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"Raptor Peak" and Spread Eagle Mountain Attempt

Castle Wilderness, Alberta
May 13, 2005

On our attempt on Spread Eagle Mountain, Dinah and I climbed a bump on the north ridge. 14 years ears later, Dave McMurray named this bump, "Raptor Peak." While we easily reached Raptor Peak, we were thwarted by steep rock and turned around on Spread Eagle Mountain.

We parked at the bridge over Spionkop Creek on Yarrow Road and headed up the wooded slope. Soon came across a good animal trail. The trail follows the ridge above the creek and crosses two side creeks before climbing. Eventually it meets a 4WD road that climbs up Raptor Peak.

Along the way we were amazed by the profusion of flowers, especially glacier lilies, kittentails, shooting stars and prairie crocuses. We also saw deer which might explain the animal trails.

After reaching Raptor Peak, 2040 m, we continued up the ridge to Spread Eagle Mountain. The ridge began as a scree slope, but higher up we encountered a cliff band. Towards the middle of the slope where there was a shallow gully, the cliff band narrows. It looked promising from a distance, but up close I was rebuffed by overhanging rock. Snow and running water didn't help matters.

Looking for another spot, I hiked along the base to the higher cliff band where I came across a chimney I hadn't noticed before. There were some good steps, although I had to clear snow and debris off them. About 3 or 4 metres below the top of the chimney, however, I decided to turn back. It was steeper here, and the steps were fewer and smaller. This last section is best handled in dry conditions.

At least we managed to tag a minor point. And four years later, we returned to climb Spread Eagle Mountain using a west approach.

KML and GPX Tracks


Our approximate route to Raptor Peak


We broke out into the open for short distance before heading back into the trees


Following an old road


On the road to the knob. The road makes a sharp right here.


Hiking up the knob


We finally got a good look of our objective


Scrambling up the colourful rocks on the lower slope


Looking back


I tried five weaknesses in the low cliff band, but the chimney on the left seemed best


Here I tried getting up the second weakness...


...but the overhanging rock stopped me


A look at the cliff band: the chimney is at the 11:00 o'clock position from Dinah.


Dinah waited at the bottom while I searched for a way up


Typical of the rock we scrambled up


Starting up the chimney


Side view of the chimney


Heading back after being rebuffed


Pick a colour, any colour, and you'll likely find it on this mountain!


82/G1 Sage Creek

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