Eagle Mountain (attempt)
(Unofficial local name, formerly known as Mount Roche according to peakfinder.com)
Castle Wilderness, Alberta
I made this trip twice. The first time I was turned back because of
fresh snow so I returned with Dinah two days later and managed to climb
a bit higher.
We parked at the bridge over Spionkop Creek on Yarrow Road and headed up the wooded slope
but soon came across a good animal trail. The trail followed the ridge above
the creek and crossed two side creeks before climbing. Eventually
it met up with a 4WD road that took us to the knob.
Along the way I was amazed by the profusion of flowers, especially
glacier lilies, kittentails, shooting stars and prairie crocuses. I also
saw deer which may explain the animal trails.
We hiked over the knob and started up Spread Eagle Mountain. Along the
ridge we did some scrambling but the open slope was scree. Towards
the middle of the slope, where there was a shallow gully, the cliff band
It looked promising from a distance, but up close I was rebuffed by overhanging
rock. Snow and running water didn't help matters.
When I hiked along the base to the higher cliff band 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
the steps were fewer and smaller. This last section is best handled in
A side note
about this trip: On my first trip up Spread Eagle Mountain I lost my camera!
make the discovery until I had returned to my car. I suppose in a moment
of neglect I didn't zip the case properly, although it's a mystery how
it could have come out of my case without me knowing about it.
I last used my camera about a kilometre back. I wasn't too concerned
as I could retrace my steps using my GPS receiver. The last kilometre
was mostly a crude animal trail but at times I was forced to bushwhack.
If I had dropped it on the trail I would have not trouble finding it.
I was concerned, though, that I dropped it while bushwhacking. GPS receivers
are accurate to 6 or 8 metres, enough for me to pass by it in the undergrowth.
I set off with high hopes, but after following my track log to the point
where I had last used it and returning to my car, I came up empty handed.
Discouraged, I drove home.
Two days later I returned to try Spread Eagle Mountain again (the above
article). I wanted to retrace my steps again but I had downloaded my
track log wrong. I could only guess where I had traveled when I lost
my camera. It was another fruitless search.
Two days later, I decided to dedicate a day of walking up and down my
route in hopes of finding it. I didn't think it was possible but I had
to give it a try!
This time armed with the track log, I had no trouble retracing my
steps to the point where I had last used my camera. I didn’t
find it, so I started retracing the route back to my car. But
about 100 m from my
car and only 15 m from the road I found it!
I was overjoyed! But the question remained, would it work? It had rained
a lot in the last four days. The camera was dripping wet.
I knew it was important to let the camera dry: a short circuit could
render it useless. I opened all the little compartments and let it
sit for two days. Then I tried it. It worked! And the photos in the
card were fine. I'll be more careful with packing my camera in the future!