I’ve managed to do so many gorgeous trips and so many top-of-the list objectives that I think any other peaks from here until 2021 will be bonus material. And that’s a good feeling.
As we descended back over the west summit and down the west scree slopes to the karst valley below I pondered how lucky we were to experience things like Mount Harris. For me it’s the sense of exploration, the unknown and finding summit registers over two decades old with no other entries. It’s the crisp views, the fresh air and knowing that very few will bother following my steps over the next two decades.
This trip will go down in my books as a top 1 or 2 – at least for a long while. It was a real adventure, seeking out a new route into one of Banff’s most remote and untraveled valleys. What more could we want?
Summit Elevation (m): 2865 Elevation Gain (m): 1050 Round Trip Time (hr): 8.5 Total Trip Distance (km): 19 Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something – unless you’re in an avalanche. Then you could definitely die. Difficulty Notes: Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip. Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Skiing) Map: Google Maps I can’t believe it’s already been 8 years since I last skied […]
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.
Our plan was to summit not only Willingdon, but also Crown Peak and Southeast Tower – two outliers of the main summit and impressive peaks on their own. Crown Peak is known to be very close to another 11,000er and I wanted to check my altimeter to see how close it could be. Because we were planning on the two additional summits, it made strategic sense to ascend the south ridge route on Willingdon, rather than the normal west ridge route.
After enjoying a spectacular summit on Mount Willingdon it was time to head over to two sub peaks (and separate peaks) to the south east of the main summit. These peaks both have unofficial names – Crown Peak and South Tower and should be considered somewhat official, considering that they are some work to attain and well over 100m vertical separates them from each other. What makes them very interesting is that they both measured over 11,000 feet on my GPS with Crown Peak coming in almost 40 feet over! On my calibrated altimeter watch only Crown stayed in the 11,000er club with South Tower falling just short. In the end – who cares? But the views from the summits make both these peaks worth the effort and they even have some short scrambling sections and route finding.
I’ve had plans for years involving a trip into the Devon Lakes area near the Siffleur River Valley and the head of the Clearwater River in eastern Banff National Park. My plans involved summits such as Dip Slope, Three Brothers, Clearwater and of course the 11,000er in the region, Willingdon. Originally the plan was to go in the fall when all the brilliant color was at full height but when an opportunity came up to go with the 3 amigos from Edmonton (Ben, Eric and Steven), I couldn’t say no.