Friday, July 31, 2009


Height: 8,419 ft
View-o-meter: 4/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Difficult
Total Trip Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Best Feature: Real peaks are only 3 feet wide!
Worst Part: A bit of a grunt to approach

Dungarvan sits along the ridge line running north of the Red Rock canyon highway. While the peak doesn't look particularly noteworthy from the ground, this is probably one of the harder scrambling routes the park has.

The string of mountains along the Red Rock Canyon road as seen from Anderson

Like most of the peaks on this ridge, Dungarvan has three main approaches: 1) from the Red Rock road up the Lost Horse drainage, 2) from Oil Basin to the north, 3) from the ridge that runs from Galwey or from Cloudy Ridge. While the Oil basin route is probably the easiest, the southwest branch of the west rib ascended from Lost Horse Creek on the Red Rock highway makes for a nice outing with minimal deadfall. Time on the ridge is paid for with a bit of up and down.

Park at the Lost Horse Creek Picnic area. Head up the open slopes on the left (west) of the creek. It takes a couple of km of walking on easy terrain to gain the ridge.

As hard as the going gets before things open up again

The ridge makes for fairly pleasant walking,

The ridge ends in an intimidating arete. Avoid these substantial difficulties by traversing to the right to the first prominent gully (with the left facing corner visible in the right of this picture) or to the second gully (just out of sight of this picture). The first gully has some very easy 3rd class terrain on solid ledges while the next gully is even easier but involves more talus.

After this you will need to break through the fossil algae band. There are a few weakness that shouldn't present too much difficulty to experienced mountaineers (4th class terrain for 15 or 20 feet). If you are new to scrambling this wouldn't be a great spot to test our your climbing skills - although the landings are certainly better than the crux section of Galwey and other similar peaks.

After the fossil algae there is a bit more easy scrambling (easy 3rd class) to reach the minor unamed peak which sits west of Dungarvan. This would be a convenient spot from which to head up Cloudy Ridge. To get to Dungarvan you will need to pick your way down some red argillite bands to the right (3rd class if done correctly) and ascend another slope to gain Dungarvan's summit tower. When in doubt cut back right on your descent.

Heading up to Dungarvan, pick a way through the upper band of red argillite. I traversed under it until the last weakness before the actual summit. Things are much easier than they look. A bit of a traverse on the black purcell lava leads to the narrow, exposed summit ridge (exposed 3rd class with consequences for the easiest path). The summit is quite spectacular and has a few brass survey markers from 1924. I suspect most people will feel pretty nervous with the exposure gaining the summit. The rock is blocky, but solid and you never actually have to do any climbing (at least from the West). It feels similar to the 1st knife edge ridge on Crandell.

From the summit looking back. You are actually looking at the middle tower which you don't have to ascend - although it does give you a feel for what the third tower and actual summit is like. The easiest ascent line heads up the right hand side (looking back - ie climber's left) of the near tower which dips down towards the middle tower visible in the center of the shot.

There are a number of options for the descent. Traversing over towards Galwey makes a nice loop, but does require a fair bit of extra scrambling. You also have to do a fair bit of work to pick your way through two bands of fossil algae to gain the next saddle. Stick to the arete fairly closely to find the 3rd/4th class gullies through the fossil algae.

Descending down to the valley is also possible. A recent flood has opened up the river bottom to make a few kilometers of easy walking. However you will need to do some side hilling and bushwacking until you reach the river's second fork (counting from the picnic area upstream). If you are lucky you'll find a very good game trail which starts near the open grasses by the first fork. However it is easy to loose and still requires walking through a bit of deadfall.

You don't get to see too much of this view as you walk out the bottom

Other Route Descriptions
Nugara's Scrambles - a great set of route descriptions and photos via the lost horse drainage on Dungarvan's south (central) rib.

Yantski's Some very nice pictures of Dungarvan, cloudy ridge and Spionkop from the east, but no route descriptions.

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Peaks of the Galwey - Red Rock Area

Thought I would add an image showing which peaks are which around the Red Rock - Galwey area. While peak baggers may only do the named summits, there are quite a few unamed peaks here which are equally as dramatic and prominent. One really should get up early and run the entire ridge line from Galwey or Bellevue over to Glendowan or Newman.

Let me know if there are any errors here. Google doesn't let the image size get any larger than this. Sometime I'll have to see about getting the full res image uploaded somehow. If you need a better copy, just email me. - Check my profile

old image that doesn't show names well

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Height: 7,802 ft
View-o-meter: 2/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Mostly Easy
Total Trip Difficulty: Easy
Best Feature: Views of the prominent peaks are similar to what you're used to
Worst Part: Rounded summit with radio tower

There are a number of different scrambling routes that lead to Crandell's summit. The standard route (and main descent route) heads up the south east buttress.

The east slopes of Crandell as seen from the Maskinoge and Park gates

Drive towards the Warden's compound just east of the townsite. Instead of going into the compound, take the road to the right that leads to the waste transfer station. At the crest of the hill an old gravel road leads towards Crandell. Park here and walk up the old road. In a few hundred meters you get to a washout. The route up tick ridge goes lest along a prominent game trail. To head up the south east buttress drop into the creek and follow it up for about 3/4 of a km.

