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Tag : scramble

Stelfox, Mount

When our plans for climbing Mount Lefroy fell through, Mike and I started looking at other options. After swearing that I was done with David Thompson Country for at least a few months, I found myself planning another trip to the area. Mike was still feeling ill on Saturday, so I solo scrambled Abraham Mountain – a delightful and unexpectedly short day out. Our plans for the Sunday and Monday were to scramble Mount Stelfox, spend Sunday night camping and then attempt to find a scramble route up Bright Star Peak, it’s higher neighbor to the north.

Abraham Mountain

After a recent peak bagging extravaganza in the David Thompson Country area of the Rockies, I’d become somewhat enamored with the free camping, light bushwhacking and magnificent views in the area. When Mike Mitchell and I had to cancel plans to climb Mount Lefroy due to a very high freezing level and Mike not feeling well, we switched objectives to Mount Stelfox and an attempt at Bright Star Peak for Sunday and Monday. I decided that with an excellent weather forecast for Saturday, I might as well do a solo trip and spend another night camping in the area. I had a lot of choices left but my top two or three were either some of the 5 Ex Coelis Group of peaks, Windy Point Ridge or Abraham Mountain.

Elliott Peak (Sentinel)

I had lots of time the afternoon before, after successfully scrambling Whirlpool Ridge, to think about objectives for my third and final day in DTC. I really wanted to try some of the Ex Coelis group but wasn’t sure I was in the mood for solo difficult scrambling. I also wasn’t sure about the weather fx, since I didn’t have cell reception. I finally settled on trying Elliott and Sentinel which interested me after talking to Mike about his trip in August of 2015. There were no published scramble routes up Elliott before Raf and Andrew finally found one on their descent of the mountain in August of 2011 after a very long and difficult ‘scramble’ up a slabby gully on it’s west face.

Whirlpool Ridge (Mount Frank)

After coming so close to its summit the day before after a traverse from Tuff Puff, I knew I was coming back immediately to make a second attempt at Whirlpool Ridge’s highest summit the very next day. I enjoyed a delightful (free) camp along hwy 11 the evening before, setting up my mid on the back of my truck for the first time, which worked out great. The only fly in the ointment was repeated gunfire nearby, throughout the evening which kept me up until around 11pm when darkness finally started settling in! The joys of camping outside of a park I suppose.

Tuff Puff (Whirly Puff)

Summit Elevation (m): 2800Trip Date: June 17 2017Elevation Gain (m): 1700Round Trip Time (hr): 10Total Trip Distance (km): 14Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain somethingDifficulty Notes: No difficulties to the summit of Tuff Puff. Whirly Puff is mostly an off-trail hike if you avoid our ill-advised attempts to Whirlpool. Note: We did an exploratory trip well beyond Tuff Puff to see if we could forge a route up the NE face of Whirlpool Ridge. We couldn’t and we didn’t.Technical […]

Two O’Clock Ridge

There was nothing to do after finally standing on top of Two O’Clock Peak but start our long descent towards Two O’Clock Ridge and the highway, far below and far in the distance still at this point. We were feeling pretty positive as we started down the summit ridge towards the obvious east descent ridge. It looked pretty darn easy and not too far. We should have known better!

Two O’Clock Peak

In his trip report, Eric mentions that he side-hilled on the east side of Two O’Clock Peak before reaching the far ridge and then backtracking back up to the summit on blocky terrain. He also mentions that it might work better to access the summit directly from the Landslide col. Mike and I were about to find out as we slowly and painfully worked our way down the huge (and freaking loose) boulders and rocks down from the summit of Landslide Peak. As I balanced my way delicately down to the Two O’Clock col, I was hyper-aware of the dangers of a boulder tipping over on either of my legs and doing some serious damage.

