routes with stories of people getting cliffed out and even jumping off small cliffs to get down!
After bagging both Pyramid and Cinquefoil mountains the previous day, So and I were ready to help me close out my “Kane” Jasper scrambles with an ascent of Utopia Mountain. It turns out that I left the best for last. After packing up our campsite at 05:00 we started to feel rain drops. Uh oh. Was I going to have to drive a round trip of 10 hours from Calgary just to get my last Kane scramble in Jasper? It turns out we got very lucky (again) with the weather. By the time we started our hike the sky was clearing and there was no more rain for the remainder of our scramble.
On the weekend of June 26, 27 I was joined by So Nakagawa on a quest to finish up my remaining “Kane” scrambles in Jasper National Park. The plan was to scramble both Pyramid and Cinquefoil on Saturday and finish up with Utopia on Sunday. Secretly I was thinking that this was a slightly aggressive plan and it would take a small miracle to pull it off but what’s life without a few aggressive, unrealistic goals? 🙂
After scrambling Pyramid Mountain in 6 hours car-to-car, So and I decided that we’d better not waste the rest of a perfectly fine day on lounging around in our campsite so we went up Cinquefoil Mountain instead! Cinquefoil is rated “easy” and the short time that Kane lists is around 4 hours. This is fine except it sets the expectation for the mountain pretty low. Most people seem surprised both by the difficulty and length of this trip.
On Saturday, May 15 I was joined by Wietse and Sonny on a bit of an exploratory trip in the Livingstone range in Kananaskis Country. We drove up an old logging road (start @N 50 5.522, W 114 25.942) with the intent of parking somewhere between Sheep Mountain and Horseshoe Ridge and bagging both summits from the parking area at the pass.