Friday, April 29, 2005

Montana Mountains

For those of you who like to explore the Glacier area, J. Gordon Edwards book on glacier scrambling is the usual resource. It is a comprehensive book, but the style is a bit dated. Also, don't expect to find many of the modern routes on there, not that there are many. has quite a bit of comprehensive information about the local peaks.

The glacier mountaineers is also quite an active group. But which peaks are best?

For experienced scramblers looking for a quick outing, try Mt. Reynolds. Hike up the large tourist trail from the Logan's Pass visitor center to the pass before Hidden Lake. While a game trail takes off to the left about 300m before the saddle, climbing the abbreviated ridge running to Reynolds is pretty fun. A good trail leads to the backside of the mountain and then up to the peak. Rockfall from others can be problematic near the base. There is only one 3rd class step around similar to Galwey.

Mt. Merrit is reported to be one of the most beautiful mountains around. The views are supposed to be fantastic. It is behind belly river lakes. There is a large glacier on top that requires snow gear.

Mt. Clevland is a popular tick. The ever improving condition of the hiker's trail on the west side has turned it into a long day hike.

Of course there are many more popular peaks in the area. While the rock isn't great for technical routes, scramblers seem to love the views.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What did you do??

So, to get some conversation going on this board;
this past weekend Dave Stephens and i skiied up onto the Wapta Icefields and climbed Mt. Collie. Awesome spring skiing up high under clear blue skies. The views were stunning. From the summit of Collie we were able to see Mt. Sir Donald in the Rogers Pass, Mt. Sir Sanford which is up Gold River west of McNaughton Lake, the Goodsirs, Deltaform, Hungabee, etc. We bagged some nice turns off the summit in corn snow right down into the trench. The skiing below the Bow Hut crapped out though, it just got to warm and the snow went very isothermic and kept collapsing around the boulders above the canyon. It was very exasperating pulling ourselves out of these holes but all in all, it was still an awesome day. I imagine Dave will have some pictures on his website soon.
Anybody else?? Tell us what you did this past weekend. Anybody do anything hairy and scary or just plain interesting?? Let us know.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Tick Lists

With the warm weather firmly entrenched like a tick in a belly button I figure it is about time to get to work on the hard part of life - figuring out my tick list for the summer.

I used to be content to wait a day or two before a trip to decide what to do. However, that model hasn't at all been condusive to finding partners. With most of my objectives getting harder and harder to do on my own, I figure it is about time I sat down and worked out how to go about getting up some of those tasty peaks in the back country. Add yours, perhaps someone will find a hidden gem, or be available in case partners dry up like an August drought.

Lorrette - S ridge scramble or Edith scramble and traverse (see Dougherty's book)
Aemner's Coluoir
Horesthief creek and Dutch Creek and Wildhorse creek

Mount Louis
Pipestone River
Humbug spire
Kayking in Bitter roots
North fork of the Flathead float trip
Expert's choice for new routes

Macleod River
E. ridge of Wilbur
Chinese Wall hike
Berg Lake by Robson
Mt. Edziza northern BC

Hiking & kyaking around Whitehorse
Grand Sentinel
True Grit & or Parrallel dreams
Kinnerly in Glacier MT
Expert's choice for new routes

Picture Contest Wind Down

Don't forget to submit your Waterton area snap shots for this year's picture contest. So far we have about 14 pictures, so if you send one to me chances are good that you will have a good shot at getting the winning photo.

Talking to Brian Baker the other day (owner of Tamarack Mall), he mentioned how in demand pictures from local photographers are. Here is the last entry rceived

Contest closes on May 2nd. I will post the internet survey then to determine the winner. (No cheating!)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Take me to a tropical reef

With warmer weather approaching, I have been thinking about the Chinese Wall down in Montana. Along the front ranges of the rockies there are actually quite a number of fossilized tropical reefs. Montana is actually quite a good place to research these formations. Drywood is formed from stromatolites. There actually is a colony of these precambrian creatures still living in Shark Bay Australia. These ancient corals are what make the climbing at Drywood so interesting. Local geologists also call this formation fossil algae.

This band of fossil algae is actually fairly extensive. This is what looked to make that short section on Yarrow's east ridge difficult. The bear's hump is actually a slightly different formation called molar tooth limestone (for obvious reasons). Usually the fossil algae band presents a challenge when scrambling.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Elevators

Brad sent me a link to some nice looking mountains just east of Elkford. They look quite impressive.