Landslide Peak

We had two choices from the summit of Bridge Peak. Turn back and descend via Ernest Ross or fully commit to our traverse and head southwest towards Landslide Peak. Guess which one we chose? Darn peakbaggers. 😉 Mike Mitchell and I figured beforehand already that the most complicated stretch of our planned traverse from Mount Ernest Ross to Two O’Clock Ridge was going to be the descent of the west face of Bridge Peak. We were correct on hindsight.

Hector’s Peak (Bridge)

After leaving the summit of Ernest Ross it was time to traverse to the higher, and unofficially named, “Bridge Peak”. The sun was out and our views were fantastic as we worked our way down the west ridge of Ernest Ross towards a very distinctive colored band of rock and the much higher summit of Bridge Peak above us. The wind was cool, necessitating gloves and even a fleece jacket for me. Not quite the 24 degree weather we were expecting but the cool wind helped our energy levels throughout the day. As usual in the mountains, Bridge was further than it looked.

Ernest Ross, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2454Trip Date: Saturday, June 03 2017Elevation Gain (m): 1050Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break your legDifficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling to the highest summit with limited exposure. Easy scrambling to the first summit. NOTE: This was done as part of a long traverse to Two O’Clock Ridge via Landslide Peak.Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)GPS Track: DownloadMap: what3words After a long and difficult trip that ended only a few days previous, I was a wee bit apprehensive when […]

Waiparous Peak

After a long hiatus from peak bagging and pretty much any activity in the Rockies, other than resort skiing, I was more than ready to join Eric Coulthard on a front range adventure to scout out the Waiparous Creek area of the North Ghost Wilderness on the eastern edge of the Rockies in Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, between Kananaskis to the south and Ya Ha Tinda to the north. Our original objective was the impressive Mount Davidson, a peak that isn’t well documented and probably not visited that often due to the nature of its access.

Zypher (Miller) Creek Hills (North Limestone Ridge)

With avalanche conditions at “considerable” in the alpine, we had several different options for the weekend of January 21 2017. We could ski something below the alpine, go xcountry or resort skiing, or hike something in the front ranges. Dave Salahub had been trying to con Wietse into a day scramble up Zephyr Creek Hills (aka Miller Creek Hills) for a few years already. This was the perfect time to pounce on the idea yet again – and this time it stuck! To be honest, the only reason I agreed to the adventure was the cool sounding name and the fact that it would be my first summit starting with the letter “Z”. Sometimes it doesn’t take very much to get me off the couch.

Pasque Mountain

Pasque is another low, front range mountain that has been on my radar for quite a few years now. A few weeks ago I managed to ramble up Isola and Monad in very little snow and pretty good views, and decided there and then that it was time to hike up Pasque – a mountain just to the north. A few weeks passed before Phil texted me that he wanted to do a scramble on Sunday, November 27. We were initially interested in something a bit tougher but settled on Pasque after the weather forecast proved a bit unstable and a dump of snow came through the Rockies on Friday.

Monad Peak

After summitting Isola in some strong and cold west winds, we turned our attention to Monad Peak, lying to the west and slightly south of Isola. Considering our heavy philosophical discussions of the day, “Monad” is appropriately named after a fascinating Pythagorean world view that was steeped in a cosmology of mathematics where the world is seen as existing solely on the backs of numbers. I could actually get behind this theory! OK – don’t get me started… 😉

Isola Peak

Ever since snowshoeing and hiking up Monola Peak in extremely strong winds and a fair amount of snow back in 2012 on November 18th, I had a trip filed away in the back of my mind that would entail both Isola and Monad Peaks to the south and west of Monola. After a stretch of incredible late fall weather in the Canadian Rockies which saw me bag around 7 peaks since the end of October, I was ready to give this trip a shot. Raf Kazmierczak was looking to hike up Monad Peak, so we agreed to team up for this one.

Caudron Peak

After a great ascent of Centre Peak, we turned our full attention to the west ridge of Caudron. We both had commented more than once over the approach and scramble of Centre that Caudron looked more involved than we were expecting. The west ridge looked easy enough, but just under the summit block, the slope steepened somewhat alarmingly and we wondered how easily we could scramble it. Lingering snow and ice were also visible, making us feel like our approach shoes might be too light. But there was nothing to do but get our noses in it at this point – so up we went!

