Television Peak and Stuart Knob
Two days after covering 32 km to climb Mounts Brachiopod and Anthozoan, Dinah and I were ready to do another 32 km trip that encompassed TV Peak and Stuart Knob. I could see no easy way to bag these peaks together regardless of our starting point, but at least traversing west to east avoided downclimbing the crux on the NW ridge of Television Peak. We opted to ascend Protection Mountain using an old mining trail that we had hiked four years earlier and then ascend the crux. That meant climbing TV Peak first and then Stuart Knob.
Two hours after starting out we reached the mine. From there we easily scrambled to the crest of Protection Mountain. We followed the ridge and then dropped down 100 m to the col and started up the NW ridge of Television. At first the ridge was an easy scramble, but after getting within 170 vertical metres of the summit it became difficult and exposed. Unfortunately Dinah found it unnerving so we backed down. We would have find to another way to get to Television Peak.
Our best route appeared to be on the Television's NE ridge. This would not be easy as we had to drop down 250 m to the basin below and then negotiate snow and cliff bands on the lower slopes below the ridge.
As we hiked across the basin – actually called Wonder Valley – it appeared possible to ascend a couple of places to get to TV Peak. The first involved crossing snow to reach a break in the cliff band. But after covering a couple dozen metres, my pole broke through the snow to a hidden underground stream a few feet below. I quickly retreated.
Our second option eliminated crossing snow. There was a weakness in the cliff band that looked promising and after scrambling up it, we were on the gentle scree ridge leading to the summit.
Television Peak was rife with antennas making it one the most unattractive summits I've been on. But the views were impressive. After snapping a few photos we went on our way. Bagging Television Peak had taken far too long – five and a half hours – and we still had a long day ahead of us.
Much of the trip from Television Peak to Stuart Knob was an enjoyable amble. We dropped to the pleasant col between Television Peak and the unnamed peak (720904) where we replenished our water supply. From the col we easily scrambled along and up the black rock band to gain the ridge. Here the wide, colourful ridge was like a highway, although it literally had its ups and downs. There were few clouds so the clear skies allowed us to take in the beautiful mountain scenery all around us.
The trip from Television Peak to Stuart Knob was an uneventful hour-and-45 -minute plod. After reaching the summit block we scrambled up the final few metres on the west side, a popular route by the looks of it. The summit itself offered limited seating, but it mattered little as we couldn't stay long.
After leaving the summit we followed the ridge south to the base of the summit block before dropping down to a plateau above the basin. The good scree near the bottom was a welcome relief from the loose rock higher up.
I was now concerned with finding a way down a cliff band that separated us from the huge basin. There was no easy way to spot a break so we contoured left along the top of cliff band before finally finding a breach. In a short time we were on the trail leading down to Rockbound Lake.
It was late in the day by now and I was concerned about getting back to the car parked 12.5 km from the Rockbound Lake trailhead. I had stashed my road bike but being optimistic, I hadn't brought a bike light. I didn't relish riding in the dark.
Just before Tower Lake though we caught up to two guys around 60 years of age who were also heading back. We hoped to get a lift with them, but ironically they had parked 10 km down the road and anticipated getting a lift from us! They were on their way back from rock climbing.
So I was left with riding my bike. Leaving Dinah in their company, I decided to scoot ahead to get to my bike with what little daylight was left. As I hurried ahead down the trail I expected Dinah to ease her pace. But she kept a brisk pace herself and the two climbers labored to keep up to her. They arrived at the trailhead ten minutes after me just after I had jumped on my bike. My road bike quickly ate up the distance and in 30 minutes I was at the car. I drove back to Castle Junction to learn one of the climbers had just caught a ride to get his truck after hitchhiking for 50 minutes. Dinah got in my car and we arrived back in Calgary at midnight.
Dinah hikes past Protection Mountain mine. From here, we angled right.
Hiking up the scree
Near the ridge crest of Protection we passed balancing rock
Television Peak and its NW ridge seen from Protection Mountain
On the NW ridge of Television Peak. The snowless point is Anthozoan Mountain.
Television Peak: We ended up climbing the break in the snow below and halfway along the NE ridge
NW ridge leads to TV Peak
We soon turned around after this point
In Wonder Valley, I crossed a "bridge" spanning the snow
We left the basin behind to gain the ridge
View of Wonder Valley northwest of Television Peak
On the summit. Mount Daly to the right (mouse over for close-up)
Leaving the col at Television and the unnamed peak at 720904
Following the long, smooth ridge to Stuart Knob
Stuart Knob certainly looks like knob
A ridgewalk doesn't come easier than this!
Approaching Stuart Knob
Below the summit block: we scrambled up the chimney on the left
Is anyone missing a blue down jacket on Stuart Knob? Apparently someone left it behind.
Coming down the scree below Stuart Knob
Helena Ridge overlooks the basin
Castle Mountain on the right
Here the basin is incredibly flat
From the basin looking back at Stuart Knob. Note the trail below it.
82 N/8 Lake Louise and 82 O/4 Castle Mountain