The impressive faces appear to be on the east side of the mountain. I included a rather large topo of the area. I put an arrow to where I guess the peak is, however, never having been up there, it is just a guess. So if anyone has any more ideas....


Spread Eagle

With the new snow falling, and the possibility for some more cold weather, I thought I would post the pictures for Spread Eagle Col.

The mountain is located between Yarrow valley and Spionokop valley. The valley in the base is called "Blind Canyon"

The route takes the prominent gully directly up the face. The top looks like it could get challenging. The route narrows down considerably and steepens up. With the chance of warm weather slides, it wouldn't be a good place to decide to back off.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Yarrow East Ridge

This weekend we had a look at the east ridge of yarrow. We had hoped to see some other climbers on the fabulous looking Spread Eagle Coluoir, but things haven't been freezing enough at night to solidify the new snow.

Yarrow lies just north of the park. Just south of the town of Twin Butte is Spread Eagle Road. Take this due west until the road ends. At the T-intersection, turn south to a grassy parking lot. There is a trail along the road access that cuts through accross the hill side.

The first half of the ridge is a straight forward walk up a lightly grassed talus slope. Above a narrow ridge line leads to a challenging looking headwall.

The rock is fairly fractured. However it seems to be reliable enough for decnt protection

As you approch the headwall pillar, we choose to move left to get a better look at the route ahead

There is a little bit of scrambling to get good view of the upper ridge.

The ridge above looked feasible, but only up to a point. WIth snow conditions, weather, and uncertainty about some blank sections up higher, we decided to call it a day.

The ridge looks like a decent summer climb. With the slippery new snow that fell, some of the slabs and faces higher up would prove interesting. While certainly not a great alpine route, the East Ridge of Yarrow does off a change of pace for people who are tired of non-technical scrambles. Descent of the south west face or traverse over Spread Eagle looks to be straight forward.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Picture Contest

With things likely to be slow in the mountains this month, I thought a friendly contest would be in order. This is the chance for all those lurkers to come out in the open, or at least remain behind email anonymity. Prizes for 1st and 2nd will be local rock climbing guide books, and what ever else I can scrounge up from local stores. I think I can also throw in a couple of Kayak Club family memberships and a boat rental or two.

Here are the rules (subject to change based on good ideas by anyone)
1. Pictures should deal with moutain subjects of some kind. Obviously this is not limited to mountain panoramas, but they should still contain some aspect of mountain culture (even if it is just a shot of that hot partner of yours in their favorite fleece!)
2. Pictures should be limited to the Waterton / Glacier / Crowsnest Pass areas. Yes, we are Banff bias.
3. No more than 2 submissions per person
4. Shots should be sent to in email form. (There is no need for file sizes larger than 1 MB). Images should be at least 640 x 480 pixels.
5. Deadline for submissions is Sunday May 2nd.
6. All images will be posted on the net. Images may be used in other locations for non profit use.
7. Winners will be chosen based on an internet poll where no one is allowed to vote for their own pictures (honesty please).
8. I will be allowed to submit some shots to steal the prize and win my own guide books!
9. Photoshop enhancement is allowed (no alien spaceships or extra big looking backpacks allowed - also don't make my biceps look too big)

Submissions are coming in. So far numbers are small, so find those archived files, and send them on in.

Monday, April 11, 2005


With the warm weather this weekend, it looks like the front ranges getting in good shape for scrambling. Of course, mountains with out that direct south westerly exposure still look to have a fair bit of snow on them. For instance, this last weekend I was up in Kanaskis, and ended up on the middle buttress on Mount Lorette. While this wasn't the popular rock route on the mountain, it did look reasonably similar in character - lots of knife edge ridge, and entrapping decent gullies on either side.

Lorette from the road. The main ridge is out of sight to the left.

As you can see from the pictures, not much snow to worry about.

Mike Orr about halfway up the route

So how were the conditions else where?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Border Rules

If anyone has been following the news, it sound like the US will be tightening border requirements for Canada. However, passports will not be required until 2008, so you have some time to get ready. Globe & Mail

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

3rd Annual Boulder Fest

For all those who might be interested. The 3rd annual Bouder Fest is happeing this Friday, April 8th, at Acent Climbing Centre, please contact Scott Whiteside at 328-ROPE to register and for info or Jon Sheppard at 327-7480. Should be a good time as always, door prizes will be awarded. Cheers.

PS. They are in need of sponsors for door prizes, contact above for the details


In an effot to practice the judging method for the Photo Contest, I thought I would test things out with a rather useless quiz.

One vote per person.

Email me