Centre Peak (Livingstone)

Ever since reading a pair of trip reports from Brandon Boulier which detailed winter scrambles up both Centre and Caudron Peaks in the Livingstone Range near the Crowsnest Pass in Southern Alberta, I’ve wanted to do them both as a day trip from the west. Most folks ascend only Centre Peak and they do it from the east side – an easy to moderate, or even difficult scramble, depending on the route chosen. Rick Collier did both peaks as part of a grand traverse from Thunder Mountain to the Crowsnest Highway. Brandon gave me some key beta, including the advice to avoid his approach route on Centre and use his descent route instead.

Table Top Peak (Whistler Loop)

After staring wistfully to the east at the dry terrain around Whistler Mountain the week before while hiking and scrambling the snowy and long Lys Ridge with Phil Richards, I was back near Beaver Mines Lake with Wietse on Saturday, October 29th to try something else in the area. Dave McMurray (peaksandstreams.com) seems to be inspiring a lot of my trips lately (Racehorse, Lys Ridge) and this day would be no different.

Whistler Mountain (Whistler Loop)

As part of the “Whistler Loop”, Wietse and I first bagged two unofficial summits, both of which are higher than either of the two official summits they sit between! Table Top is located south of Table Mountain and the two Whistable Peaks are between Table Top and Whistler Mountain. Despite not having official names, we enjoyed the gorgeous views and sublime weather as we sat on top of each of them on our way towards the extremely under whelming apex of Whistler Mountain. After reading the controversy on the exact location of the summit, I’m still not 100% sure which it is, but since we bagged every high point on the ridge, I know we stood on top of Whistler at some point!

Whistable Peaks (Whistler Loop)

After leaving the summit of Table Top Peak, Wietse and I followed a delightful ridge towards the twin summits of Whistable Peaks. Dave McMurray named the more southerly of the twin peaks, “Eagle Peak” but Wietse and I politely decided to rename it due to a plethora of peaks already named after that majestic bird of prey. It took us a while to come up with “Whistable” but it seemed to fit the fact that the summits are pretty much the same height and located nicely between Table and Whistler Mountains.

West Castle Mountain

Sunday, October 23 2016 didn’t go quite as planned. Originally Phil Richards and I were planning on scrambling Centre Peak from the west. Both Caudron and Centre Peak are easily ascended from the west, but to get close to them requires driving 9km along a back country road that heads north from just east of the Crowsnest Pass Golf Course off of the Crowsnest Highway. Immediately on turning up this road, we started getting bad vibes. The road was easily navigable, but there were signs posted everywhere detailing that all the property was now privately owned by a corporation named “Riversdale Resources” and that all risks of driving the road were solely ours.

Racehorse, Mount

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.

Racehorse Peak

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. 😉

Towers, The

After completing a truncated version of the Cautley Traverse (missing Cascade Rock and Wonder Peak), I found myself a bit dissatisfied with the idea of simply heading back to my camp at Lake Magog. I was feeling disappointed with being turned back on Gibraltar Rock as well. It felt like I had over-complicated what should have been an easy traverse and on hindsight, I had indeed done just that! Cascade Rock was easy hiking on the north end of the traverse (not the south), and Wonder Peak could be accessed via a hidden chimney on climber’s right of the seemingly impenetrable cliffs blocking the route from Ely’s Dome.

Cautley, Mount (Cautley Traverse)

I woke up on Sunday, September 25 2016 in the Lake Magog Campground and poked my head out of my tent only to be immediately disappointed. This was supposed to be the day of my long-awaited Mount Cautley Traverse – 4 new peaks in one stretch – all located along the same, fairly easy ridge and all with stunning views over the Mount Assiniboine area, including of course, the mighty Matterhorn of the Rockies.