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.
Rod and I set off from the Jones Naiset Cabin around 16:00 on Thursday, September 4th under a mostly cloudy sky. There was very little wind and quite a bit of snow on the surrounding peaks but we were confident we could either scramble up Wonder Peak or The Towers and return before dark. The trail up to Wonder Pass went by quickly and was an easy 200 meters of height gain out of the way.
I was pleasantly surprised when Yolande and Hanneke both said they would try hiking Nub Peak with us, I thought they might want a break after Wednesday’s grind into camp. It was later than I would have preferred for a morning start, but by 10:00 we were on the trail. The day was clearing up beautifully and I couldn’t resist some more pictures across Lake Magog on our way past it.
My annual fall scrambling / hiking trip took place from September 3rd to the 6th in 2008. Along for the ride was my brother Rod, cousin Jon and his wife Yolande (also known as George for some reason) and Hanneke, my wife. We were all pretty excited to be trying another new area (for us) of the Rockies – the Mount Assiniboine area of British Columbia.
On Saturday, August 30 2008 Keith and I set out to scramble Mount Lipsett and Mist Mountain. I originally wanted to scramble something difficult (like Mount Fox) but the weather was acting up again and it didn’t seem prudent to be on too much difficult terrain with unpredictable weather hovering around.
Originally I was planning on bagging a peak like Burstall but with snow and rain threatening and fresh snow and ice on Burstall’s scramble route I had to change my objective for the day. After wandering around Spray Valley taking photos of the dramatic weather I ended up scrambling up Miner’s Peak and Ha Ling for exercise.
Wietse and I were in the mood to do some quality suffering on Saturday, July 09 2008. We perused the Kane scrambles book, looking for something that would hurt a bit but nothing too technical since neither of us were in the mood to balance on tiny ledges or up anything too tricky this particular weekend.
July 30 2008 was a very weird day in the mountains. And not just because it was a Wednesday or the fact that I was with Kevin Papke on a mountain either. No, there were many things that conspired to make this day a very different one than I had originally planned.
On Friday evening, July 25th 2008, Raf, Keith, Wietse and I hiking into the Little Yoho campground in Yoho National Park with plans to ascent both the President and the Vice President early on Saturday morning.
For some reason, I’ve wanted to scramble Mount Hood for quite a while already. So when Wietse and Kelly were thinking of which scramble to do around the Kananaskis Lakes area I was quick to suggest that one and invite myself along.
Taking advantage of my temporary bachelor status, I took Thursday July 10 2008 off work and drove down to the Crowsnest Pass area to do an interesting and short scramble – Thunder Mountain. Why is this mountain interesting? Well, it’s the first mountain in the Canadian Rockies climbed by a non-aboriginal.
After being thundered off Commonwealth Peak the day before with Raf and Mel, I was more than ready to attain another few summits on Saturday, July 05 2008 with a gang of mountain veterans. I was joining Bill Kerr, Gary Vandergrift, Roy Stadelweiser, Kevin Papke and Keith Bott on a two peak day in Kananaskis Country on Nihahi and Compression Ridges.
After getting out the previous two days on an attempt of Commonwealth and then a great day on Nihahi and Compression Ridges, it was time to visit the Castle / Crown area again. Keith and I drove down to the Gladstone trail head as described in Andrew Nugara’s scrambling book.
I decided early on in 2008 that it was time I bagged a few of the Kane peaks in Jasper National Park. In the span of two weeks I’ve now completed over half of them! Indian Ridge and The Whistlers were my latest Jasper peaks. I shared the pleasure with two nephews and two brother-in-laws on June 30 2008.
After bagging Roche a Perdrix, Morro Peak and Hawk Mountain over the past two days, Wietse and I decided to try our luck on Roche Miette in Jasper National Park. We weren’t assured of success with the sound of rain on our tent the morning of June 22nd but we got up anyway.
After bagging Roche a Perdrix and Morro Peak the day before, we were ready for an easy day out. So, naturally we chose the 5.5 hour trip up Hawk Mountain. Of course we knew that the 5.5 hour time is actually only ONE WAY but still, it sounded short.
After scrambling up Roche a Perdrix it was time to try Indian Ridge. We drove all the way back to Jasper and to the Tramway station only to find that it was closed for maintenance! That was a bugger. Time for a new plan. Since we were all psyched up for another peak we thought we’d give Morro a try. Wietse had come across it while perusing on Bivouac.com. I remember seeing it on there a while back and wondering if it was worth a shot.
On June 19th Wietse and I drove up to Jasper National Park to camp for the weekend and bag a number of local peaks. We were slightly disappointed by the campsite that we were assigned in the Whistlers campground because it seemed very open and public but we quickly got over it and settled in for the night.