I think it goes without saying that I’d rather we had the dry conditions from a week previous for this trip. Sometimes you have to accept that conditions are crap and you have to decide what to do about it. I’m happy we pushed through and I won’t soon be forgetting this particular outing. These peaks are located in a unique and distant area of the Rockies and are well worth the efforts needed to attain them.
The very fact that we looked at all the shitty snow and gray cloud on day one and said, “sure – we can handle this” is the thing that will make this particular trip extra special in the memory banks. Travelling over 72 kilometers in just over 1.5 days including 3 peaks in less-than-ideal conditions leaves an impression. I’m not saying it’s all a unicorns and fresh roses impression, but it’s a wild ride that won’t fade as quickly as some others I have stored in there somewhere! As of my writing this a week later my toes are still recovering from the harsh beating but the rest of me wants to go back up the Ram River sooner than later.
The Bighorn Backcountry from Tinda to David Thompson Country is a very special place. There are open valleys with grasses gently swaying in the winds coming off the high ranges to the west. There are bubbling brooks and gushing streams. There are waterfalls and little tarns, sparkling like gems in the vast landscape. There are open ridges, small hills and towering peaks. We are privileged beyond telling to be able to enjoy such a pristine, beautiful and wild area.
It’s for good reasons that me and my friends are spending time in the Ram / Clearwater areas. Despite being a long drive, it’s really no longer than most hwy 93 objectives and despite not having glaciers, this area has a remote feel to it and wonderful views over many creeks and rivers.
Without a doubt, Onion Peak was our favorite of the three summits we did this day. With a round trip time of only around 4 hours (with bike approach), this is a half day objective if you do the more direct route rather than Cornelius’ route. The ascent was fun on snow and the views are stunning from the summit, which is the highest in the area (higher than Sufi, Kista and Falls Lookout).
What can I say about this area in summary? Well, to make a long story short – it’s worth the fight to access it but you will have to earn its charms one way or the other.
Sentry Peak is a lovely viewpoint situated in the heart of Banff National Park at its eastern boundary with views of Malloch, Mamen and Wampum Peak.
Lost Guide Peak feels like a special peak to me. To be honest, most of my ascents are special for their own reasons but this particular peak feel much like some other locals that I’ve done such as Condor, Bellow, Howl and Tomahawk.
Scalp Peak and Skeleton Mountain are some of those front range mountains that sat on my list for a while before finally getting direct attention late last year after Wietse and I hiked two nearby peaks – Well Site and Hat Mountain. I highly recommend combining these two peaks into a single trip. The only question left to you is how many days you’ll set aside for it. 😉
What a day! Elaphus may never be high on anyone’s list – especially for a ski objective – but it feels great to have survived the experience and proved it can be done “reasonably” as a day trip.
My 2020 season was one of my favorite to date and even a messed up ankle can’t take away the many peaks, many beautiful landscapes, great memories with great friends and all of the many wonderful experiences I was lucky enough to enjoy. Marvel Peak was certainly a highlight among many!
An unbelievable smorgasbord of bubbling brooks, golden larches, high passes, rushing streams, waterfalls, glistening alpine lakes, hidden routes, ancient glaciers, tarns and ridges to one of the highest peaks above Egypt Lakes.
As I crossed the Highwood River and hiked back up to the truck I was once again struck by how lucky I am. Despite all the other commitments in my life, I still have plenty of time and opportunity to enjoy beautiful days alone in the hills with nothing but tiny shrews, forests of larches, cheerful rivers, winding trails, solemn mountains and my own thoughts to keep me company.
This is another highly recommended “Nugara Scramble” that deserves the attention it obviously gets by the busy summit registers on both peaks. I can only imagine that with clearer air and better views then I had, this would be a pretty darn nice short day trip for scramblers comfortable on moderate terrain.
I really enjoyed Mount Glendowan – even with the smokey conditions we had. It really is one of the best Waterton scrambles that I’ve done and I’ve done most of them. The fact that the winds were fairly light helped, but the scrambling on ascent combined with the easy scree on descent was icing on the cake.
I highly recommend this scramble for anyone wanting to dip their toes into a “Nugara Difficult” and looking for a colorful hike in Waterton Lakes National Park.
I enjoyed Evan-Thomas quite a bit despite its objective hazards. I was happy to be alone in the loose terrain and more than happy to have yet another perfect summer day in the Opal Range.
There aren’t very many places on Earth where named summits have almost 30 year gaps in their ascents – especially in a national park and along pretty good trail systems. I feel extremely privileged to have the health and time to enjoy such a wide variety of clean and beautiful landscapes in our amazing Rockies back yard.
It was hard not to enjoy life as we sat in silence and listened to the night life start up around us in the forest. Reflecting back on our special trip up Panther Mountain as I fell asleep was just about the perfect way to end a perfect summer day.
I loved Block Mountain much more than I was expecting to. The bushwhacking and thrashing up the creek wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting and the views once over the 2500m col were even better than advertised. A highly recommended remote and easy peak for those folks willing to brave a slick, cold, obviously wet creek on approach.
Prairie Lookout lived up to my expectations. I knew it was a tough peak and after the easy ascent of Mount Jellicoe it definitely showed some teeth. The views from the south ridge and the summit are stunning.
A gorgeous peak situated on the Haig Icefield with stunning views in every direction.
Mount Abruzzi should be on every Rockies scrambler’s list. It’s a large, prominent, beautiful peak that is very easy to attain in a day from a trailhead. There are many different routes, all are pretty simple and all have their pluses and minuses.
I am happy that I found a quicker route and delighted with the amazing summit views from Mount Foch but I am conflicted about how many coins I used from my luck jar. There’s only so many of those and I like to keep it as full as possible.
Wind Mountain was a very nice outing – a 10/10 as far as moderate scrambles go. With a bike approach, good trails to tree line and a fun route to a lofty summit, there really are no downsides that I can think of.