I highly enjoyed and highly recommend Phillipps Peak for scramblers looking for a short and somewhat challenging scramble in the Crowsnest Pass area.
After my adventurous solo outing on Mount Hensley only a few days previous, I wasn’t sure I was entirely prepared for the long bike ‘n scramble Phil and I had planned for Saturday, June 15th. We’d been planning a trip into the Fording River Pass area for a few years already and June seemed like an ideal time for such a venture.
Deadman Pass Peak is one of those mountains that snuck onto my list many years ago when So Nakagawa posted a trip report in 2015 from a trip he did in 2013. When Dave McMurray posted another trip report on the same peak in 2015 it went up the list a bit higher before fading to other, bigger, more remote objectives as these things tend to do.
After a great bivy at the lovely Lyall Tarn, Wietse and I awoke at around 06:00 to an extremely windy, cloudy and dark sky beneath the brooding rock walls of Mount Lyall. We both commented on the quality of our sleep – the night was very calm and quite warm for September and we both got over 9 hours of shut-eye. Just as forecast on SpotWX, the wind picked up fiercely in the early morning hours, and by 06:15 we were feeling rain drops outside the tent. Darn it. I seem to be getting a lot of rain on my trips in 2018!! I can only remember packing up a few dry camps this year and I’ve spent a lot of nights under the sky, as usual.
After our ascent of Beehive Mountain, Wietse, Phil and I started a delightful traverse across brightly colored alpine meadows leading under towering cliffs to the west towards the NE shoulder of Mount Lyall. Beehive Mountain had gone much quicker and easier than we expected and despite thick smoke interfering somewhat with our views, we were feeling pretty pumped about our day so far. The temperatures were more mid-summer than late, and the fall colors on the vegetation in the meadows was absolutely stunning.
Once our original plans fell through for the weekend of September 7-9 (thanks to forest fire smoke), Phil Richards, Wietse Bijlsma and I had to think fast on Thursday night to come up with an alternate trip that still satisfied on some level. Smoke from BC forest fires had already been a huge issue since late July this year and we were tiring of trying to avoid it or climbing in it. After several suggestions we settled on a few easy, but lengthy and harder to access, scrambles on the Great Divide in the High Rock Range of South Kananaskis.
After a nice, relaxing day spent ascending Mount Strachan before chilling at Carnarvon Lake, Kaycie and I woke up early on Monday morning to tackle Mount Muir and our highline traverse to Weary Creek Gap. The idea for this traverse came from a thread that Matt Clay started on ClubTread and from some further research into a longer backpack in the area known as the “Elk Highline”. The basic idea was to take full backpacks up and over Mount Muir and down towards Weary Creek Gap which would be our home for another night and possibly a base camp for an ascent of nearby Mount McPhail.
While I can heartily recommend Mount MacLaren as a short(ish) scramble from Carnarvon Lake, I can’t really say the same thing about Mount Shankland.
The summit views were pretty sweet from MacLaren, including many of the Kananaskis peaks I’ve stood on like Holy Cross, Head, Gunnery and even all the way to the Highwood Pass with lofty summits like Rae and Mist showing up.
After dreaming of visiting this area for many years, I have to say that it still exceeded my expectations.
While in the area, and with plenty of time left after climbing Racehorse Peak (and the “Pony” extension), we decided that we might as well bag another unofficial peak near Racehorse Pass. We turned our attention to the straightforward Mount Racehorse – as defined creatively by Bob Spirko and Sonny Bou when they bagged it back in 2014. There really isn’t much to say about this minor peak. We simply bashed up its east ridge to the summit, surmounting several easy, blocky cliff bands along the way.
After spending the previous two weeks in various stages of fall throughout the Rockies, I was almost ready to return to work on September 29, 2016 when Wietse texted me, asking if I wanted to bag a peak? Let’s see. Go back to work or bag a peak? Hmmm. That decision wasn’t really a decision so much as an instinct. 😉
On Saturday, June 8 2013 I was joined by Wietse, Steven, Ben, Mike, Andrea and Raf for a group ascent of little-known and little-ascended Mount Erickson in the Crowsnest Pass. Ironically enough, it was probably the busiest single day ever on the mountain! After going 7 years since 2006 with only 3 ascent parties signing the register, we added all our names plus met Dave Salahub on the summit, doing a solo ascent. And he thought he was going to be all alone… 😉
After hiking Mount Burke the day before we were ready for a longer day on Saturday. Wietse and I thought that we would hike Raspberry Ridge in the morning when the snow was hard and then hike Gunnery Peak in the afternoon since it looked snow free from the highway.
Mount Tecumseh doesn’t seem like a very popular mountain. It hasn’t seen a whole lot of ascents over the past few years and I really don’t know why as I found it to be quite enjoyable.
Mount Ward was an enjoyable scramble in the Crowsnest Pass area. It presented very few difficulties and was quite easy to find.
Crowsnest Mountain has long been a goal of mine – it just sounded like a lot of fun! It didn’t disappoint but like all our scrambles in the first week of September 2004 (six in total) this one was rushed because of thick clouds and rain moving in from the west in the early afternoon hours.