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Tag : scramble

Fortress South Outlier

As I wandered back along first the small Headwall Lakes trail and then the much larger Snowdrift trail to the Chester Lake parking lot I reflected on all my 2021 scrambles and trips and the ideas that I’m considering regarding explor8ion and lifting all of the restrictions I put in place last year. As I wrote in the original article on changes to explor8ion, change is inevitable and I am changing my mind on some of the issues I was thinking about back then.

Highwood Peak

I enjoyed Highwood Peak about as much as I expected to. It’s not the world’s most attractive mountain and definitely not the easiest or most straightforward to approach either. Unlike a peak such as Haiduk, which is also quite an involved approach, Highwood doesn’t have larches either. But it’s close to Calgary, has a great approach trail that includes 4 lakes, is a quick trip and has great views to the Divide including giants like Harrison and Abruzzi. I recommend this as a late season objective when larger and more mid-range peaks might be out of scramble condition.

Smutwood Peak

I loved this hike even more than I thought I would. Sure! It’s overused and over photographed and definitely overshared but that doesn’t change the fact that I had a wonderful time with my daughter enjoying some of the best views of my year from this lowly objective. And that’s what it all comes down to in the end isn’t it? Sharing nature and fresh air while exercising with loved ones and being amazed over and over with stunning views of wild landscapes in all directions. The fact that thousands of others have shared this experience shouldn’t lessen it but should encourage us to seek out new experiences rather than going back to the same ones over and over. I won’t be back to Smutwood in the fall any time soon but I sure am thankful for this particular trip.

Headwall Peak

I was surprised to return to the truck within 5.5 hours of leaving it – I never felt rushed all day and yet this was a very short outing to a relatively untraveled 3000m+ peak. I highly recommend Headwall Peak to the scrambling community. It is the perfect fall outing but would be good any time of year as long as the SE face is snowfree and dry. 

Solstice Peak

Solstice Peak far exceeded my expectations both on the approach with almost no bushwhacking and on the peak with interesting routefinding and some difficult scrambling to the summit. I’ve said this on a few scrambles so far this year, but Solstice had just enough of everything I look for in a scramble and not too much that I don’t look for.

Gould Dome

I had more fun on the route and scrambling on Gould Dome than I thought I would. For anyone looking for a nice short, challenging day out this is a good choice.

Stoney Peak (Stony)

Stoney Peak is a very worthwhile objective for anyone looking to scramble something a bit more off the beaten Kane and Nugara paths. You’d be hard pressed to find such as distinctive, lofty unnamed peak with such easy access and essentially zero bushwhacking. The only issues with the mountain is how to spell its name and the number of subsequent peaks you’re going to be interested in after viewing them from its lofty summit!

Psychic Peak (+ NE1)

A set of remote peaks on the border of Banff National Park and the Ghost Wilderness that will test your sense of explor8ion more than most – but this is a great thing! A likely FA of Psychic NE1 and possible FA of Psychic Peak (no – Rick Collier didn’t do it, he was almost certainly on Haunted Peak). Let me know if you have done either of these peaks or know someone who did and I’ll add this info into my report.

Spectral Peak

I enjoyed Spectral Peak despite the challenges it presented, as a matter of fact that’s probably why I liked it so much. Rather than a “highway”, we encountered a “no way” but managed to find a route through it “anyway”. These are the best sort of adventures, IMHO. There’s the army guarding the treasure (Spectral Creek), the treasure itself (Spectral Lake) and the dragon looming above it all (Spectral Peak). Experiencing all three of these in a 10 hour explor8ion was about the best use of a Friday off that I can think of.

Prairie Mountain (2020)

I meet the same folks time and again and have run into more friends here than anywhere else in the Rockies. And why not? It’s about 45 minutes west of my house, boasts 650m of height gain and only takes around 1.5 hours in decent conditions.

Marvel Peak (+ “Little Marvel”)

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!

Vision Quest Ridge

Vision Quest was much more fun and scenic than I was expecting. It’s Prairie Mountain but with a nice lake (normally) in view and slightly more scrambling if you continue to the high point I did. I enjoyed it despite the smoke and the busy trail.

Coral Ridge

The upper part of the route was much more scenic and enjoyable than I was expecting. I really wished for better views of the lake here.

Windy Point Ridge (Talus, Buckle)

I found myself liking this short outing more than I thought I would and will be back sometime when conditions are much clearer for the wonderful views of Abraham Lake that I missed thanks to some idiots’ gender reveal party somewhere in California…

Lineham Ridge & Picklejar Peak

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.

Flints Peak

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.

Panther Mountain

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.

Abruzzi, Mount

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.

Foch, Mount

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.

Tornado Mountain

I didn’t feel rushed all day and other than some crappy riding and forgetting my poles, this was a solo trip that’ll stay in my positive memory banks for a long time I think. Tornado Mountain is a combination of hard work (the approach), route-finding, hiking and gorgeous alpine and forest landscapes.

Hangman Peak & Littlehorn

With wildflowers blooming everywhere, sheep grazing peacefully and views of new peaks and lush valleys this is a tough trip to beat!

William Booth, Mount

An excellent, less popular peak in DTC involving a bike approach, wild creek crossing and mild bushwhack with excellent scrambling to the summit.

Bellow & Howl Peak

It’s hard to put this day into a trite summary. There was simply way too much going on to do it justice. There was exhaustion, bugs and willows but there was also wildflowers, soaring summit views and exhilarating hiking through a special hidden place that very few have trod before.

Boar Station Peak

Phil Richards and I first took note of Boar Station from trips up Cataract Peak in 2017 and Mount McConnell in 2018. In 2019 we traversed its east shoulder while exiting from Chirp Peak and Divide Pass.

Shanks, Mount

I can’t really say enough positive things about the Mount Shanks scramble via the route we took. What’s not to like about it? A pleasant hike through a burned landscape with wild rivers and streams, flowers, green grasses and incredible views to some big, remote peaks.