For the past three years Dinah and I have wanted to climb Sheol Mountain but bear activity had restricted trail access to six or more hikers. When Sonny Bou invited RMB forum members to join him for an ascent up this mountain we jumped at the opportunity. Filling out the group were Linda Breton and Frank Nelson from the forum as well as Sonny's friends' Dan Millar and Bob Parr.
We hiked up Paradise Valley trail until we reached the avalanche gully on the lower slopes of Sheol Mountain. This gully was one of the worst I've ascended. This wasn't just loose rock terrain, but loose rock hidden in vegetation. After stumbling up a short way, a thunderous roar behind us caught our attention. We turned to watch in awe as an avalanche rushed down the west side of Mount Temple.
Once the snow cloud had settled, we turned back to our grind up the drainage. Eventually we reached the gully fork and headed up the right branch. We progressed slowly until just before the ridge crest where the grade eased. We hiked and scrambled easily along the ridge crest. Contrary to warnings in the trip description, I came across no drop-off or crux, nor did we need to choose our handholds and footholds carefully.
When we reached the summit, the ideal weather was an invitation to stay an hour. Dan and Bob stretched out to relax while Sonny entertained the rest of us as he set up his Star War figure for a summit photo.After our stay on the summit we returned the same way. The descent was surprisingly quick notwithstanding the lack of scree to aid us.
Heading up the drainage after leaving the trail
Starting up the right fork of the drainage
Sonny slogs up the gully
Looking up the ascent gully
Lake Annette lies far below
Interesting scrambling on the right side of the gully
Dan and Frank stop at an interesting rock formation as we near the ridge crest
Frank leads the way ahead of Dan, Sonny and Linda
On the ridge
A swallow swoops by as we follow the undulating crest to the summit (far left).
Hungabee Mountain and Mount Lefroy in the background
Haddo Peak sets the background for a group shot on the summit. L to R back row: myself,
Sonny and Linda. L to R middle: Dan, Frank and Dinah. Front: Bob
Mount Temple (mouse over for a close-up of the summit)
Returning down the gully
82 N/8 Lake Louise
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