Finding myself with a free weekend in the summer is a very rare occurrence, so when it happened on the weekend of August 7, 8 and 9 I arranged a 3 peak extravaganza! The first summit would be a solo effort so I chose something without a lot of difficulties and a short approach, Observation Peak.
On Thursday, July 30 2009 I joined Eric Coulthard from Edmonton on a trip up Mount Coleman in Banff National Park. In order to facilitate an earlier arrival back home to Calgary after the scramble, we both stayed overnight near the trailhead and agreed to leave the parking lot around 0530. This was my first scramble with Eric and we proved to have much in common, including our love of the mountains and our method of ascent.
On July 24, 2009 I soloed the scramble route up Eiffel Peak in Lake Louise, Banff National Park. Technically there is a hiking restriction of a minimum part of 4 to get in this area but I simply hiked between groups of tourists that were slower than me and figured as long as I stuck with the groups, I’d be fine. There are a LOT of people on the trails in this area in the summer anyway, but you should be aware that there are stiff fines if you are hiking solo.
Trip Dates: Monday, July 13, 2009 to Saturday, July 18, 2009Total Trip Distance (km): 102Difficulty Notes: Woodland Caribou is well off the grid. You should assume that you are completely on your own and must have the requisite survival skills and experience to live as such. Bringing a satellite phone or other emergency beacon is a good idea. Lakes Traveled: Leano, Bunny, East Lunch, Landing Crane, Burnt Rock, Jake, Mexican Hat, Nutria, Amber, Aegean, South Aegean, Talon, Boomerang, Kilburn, LeanoGPS Track: DownloadForest Fire Update […]
After scrambling up Commonwealth Peak the day before, Keith and I found ourselves driving to the Mount Aylmer trailhead at Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park on Saturday morning, June 27 2009. I should point out that we were fairly tired. And it wasn’t because we did Commonwealth Peak in 3.45 hours the night before. It was because of the rude neighbors we had at the Spray Lakes campground!
After a successful and enjoyable weekend in Waterton the week before, Keith Bott and I decided for a repeat mini-trip, this time in Kananaskis and Banff. On this particular trip we would attempt Commonwealth Peak on Friday evening in Kananaskis Country and then Mount Aylmer in Banff the following day, on Saturday.
Summit Elevation (m): 2652Elevation Gain (m): 1600Trip Time (hr): 8 Total Trip Distance (km): 22 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you might sprain something Difficulty Notes: Easy hiking and scrambling on grass / shale with some easy route finding.Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)GPS Track: Download Map: Google Maps After big days on Akamina Ridge / Forum Peak and then Newman, Spionkop and Avion we were ready for a third big day on Sunday, June 21 2009. Since Wietse and […]
Summit Elevation (m): 2621 Elevation Gain (m): 1600 Trip Time (hr): 10 Total Trip Distance (km): 28 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you might sprain something Difficulty Notes: Long day trip that traverses three peaks – generally easy hiking and scrambling with some route finding. Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)GPS Track: Download Map: Google Maps As part of a 3 day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park in the spring of 2009, Wietse, Keith, Anne-Marie and I […]
The weekend of June 19-21 found Wietse and I in pursuit of some Waterton Lakes National Park peaks. Originally we were going to attempt a wrap of our remaining Kane Peaks in Jasper National Park but the weather had other plans. Since I still had one Kane Peak left in Waterton and the weather forecast for that area of Alberta was much more favorable than Jasper, we changed our plans. As the weekend drew closer I was not feeling too optimistic about it.
After descending Hornecker we were staring at the steep south ascent slopes of Windy Peak. We grunted up the slope and were soon battling very strong wind (what did we expect right?!) to the 5th summit of the day. Windy Peak is just a hike, but we had great views of some cloud formations coming over the Rockies to the west and a little bit of wind wasn’t ruining our day any!
Due to route choices, JW, Keith and I actually did about 75-100 extra meters of height gain on this small peak. Ironically we were trying to avoid bushwhacking and JW and I ended up in some very thick and thorny trees! We dipped all the way down to the col between Windy Peak and Hornecker, instead of cutting climber’s left much earlier.
My 200th summit!! OK – not a very impressive summit but it’s a milestone that I’m quite proud of. Not many folks get up 100 summits in their lifetime and I was about to stand on my 200th! In order to get 200 summits you have to burn a LOT of calories, walk a LOT of kms and take a LOT of extra breaths! It’s also been a lot of adventures and a lot time spent pondering life and it’s many aspects.
After hiking up and down Coffin Mountain in just over 2 hours, we were feeling pretty good about our chances for a 5 peak day. As we waited for the people we spotted in the parking lot to catch up to us I noted that the sun was started to feel very hot. The climb up Mount Livingstone was looking like it would have us sweating, especially with no wind in the trees and the sun directly on our backs!
