A long awaited journey to the summit of the highest peak in the huge Castle Mountain massif with views to match – Pulsatilla Mountain.
Honestly, I’m not sure what I was expecting from our day on Clearwater Mountain but in the end it highly exceeded anything I anticipated. The day was flat-out gorgeous and the mountain was flat-out fun.
People might wonder what the big deal is for me and these silly peaks that few people are even aware of but that’s the whole point for me. Who can say they’ve seen Mamen Peak and Mount Malloch from different angles or even laid eyes on Roaring Creek?
A long awaited journey up one of Banff’s more remote and hard to access mountains.
Summit Elevation (m): 2758, 2560 Trip Date: Saturday, August 31, 2019 Round Trip Time (hr): 9 Elevation Gain (m): 1850 Total Trip Distance (km): 26 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something Difficulty Notes: While both peaks are pretty straightforward they do require some routefinding to remain “easy” and I’m still rating them 3rd class rather than simply hiking. There is much opportunity to get into trouble or off route, especially on Mount […]
Arete Peak has been on my radar for a while now. When I ended up with a midweek day off and nobody to join me I decided 2019 was finally the year that I was going to try for this remote summit.
When the dust finally settled on our Saturday plans it was Wietse, Cornelius, Richard, Trevor and I leaving the Castle Mountain Ski resort at around 07:00 before the lively Huckleberry Festival could continue its rambunctious celebrations.
Obviously this is an unofficial summit but I don’t care about that sort of thing anymore. I expected some spectacular views and a fairly easy ascent based on photos from Molar and Molarstone peaks. I planned the excursion as a day trip via the Mosquito Creek / North Molar Pass trail and the weekend of August 17th presented me with a good opportunity for a solo explor8ion.
Was it really possible that the mountain was so often ascended yet we could find no trip reports other than Jason Thompson’s FA account in a 1995 ACC Journal article? Silly I know, but it was jarring to see so many other people in the area.
After biking, hiking and scrambling for many hours and many kilometers in the past 28 hours or so it was finally time for Phil Richards, Joanna Ford and I to attempt the highlight objective of our so-called “Three Passes” trip.
When we crested Shale Pass we were surprised by the dramatic NE aspect of Chirp Peak with its unique rock formations and many water courses running down its sides into Peters Creek far below.
Finally, after 1.5 hours of steep hiking we topped out on a high point on the southwest ridge with the summit of Wapiti still looking a long way off and distressingly snowy.
After enjoying a nice supper break at our Tomahawk Pass bivy site, Joanna, Phil and I set off up the easy looking western slopes of Tomahawk Mountain.
Where do I even start with this report? I guess I’ll just start at the beginning and see where this story goes as I access my overloaded memory banks…
The last time I scrambled this circuit was over 10 years ago on June 14, 2008 with Wietse. I don’t generally repeat trips and despite not planning this particular trip for this particular day, on hindsight I’m perfectly OK with repeating it – it’s a beauty!
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.
I took my own excellent and logical medical advice and layered more pain on top of existing pain in order to help the original pain fade. It didn’t work – at all, but I did have a heckuva solo adventure when I could have been at work doing boring stuff all day.
I was still hurting quite a bit from my first bike ride of the year on Deadman Pass Peak a few days earlier, but the only way to cure pain is to liberally layer more pain on top so I readily agreed that something with an even longer and much rougher bike approach was the obvious choice (!!).
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.
It’s been roughly 15 years (!!) since I tackled the main summit of Mount Baldy and 8 since tackling the west summit. I don’t like repeats if there’s other options but on this particular day in June 2019 I decided it had been long enough and it was time for some updated photos and some exercise.
On Saturday, June 1 2019 I was at home getting texts from a bored Wietse who was sitting on the summit of Sulphur waiting for the rest of his hiking group. He indicated that the rumored true summit on the fourth peak clearly looked lower and after seeing his photos I agreed.
As Phil and I drove home from our successful scramble up Mount Berland in Kootenay National Park on Saturday, May 11, my thoughts turned to the following day.
As the weekend approached, Phil Richards and I were getting a wee bit desperate to find a peak that didn’t involve obvious avalanche hazards or post-holing hell.
On March 23, Phil Richards and I hiked up a snowy Sheep Creek and scrambled Winchester Ridge. From the ridge we enjoyed spectacular views over the Dormer River towards Dormer Mountain and started to plan what kind of adventure would get us to its summit.
I’ve heard of the Observation Sub Peaks for many years as a pretty tame but highly recommended ski objective along the Icefields Parkway near Bow Summit and Bow Lake in Banff National Park.