A small dry streambed comes in from the right. This coincides with some apparent passages through the ledges above. A game/scrambler's trail should be somewhat visible here. If you can't find the trail - don't sweat it, you will run into it eventually as you head up the talus slopes above. As you gain elevation and get out from the ledges, tend a little bit right. The grass over to the right makes easier going than the talus to the left.

Once you gain the ridge, follow it up and to the left. Near the top you'll enter a nice bowl that keeps late season snow. The ridge is cleaner on the right. The summit is marked by a helicopter landing pad that has some really painful slivers and a nasty smell of tar and creosote.

Crandell's west and south slopes as seen from the Bertha falls trail

Other routes up Crandell
- Tick Ridge (the ridge to the left of the south east buttress)
- Knife Edge ridge (South ridge or Cockscomb)
-North Gullies

Other Route Descriptions

Vern Dewit's scrambling page - lots of pictures of the knife edge ridge. The south east buttress is described in his decent. - some good general information and a link to the north couloirs from


Carthew Peak

Height: 8,629 ft
View-o-meter: 3/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Easy
Total Trip Difficulty: Moderate
Best Feature: Tamarack around Summit Lake
Worst Part: Doesn't feel like a real peak

This is an easy peak to bag. When compared to nearby Alderson peak, the summit isn't nearly as impressive. However, an ascent of Carthew Peak keeps all the elevation gained getting to the Carthew-Alderson-Summit. Ascending Alderson requires making up around a thousand feet of lost elevation (from dropping down into Carthew lakes).

Drive up to Cameron lake and follow the hordes of tourists up to spectacular Summit lake and on towards the Summit (the saddle separating the Summit Lake area from the Carthew Lakes area. Once on the summit cut left (north). A few sinkholes are found just under a kilometer up from the saddle. There are no technical difficulties following the ridge all the way to the rounded summit. From the summit you can scree ski all the way to Carthew Lakes. Tending right (west) avoids ledges. Most people continue down to the townsite after reaching the lake.

From Summitt lake you can also follow the ridge line above the tourist trail. There is a little bit of 3rd class scrambling to get to where the ridge T's. Walking through the Tamaracks is quite pleasant. Running this ridge keeps the views down to Cameron Lake open. Be very careful about not rolling rocks down the shale. Numerous tourists ascend this route. I would suggest ensuring you are either the first on the trail, or that you can handle the technical difficulties that may be required sticking to the left (north) side of the ridge. This does make for an excellent spring ski destination. You can run some of the slide gullies almost all the way back to the valley floor. Watch for cornices.

Other Route Descriptions

Vern Dewit's Scrambling Page -


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Buchanan Ridge

Height: 8,415 ft
View-o-meter: 2/5
Scrambling Difficulty:
Total Trip Difficulty:
Best Feature:
Worst Part: Usually have to arrange a shuttle

The first important thing to know about this summit is whether you are heading up the ridge of peak. While both are connected, heading to the peak is a bit more technical. In this post I'll be describing route to the various summits along Buchanan ridge.

Buchanan ridge is usually done in conjecture with Mount Carthew. Views up top are not especially great. Some 20-50 foot sinkholes just uphill from the Carthew-Alderson Summit offer a potential distraction.

Cathew-Buchanan Ridge
Most people make the trip starting up the Carthew-Alderston-Summit trail fro Cameron Lake. Once at the summit, follow a thin game trial up hill to the left (north). In about 300m a pair of small sinkholes can be found. Continue up this ridge to reach Mount Carthew. Instead of heading down the shale slope to reach lower Carthew Lakes, stick to the ridge. Uncertain about hard downclimb location Two minor peaks of similar elevation are respectively found one and two peaks past (north) of Carthew Peak. There is little to distinguish these two peaks. A third minor peak is found at the termination of the north-east end of the ridge.

From the ridge there are two possible descents: Heading north to Cameron Highway, is usually the easiest option. However, you can also descend south to Alderson trail. However, once past the first peak this option becomes less and less appealing. It becomes a bit of a bushy grunt crossing Alderson creek and getting back up to the trail.

Descending north from the 1st (west) summit will put you above the rock climbs of Buchannon Gardens. This is a nice valley. From the 2nd (middle) summit a fairly steep shale face can be descended. A prominent, but unamed, Spring / Fall snow gully ascends this face. You can descend the west rib of this face with (uncertain) not too much difficulty. Continuing along the ridge until it ends is the easiest of the three options. If you do this, you can descend back to the road on a relatively open slope, just above the bench by Trap Line (the bluffs just south of the Crandell creek parking lot). This will deposit you at the Crandell lake trailhead - after crossing Cameron creek of course.

Other Route Descriptions

Dow's Scrambling page - Good route descriptions and some nice photos of the crux downclimb if linking Carthew & Buchanan Peak.

Vern Dewit's Scrambling Page -



Height: 8,002 ft
View-o-meter: 3/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Moderate
Total Trip Difficulty: Moderately Hard
Best Feature: Rarely done
Worst Part: Round about way to the peak

Boswell is one of several rarely climbed mountains in the park. It sits in a prominent position behind Crypt Lake. There are nice views to the south to Goat Haunt Lake and to the South East toward Michewabum.

