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Strachan, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2682
Elevation Gain (m): 600
Round Trip Time (hr): 3.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 4
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your pinkie finger
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties from Carnarvon Lake. The headwall to the lake is far harder than anything on this easy scramble.
GPS Track DownloadDownload GPX File
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
Mapwhat3words


After a brutally long day the day previous, Kaycie and I awoke at our bivy on Carnarvon Lake ready for a much more relaxed day. Thanks to knocking off not only the 11km, 700m gain approach but also the neighboring summits of Mount MacLaren and Shankland (another 11km and 1150m of height gain), we had a much easier second day planned. We would start our day with an easy, short ascent of Mount Strachan and then spend the rest of it lounging around beautiful Carnarvon Lake reading, eating and checking out the lake. We were both really looking forward to it!

Late evening views over Carnarvon Lake from just below our bivy camp.

After breakfast we slowly made our way back up the headwall behind our camp and onto the lower south grassy slopes of Strachan. There were no difficulties up this slope other than minor route finding around some small cliffs or really loose piles of scree. I’ve read more than one report which bitterly complains about the scree on all the peaks surrounding Carnarvon Lake, but to be honest I didn’t find it that bad and I was in approach shoes the whole time! Scree doesn’t have to be a negative if you focus on the beauty all around you as you grind your way up it. For me scree is like skinning up a snow slope. I focus on my breathing and on efficient steps. The worries of the world drop away as I focus solely on my immediate environment. Call me nutso, but I enjoy (most) scree slopes.

Early morning lighting as we crest the headwall above our campsite and look up at our peak.
KC takes in the view over Carnarvon Lake. Mount MacLaren rising at center and Strachan at left.

The views of Carnarvon Lake improved as I walked closer to the edge of the south ascent slope and as we gained height our views in every direction became better and better. Once again we were very lucky to experience little or no smoke. The wind was also much calmer in the morning and the air was nice and fresh.

KC and the lake.

Within 2 hours of leaving the campsite we were on top of Strachan. I knew we had many hours of daylight ahead of us so we took our time at the summit, including a traverse to the slightly lower west summit with some nice views towards Muir looming over Muir Pond – our destination for the next day. After checking the wx again (cell service at the summit), we knew we were in for a stretch of even nicer weather ahead.

KC gazes down the exposed east face over our Carnarvon Lake approach route, from near the summit.
Great views west (L) and north (R) towards Muir SW2, McPhail and Muir (L to R).
Great views down the south ridge / face to Carnarvon Lake and Mount MacLaren and Shankland.

The descent was super quick and easy. We wandered back into camp just as the other group was packing up to head out after their weekend of camping. We enjoyed a very relaxing rest of the day on Sunday. KC read her book for hours on end, while I read mine one hour at a time and explored the area in between.

Reading her book at camp.

We needed to be rested and ready for our traverse to Weary Creek Gap over Mount Muir the following day. That night, just as we crawled into the mid, two pretty intense thunderstorms rolled over us back-to-back. That was pretty neat – we felt pretty small and alone now that everyone else was gone from the area! Eventually the lightning died off and we fell into a contented sleep in the cool, refreshed air.

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