After arriving home from my brother’s wedding on August 26 2010 I was feeling a bit bummed about the weather forecast for the Rockies that coming weekend (27-29). With only two (or was it three) Kane peaks left I was determined to finish before 2011 rather than have two last peaks hanging around for another year! Unfortunately for me though, the week previous had dumped fresh snow all over the Rockies and I was sure that Yoho probably got hit with the most. The forecast was also very grim with rain, thunderstorms and snow in varying percentages for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
After ascending Mount Ball and Beatrice Peak the previous day, we awoke to clear skies on Sunday morning, August 15 2010 ready to tackle Stanley Peak. Thanks to Dave Stephens we knew there was an easier route than the Kane bash up the face – we could ascend southwest slopes to the summit. We had an idea that instead of coming all the way back above the headwall to our bivy site before going back down Haffner Creek, we could descend off Stanley’s south slopes and cut off a good part of the bushwhack. This would be a bit dicey because of cliff bands guarding the south side of Stanley but we felt good about finding a route off, so we set out with our full packs.
I woke up at 0315 on Saturday morning, August 14 2010 eager to drive to the Marble Canyon camp ground and a bushwhack up Haffner Creek. OK, I wasn’t exactly eager, but I did wake up! I arrived at the parking lot around 06:00 and by 06:30 our party of four was starting up Haffner Creek.
I took Wednesday, July 14 2010 off work and headed to K-Country to scramble one of my last remaining Kane peaks with Keith and So – Cougar Mountain. The weather forecast was dismal for this day but since we had all booked it already it wasn’t worth another cancellation. The summer weather so far in 2010 has been dismal at best! Like it so often happens, as I drove closer and closer to the front ranges the clouds started to dissipate and by the time I pulled into the parking area at 06:30 the sky was blue!
On Thursday, July 1 2010 I was joined by Bill Kerr to celebrate Canada’s birthday with an ascent of Copper Mountain in Banff National Park. Copper is one of those peaks that is very prominent and easy to access but doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. Various trip reports on the internet indicate some confusion regarding the ascent and descent routes with stories of people getting cliffed out and even jumping off small cliffs to get down!
After bagging both Pyramid and Cinquefoil mountains the previous day, So and I were ready to help me close out my “Kane” Jasper scrambles with an ascent of Utopia Mountain. It turns out that I left the best for last. After packing up our campsite at 05:00 we started to feel rain drops. Uh oh. Was I going to have to drive a round trip of 10 hours from Calgary just to get my last Kane scramble in Jasper? It turns out we got very lucky (again) with the weather. By the time we started our hike the sky was clearing and there was no more rain for the remainder of our scramble.
On the weekend of June 26, 27 I was joined by So Nakagawa on a quest to finish up my remaining “Kane” scrambles in Jasper National Park. The plan was to scramble both Pyramid and Cinquefoil on Saturday and finish up with Utopia on Sunday. Secretly I was thinking that this was a slightly aggressive plan and it would take a small miracle to pull it off but what’s life without a few aggressive, unrealistic goals? 🙂
After scrambling Pyramid Mountain in 6 hours car-to-car, So and I decided that we’d better not waste the rest of a perfectly fine day on lounging around in our campsite so we went up Cinquefoil Mountain instead! Cinquefoil is rated “easy” and the short time that Kane lists is around 4 hours. This is fine except it sets the expectation for the mountain pretty low. Most people seem surprised both by the difficulty and length of this trip.
On Saturday, May 15 I was joined by Wietse and Sonny on a bit of an exploratory trip in the Livingstone range in Kananaskis Country. We drove up an old logging road (start @N 50 5.522, W 114 25.942) with the intent of parking somewhere between Sheep Mountain and Horseshoe Ridge and bagging both summits from the parking area at the pass.
On Saturday April 10 2010 Wietse and Naomi joined me on a relaxing outing to the summit of Hillcrest Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass. We got the idea for this mountain from Bob Spirko and Rick Collier. Originally we had planned on a ski trip up Crowfoot Mountain but with avalanche warnings in the red zone we thought it best to avoid as much snow as possible.
On Saturday, March 6 2010 I was joined by Scott Berry, JW and Janice to ski Vermillion Peak. We had a gorgeous day and sublime mountain views but on hindsight we probably should not have chosen this particular peak for an 8 degree day. The route up was clearly marked with a very hard packed track. The snow pack had about 2 inches of solid ice crust on top with facets underneath which did not inspire confidence in either the ongoing slope stability in the warm temps or for the ski back down. We followed the up track ’til there was a split just before the pass.
On Remembrance Day, November 11, 2009 I joined Bill Kerr, Wietse Bylsma and Kelly Smith for a hike up Mount Howard in Kananaskis Country in the front ranges of the Alberta Rockies.