The standard approach is to hike up the Crypt Lake trail. At the lake, head up a large scree and snow slope on the south west (back right) side of the lake. Early in the season an ice axe may prove re-assuring. This is the same approach used for Crypt peak. There is some 3rd class scrambling along this route. Ledges tend to be shaley, so be forewarned.

Crypt Lake. The ascent up to the ridge ducks just under the visible snow slopes and tends right.

Once on the ridge line, follow it back to the west. The top is fairly wide, and has some short sections of broken rock that may require some easy scrambling. Follow this up to the peak. Most people head left going up Crypt peak instead. Both routes can be completed in a day, however the boat schedule tends to make this a challenge (There is an overgrown trail that runs along the Lakeshore and leads to "Wishbone" which is the rough boat dock under Vimy in the middle lake. I think there have been a few times we have taken this trail and cut across to the narrows to try and call for a canoe or debate going for a swim. Some of the old trail hands at the stables used to swim their horses across the narrows and then race up Crypt. The water there is really cold (probably near the max density which is 3.8C). One train of thought suspects is has something to do with the currents drawing water up from the bottom of the lake.

A nice alpine alternative to the back of the lake approach is the Cataflaque snow Couloir. It heads up a prominent gully on the south side of Crypt lake. Pick cool weather.


Buchanan Peak

Height: 7,904 ft
View-o-meter: 2/5
Scrambling Difficulty:
Total Trip Difficulty:
Best Feature: Views into Carthew lakes
Worst Part: Doesn't feel like a real peak

Bucahanan Peak is a minor summit which lies off a spur of Buchanan ridge. The ridge has nicer views but peak baggers tend to head up here to get another check mark on their peak bagging list.

From the Waterton townsite hike up the Alderson trail. When you get to the Alderson lake fork, go right towards Carthew lakes. Somewhere near Carthew waterfall cut right across the valley to head up the scree slopes leading up to Buchanan peak. Buchanan peak is on the right, Carthew peak is on the left directly above the lakes.

From Buchanan peak you can rejoin the main ridge to the north. Looping to the right is easy (Middle and Eastern summits of Buchanan ridge). Looping to the left requires going through one band of 4th class scrambling with some very lose rock (Western summit of Buchanan ridge & Carthew Peak). VERIFY ACCURACY

Other Route Descriptions

Bob Spirko's Scrambling Page - Basic route description with some pictures.

Vern Dewit's Scrambling Page - Abbreviated route description and some pictures.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Climbing Partners

Anyone interested in going into Drywood or some of the new route areas in the Pass or Waterton? Give me an email at cgoble72 at gmail. Mid week is great. My vacation with my wife fell through due to illness.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Triple Crown Challenge: - From Waterton Community Association

Here is a challenge from Locky Craig.......

Dear Community Members:

Waterton is many things to many people. All would agree that Waterton is a staging place for some of the best hiking in the Canadian Rockies. In my biased opinion our hiking is next to none. Waterton Park Inns and Resorts wishes to increase the profile of our hiking and to that end are sponsoring “The Triple Crown of Waterton”. This is a challenge to hike what we consider the big three day hikes in Waterton in the summer of 2009. The three day hikes are Crypt Lake, Alderson-Carthew Trail (the Summit) and Akamina Ridge. Yes we know that Akamina is primarily out of the Park but it really is one of our hikes and we thought a better choice (for variety reasons) than any of the other day hikes (the other choice was Red Rock-Twin Lakes-Blakiston Valley) or Vimy Ridge. If we were doing more than day hikes we would have picked the Tamarack Trail instead of Akamina.

We are having a kick –off on Saturday July 18 at Pearls. The sign up cost will be a tonnie and you must get your punch card at that time. The few and proud who complete the challenge will make the glory board at and will have the right to buy a Waterton Triple Crown t-shirt at our cost ($7.50) which will only be available to the few and proud who complete.

One of our main goals in doing this is to have a fun community based event. We hope that you will join us.”

Please give me your comments.

Locklynn T. Craig
Waymarker Hospitality
3408 - 114 Avenue S.E.
Calgary, Ab
T2Z 3V6
Cell: (403) 861-2898

Friday, July 10, 2009


Well, I am 1 week into a 2.5 week trip to Icleand. I don´t have any pictures to upload as the computer I finally found doesn´t allow multiple windows. So far we have travelled the eastern side of the West Fjords, and are now in the North heading East. Things are lovely. Seeing the old sod houses has been quite an eye opener. The beds from 1850 were only about 5 feet long. I don´t think people today could even come close to fitting in those old houses.

Highlights so far you can google
-blue lagoon
-hot tub on the beach at ?dargenses?
-way too cool fjords on the Standir coast
-saw the farm of the first viking born in Newfoundland (she went across europe twice on foot - so I think word of newfoundland must have been around quite a bit more than we think) They don´t make a big deal of Lánse aux meadows here
-camping under a 300 foot waterfall on the beach on the standir coast
-seeing some amazing kayak runs coming into ?akureyrir?

Email me