Our first peak of the day was Coffin Mountain. In order to facilitate a car-to-car traverse of these peaks, we drove two vehicles to the area. Wietse left his car at the end of the traverse, near the entry for Windy Peak and we all piled in my car for the short drive to the Coffin Mountain trail head. Apparently we didn’t read the instructions very good because the access road to Coffin was a bit more of a bush road than we were expecting!
I did something on Saturday, May 16th that I’ve never done before. I bagged a peak on skis on the May long weekend! Wietse and I had already made two half-hearted attempts at Snow Peak near Burstall Pass in Kananaskis Country over the winter of 2009. Finally on May 16th we decided that we’d had enough of this ‘easy’ peak and ended up summiting in perfect conditions in around 7 hours, round trip.
When JW and TJ invited me on a weekend ski trip either up White Pyramid or Cathedral Mountain I was more than ready to join them. We decided on May 1 2009 for a White Pyramid ascent. I didn’t know a lot about this mountain, but I did know that it was a lot of height gain since it’s next door neighbor, Mount Chephren has been on my “to do” list for while, and it’s almost 2 km vertical gain and not much higher!
I waited 3 years to finally accomplish what TJ, Megan and I did on Saturday, April 18 2009 – summit Mount Hector. Truthfully, on hindsight, it’s for the best that it took me this long. The ski down was much more pleasurable now that I’m more comfortable skiing powder. I’m not nearly as good a skier as TJ or Megs but I can enjoy myself rather than just do the ‘survivor skiing’ thing. Last year we made an attempt at Hector but turned around just before the headwall due to isothermal snow and a burning desire to ski something more supportive. At the time we were bummed out because the next week we found out that if only we would have struggled up the headwall we would have probably had a great ski day on the glacier.
On Thursday, March 12 2009 Bill Kerr, Wietse Bylsma, Kevin Papke and I set out to clear Kev’s head after a personal loss, the manner of clearing being a nice back country ski up some Wapta Peak. It’s been almost 2 years since I was last on the Wapta since I didn’t get up there at all in 2008 for some reason. I was also looking forward to finally bagging another peak for 2009 – my record of peak bagging in 2009 has been dismal so far!
Heart Mountain is an easy but fun scramble – and extremely popular. Since there was still no snow Jeff and I tackled this one in November 2001 and I repeated it along with Grant MacEwan again in January of 2009 as the same loop route.
Friday, November 7 2008 found me with a free day. I was just finished my contract with the City of Calgary and waiting to start my new one with a different company. Part of me wanted to get out and do something but the other, equally motivated part of me wasn’t motivated to do anything but sleep in! So that’s exactly what I did. I slept in till 08:00 and by the time my day was under way it was already 09:30. But what a day it was!
I’ve been waiting a few years to finish up the Kane peaks in Waterton National Park. I love Waterton, but it’s a long drive and often it’s so windy that it’s hard to enjoy the high places as much. Since it had been around 2 years since my last visit to this wonderful little park, and since the weather forecast was looking absolutely fantastic for a November day, Wietse and I decided it was time for us to give Waterton a chance.
On Saturday, October 18th 2008 Wietse, Naomi and I tagged the summit of Loaf Mountain in the East Castle area, just north of Waterton National Park. Due to a seasonal closure of the road that leads to the normal trail head, we had to walk an additional 4 km each way from a locked gate. This resulted in more exercise but also prevented us from bagging more than one peak, simply because time and energy wouldn’t allow for it. You can do Spionkop Ridge along with Loaf if you have the energy / time. You can also to Drywood Mountain and Loaf if you’re so inspired.
On Saturday, September 20th 2008, Keith, JW and I scrambled up Mount Bosworth in beautiful, sunny weather – the summer weather we never had in 2008! Originally we were supposed to be making an attempt at North Victoria Peak on this day but since the weather forecast was pretty good we decided to wait for a cloudy day to enjoy that 11,000er.
On Wednesday, September 17 2008 the crazy Pol (Raf K) and I decided that the beautiful weather had to be taken advantage of. We wanted two things. Scenery and scenery. We got them both. So where do you go if you want a good day out with great scenery? Well, it’s always a good bet to go either on a glacier or somewhere really close to a glacier so that you can take lots of pictures of the glacier. Mistaya Mountain was done this year by a few people that Raf and I know and the pictures from those trips bumped it up both of our priority lists.
To get to Og Mountain, we first had to hike along the Windy Ridge trail from the Assiniboine Lodge area and our Naiset hut. After getting some sublime morning sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine early in the day, it was nice to walk past it again in full day light. With a plume of snow peeling off it’s lofty 11,871 foot summit it looked incredibly huge and intimidating.