After spending the previous two days ascending Mounts Inglismaldie and Whymper I was ready for either a shorter day or even a day off. So I decided that a nice 1500 meter elevation day was in order. Huh? OK, originally I was going to do Copper Mountain with Harvey but he decided to do another objective that I’ve already done so I decided I would do Mount Burgess in Yoho National Park, solo, instead.
Summit Elevation (m): 2845Elevation Gain (m): 1250Trip Time (hr): 4Total Trip Distance (km): 7Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something. Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling with some route finding to keep it moderate. GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)Map: Google Maps I’d been saving Mount Whymper for a solo outing when I didn’t have a whole bunch of time. On Wednesday, September 30 2009 I found myself dropping the kids off at school at 08:00 with a full […]
Summit Elevation (m): 2964 Elevation Gain (m): 1450 Trip Time (hr): 8 Total Trip Distance (km): 16 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you sprain or break something Difficulty Notes: Howard is mostly an off trail hike with some easy scrambling. Can be done in the off season if the approach road is open. GPS Track Download: Download GPX File Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd) Map: Google Maps Mount Inglismaldie has held my interest for quite some time already. I’ve intended to scramble up it every […]
After ascending Mount Daly the day before, we were up at 07:00 and ready for an easier day on Mount Niles. We got what we wanted. Mount Niles is a much shorter and simpler scramble than Daly is. There’s no glacier, no cliff bands and really no route finding if you stick to the trail / cairns. We ascended the same drainage as the day before and got to the upper meadow. From there we descended slightly to climber’s left and made for the pinnacle, following cairns through the boulder field.
On September 25 2009 my brother Rod and I headed into Sherbrooke Lake and beyond in Yoho National Park to see what all the fuss over Niles Meadows and it’s neighboring peaks, Mount Daly and Niles was. The fuss is well founded, as it turns out! The hike to Sherbrooke Lake gained more elevation than I expected. We gained about 200 vertical meters before the lake already – and felt it with the bigger packs! Rod is a flat lander from Winnipeg and he did pretty darn good considering! Just wait till he turns 30.
Just as I was lamenting the fact that the gorgeous fall weather was sure to end without me taking advantage of it my email dinged with a message from the crazy Pol – Raf. He was asking me if I would be interested in scrambling up Mount Sarbach. Yep! I would be very interested! Arrangements were hastily made. Raf picked me up at 04:45 at my house and 3 hours later we were at the trailhead. There was some haze in the air but the weather was perfect – calm and sunny.
I decided to end a 4 day peak bagging party (Monday – Pilot / Brett, Tuesday – Burstall / Storm, Wednesday – Fox) with a jaunt up Mount Bogart. (NOTE: Since the floods of 2013, the approach route and even the route itself may have changed significantly so beware that the GPS track will be off.)
Since I had scrambled Mounts Pilot, Brett, Burstall and Storm over the previous 2 days I figured it was time for a short and easy mountain. I chose Mount Fox. Short? No. Easy? No. Oh well. Fun? Yes! I was joined by Harvey, an active scrambler and hiker from Calgary who I was introduced to by Marta.
After scrambling up and down Burstall Mountain in 3 hours on September 01 2009 I was sitting in my car driving back to my camp in Elkwood thinking, “now what do I do the rest of the day?!”. Since I had scrambled Brett and Pilot the day before I thought I would want a short and easy day but I strangely felt myself wondering if I could possibly still bag another peak since the rain clouds from the morning had dissipated and I was left with a warm and sunny afternoon.
After scrambling Mount Pilot and Brett the day before and driving all the way to Elkwood campground in Kananaskis I was ready for a shorter and easier day. I chose to finally do Mount Burstall since it had been on my radar for a long time already.
Summit Elevation (m): 2984 Elevation Gain (m): 2400 Trip Time (hr): 10 Total Trip Distance (km): 25 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse Difficulty Notes: Easy alternate descent is the way to go on this one! Difficult scrambling on the ridge described by Kane. Note: This trip combines both Pilot and Brett with a bike approach. GPS Track Download: Download GPX File Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th) Map: Google Maps After ascending Pilot Mountain I decided to take advantage of the long […]
On Monday, August 31 2009 I decided to attempt Pilot Mountain and Mount Brett as a day trip. Both of these mountains are rated ‘difficult’ by Alan Kane and both of them deserve this rating. I knew that I was in for a long day and was hesitant about doing it solo but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and go with it – and I’m glad I did!
Summit Elevation (m): 2998 Elevation Gain (m): 1650 Trip Time (hr): 5.5 Total Trip Distance (km): 20 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something Difficulty Notes: If there’s snow on the upper traverse / crux this is no longer a scramble and can be dangerous. Wait until its completely dry. GPS Track Download: Download GPX File Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (Hiking) Map: Google Maps On Saturday August 29, 2009 I decided to make a solo attempt at scrambling up […]