After scrambling Prairie Bluff and hiking Mount Backus the day before, the kids and I woke up on Sunday in the mood for a nice hike but not much else. Naturally we wanted a summit but we didn’t want to work too hard for it. 😉 As it turns out, we got TWO summits for the effort of HALF a summit. This way of bagging peaks is so much easier than doing hard work like Forbes a few weeks ago. Of course I partially jest, but it is fun to do nice easy hiking and peak bagging once in a while and doing it with my kids provides me with as much satisfaction as the big remote summits do. Maybe even a tiny bit more? It helps that they let me take millions of flower pics too.
After scrambling Prairie Bluff in the morning, we found ourselves with plenty of time for a short objective on our way to setting up camp for the night at the Beaver Mines Recreation Area in the Castle Wilderness. I had a trip report on Mount Backus from Bob Spirko who snowshoed it in March of 2014. Backus was located along the highway leading to Beaver Mines, so it made perfect sense to try it. I was a bit nervous about the level of bushwhacking required but it was short enough that I foolishly decided it couldn’t be that bad. 🙂
After squandering a perfectly good weekend, followed by a disappointing May long weekend, I was more than ready for some time away from the rat race in Calgary by the time the last weekend of May rolled around. Both my kids were also ready for a break and with Hanneke home studying and writing assignments, we decided that a two day trip to the Castle / Crown area was just the ticket for us. The original plan – given a sunny forecast – was to scramble Southfork and possibly Barnaby Ridge on Saturday, followed by something short and easy on Sunday.
After a long day with Phil Richards on a three peak traverse of Vimy Peak, Arras Peak (Vimy Ridge) and GR939323, I wanted an easy, short objective to wind down my two weeks off. Wietse was interested in joining me for the day and eventually we settled on Ruby Ridge. We figured it would take us around 6 hours, which gave us plenty of time to get back to Calgary on time.
After a spectacular trip to the White Goat Wilderness with Eric over the weekend, I spent a few rainy, cold days back in Calgary recovering. Unfortunately (for me) the latest weather system dumped a pile of fresh snow on most of the Rockies, once again dashing any hopes of a large ascent for my second week off. Even my dream of going into the Mount Assiniboine area to bag peaks and photograph larches was literally dumped on. Ah well. The Rockies are a big place and one place didn’t seem to be affected by the latest storms, so I headed back there! Waterton Lakes National Park was back on the menu so-to-speak.
Looking at my choices for peak(s) to do on my second full day in Waterton National Park I thought I was fairly limited, thanks to the closing of the Red Rock Parkway for construction. I settled on Mount Rowe, hoping that it would have similar snow conditions to what I had on Sofa Mountain the day before. Of course I rationalized that even though it was further west, it wasn’t that much further right?! Joining me as we cruised along the Akamina Parkway under a gorgeous morning sunrise was Phil Richards – a recent friend who’d done another long trip with me earlier this year on Rose and Threepoint.
After scrambling Drywood Mountain I only had 1 Nugara scramble left in the Castle Wilderness, namely Mount Roche, or Spread Eagle Mountain. I couldn’t find any other trip reports of anyone taking Andrew’s ascent route but I thought it sounded fun and would be worth a try. His dire warnings about not being able to down climb it were a bit ominous though. 😉
After a night of t-storms and rain I decided to sleep in and hang around camp for a while before attempting Drywood Mountain. I started up the road on my bike at around 10:30, hoping the rock would be dry in the ascent gully. At around 11:00 I was near the place indicated by Nugara, the only problem being the multitude of gullies! Actually there are really only two candidates and after almost 30 minutes of fussing around I decided to take the one closest to the end of the road and the nearest to the start of the Bovine Lake trail. This was a good choice on hindsight.
I camped in my truck near the Pincher Ridge parking spot so that I could take advantage of the nice weather and a week off with some Nugara scrambles. The day after Pincher Ridge I decided to give Victoria Peak and Ridge a shot.I brought my bike to help make the potentially long day a bit shorter because for the first time in a very long time, rain and even t-storms were in the forecast for the afternoon and evening.
I left truck at 0930 after an easy but long drive. My muscles were still a bit sore after my recent Assiniboine trip but I was feeling pretty good overall. I was originally planning on a Victoria Peak / ridge trip but was concerned I didn’t have enough time any more. I’d do that one the next day instead so I needed a shorter trip. I probably wasn’t really ready for a Nugara ‘difficult’ but I started up anyway. I headed up steep grassy slopes north west of parking area and then up an obvious break lower down in the cliff band than Nugara suggests but it worked perfectly.
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) 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 I wanted […]
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) 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 completed a […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 14th, 2008 found me wanting to bag a peak pretty badly! The spring of 2008 has not been a very friendly one for scramblers and hikers. It’s been wet, and cold and nasty. After much deliberation, Wietse and I decided that we would head down to Waterton for the day, attempting the Lost / Anderson / Bauerman triplicate.
Raf, Jason and I headed down to Waterton National Park on May 06, 2006 to tackle the infamous “Bears Hump” scramble route up Mount Crandell.
On September 3 2005 I dragged my brother, Rod and two of my cousins, Tony and Jon up and around the Hawkins Horseshoe in Waterton National Park.
Mount Galwey is an excellent scramble in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta. I thought it deserved its difficult rating simply because a slip on the crux would have been very painful.