Mount Lougheed
Kananaskis, Alberta
July 25, 2009

When we started climbing Mount Lougheed under clear, blue skies we hadn't expected to find ourselves in the midst of a thunderstorm later. We made it to Peak 2, the main summit, and were well down the mountain before the storm struck 20 minutes after summiting. Out of range of lightning strikes, we experienced lightning flashes and thunder in safety.

Dinah and I took advantage of a easy-moderate scrambling route that started appearing last year on websites (we used Rob Eastick's). The trail, which parallels Spencer Creek, is well known to us since we've used it as the approach to Little Lougheed.

After 4.5 km the trail ends and a short bushwhack took us to Spencer Creek. We followed the creek until we came to a side drainage on our left. We headed up the grass slope west of it.

From Spencer Creek, the lay of the land prevented us from seeing Mount Lougheed, but after topping out onto a bench, a sweeping scene lay ahead, including the route up the scree cone.

At the top of the scree, we found an obvious way to reach a small ridge on our right. Past that we crossed a bowl to another ridge. This ridge, actually the edge of a scree slope, leads to the summit ridge.

Before reaching the summit, we heard the boom of thunder behind us. We watched in awe as lightning struck nearby mountains. I stood transfixed after seeing one particular lightning bolt a couple of peaks away. The wind was light but it was bringing the storm our way. We had just enough time to make the summit, take photos and drop down a few hundred metres out of harm's way before the storm arrived.

We had originally planned to continue on to Peak 3 and descend from the col between 2 and 3, but we were foiled by the thunderstorm. Regardless, we reached the highest peak and enjoyed it all, even the storm.

KML Track

MOVIE (posted on YouTube)

The trail crosses a side creek.

Heading up the drainage

After leaving the creek, we headed to the waterfall but ended up ascending the slope on our left.

From the top of the slope we viewed the vast scree cone we must climb.

Starting up the scree

At the top of the scree we'll need to make our way right.

From the top of the scree, Mount Sparrowhawk fills the view south.

After passing the white rock in front of me we'll find a trail on our right.

I scrambled up the weakness in the cliff above Dinah, but a notch (not seen here) on the right is easier.

From the notch (behind Dinah) we head to the bowl.

To reach the ridge crest from the bowl, we scrambled up the broad, white rock slab.

Looking back after crossing the bowl, we can see the notch (mouse over to circle the notch).

On the ridge, it's a scree slog to the summit ridge

Spray Lakes appear as we near the crest.

Southwest views include Mount Collembola, Mount Allen, Lougheed 3, and Wind Mountain.

Lougheed 1 lies northeast.

The summit

Heading down on the edge of the storm.

Relaxing to the sounds of thunder (0:31)

Heading back down the drainage. Little Lougheed on the right.

82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

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