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Hassel Castle, South Col
Kananaskis, Alberta
March 12, 2005

With fresh snow and more snow in the forecast it didn't look promising for a day of scrambling in the mountains. My choice of trips made it even less promising: a valley off of Jura Creek appears too rugged for scrambling but the only way to find out was go there and see. Given the terrain, snow, and bad weather I expected we would be forced to turn back before getting far.

After hiking up Jura Creek for two hours we headed up the valley. It was snowing lightly so visibility was poor. After traveling a short ways up the valley, we could see that the left slope could be ascended along the base of a cliff. It turned out to be steeper than it appeared and there was plenty of scree to endure, but eventually we found ourselves on a col between two unnamed peaks south of Hassel Castle. We continued along the ridge-like col until we were forced to turn back because of a drop-off. On the way back, we found some good scree that quickly took us to the valley bottom.

Although we didn't reach a summit, at least we had the satisfaction of reaching a col that offered some views. Indeed, I'm sure it is the only high point that could be reached from the valley.


Going up the false fault on Jura Creek


Entering the side valley from Jura Creek


The valley looked dreary covered snow and under a leaden sky


We headed up the left side, along the base of a cliff


The snowfall had a surreal effect on the landscape


It's a long climb; note the valley down below


Near the end, the grade steepens


On the ridge, an impressive buttress towers above us


The scenery opened up and we followed the ridge as far as we could


Hassel Castle appears on our left


Negotiating the ridge


This is as far as we got. Note the vertiginous terrain ahead!


Returning to the base of cliff


Back at the buttress. Everywhere, the rock looked impossible to scramble up.


Heading back down to the valley


On the valley floor looking up at the base of the cliff we followed


Examining some shallow caves near the entrance of the valley


82 J/10 Canmore

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