Hawk Ridge, Centre Peak
I've been curious about Hawk Ridge for a few years. The South Peak is the highest peak, but being unfamiliar with the mountain I wasn't sure of the best way to attempt it. However, looking at the map, the route for the Centre Peak appeared straightforward.
We parked at the trailhead for Honeymoon Pass/Verdant Creek at Vermilion River Crossing. Apparently the trail had seen little traffic as it was slightly overgrown, but it was easy to follow and clear of deadfall.
We didn't know the best place to start up from Honeymoon Pass to go for the peak, so we hiked to the top of the pass and hoped a way up would present itself. It didn't. Cliffs stopped us from ascending from the pass so we traversed back until we reached a steep, treed slope and ascended it until we reached the treeline.
After emerging from the trees we couldn't see the summit but we saw we could climb either the grassy ridge on the left or the rocky ridge on the right. The two ridges form a horseshoe with the summit at its apex. We chose to head up the rocky ridge since it was closer. The gentle grade allowed us to walk to just below the summit where we easily scrambled to the top.
Since we hadn't climbed in this area before, we were looking forward to seeing new scenery. Unfortunately the weather was uncooperative. It began to snow before we reached the summit and clouds moved in. Despite the lack of views, at the least the ridge walk was interesting and the shale formations fascinating.
Instead of returning down the ridge we climbed, we followed the grassy ridge to its end before dropping down to a basin. An avalanche slope provided an open corridor in the trees all the way down to the trail.
Reaching the Centre Peak proved so easy that it's a trip that would work well late in the season. There's no need to go all the way to the pass: the avalanche slope provides the best ascent.
The trail is hidden in undergrowth. The summit is somewhere above us.
The trail leads to Honeymoon Pass on the right
Spar Mountain to the south
The trail crosses the creek.
We were tempted to ascend this avalanche slope, but we knew we could
gain 100 m of elevation on the trail. Later we realized this slope is the
best approach; we used it on our descent.
A cliff band stopped us from ascending directly from the pass so we turned around and headed
up the scree slope on the right.
Rather than grovel up the scree slope, we traversed left to the treed slope.
Looking down at the pass
After a long ascent in trees we reached a meadow.
From the meadow, we head up a ridge.
We leave the meadow far below (right).
It begins to snow, obscuring views south and west.
A false summit
A closer look at the false summit
Another false summit
Sticking to the ridge offers more scrambling opportunities
We're close to the summit now
Up until now, the ridge can be easily avoided
Dinah starts up the shale slope
Finally we see the summit
Looking back along the ridge
On the return, we'll drop to the open ridge behind me
There was no cairn so I built one. The mountain on the left is probably Haiduk Peak although
it was too hazy to be sure.
We head back down
This ridge allowed us to stay up high for the views, if only we could see anything!
The clouds cleared briefly for a look back at Centre Peak. We ascended the skyline ridge on
The Monarch to the east
We descend the avalanche slope to the trail
82 O/4 Banff
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