Canyon Creek Loop
After my fiasco five days ago I returned to Upper Canyon Creek, along with Dinah and Caroline, to bag the peak I missed. In fact I wanted to climb three peaks: GR427439, GR412443, and GR409435 in that order. The third and highest peak is the one I had failed to do.
The morning started with intermittent showers as we headed up Upper Canyon Creek. After taking the two right forks we reached the valley that the three peaks ring. A short hike up the creekbed brought us to the open slopes that led to the ridge. From there it was a pleasant ridge walk to the first peak.
The showers stopped but it was cold and windy. I was concerned about the wind. To reach the second peak from the first entails a moderate but exposed scramble on slabs (see report). I doubted that Dinah and Caroline would want to try it in windy conditions so I decided it was best not to attempt the second peak: to turn back at the slabs would mean dropping down nearly to the valley bottom.
After leaving the first peak, we hiked down the ridge a short ways before leaving it. I soon realized I erred, my memory fuzzy after five years when I was there last. At one point it's necessary to leave the ridge but we left it too soon. Unfortunately, there is literally no middle ground: missing the high route, we had to drop all the way down to the valley bottom losing nearly 300 m. But given that we weren't going to try the second peak, it probably didn't matter.
After taking a break at the bottom we set off for the third peak. We soon spied a figure above us on the col between the second and third peaks, heading to the third peak. As we ascended the gully that lead to the col, we followed his progress up and down the third peak. When we reached the col we ran into him.
It was Rod McAlister. Although I never met him before, I had seen his name on the RMB forum. Likewise, he was acquainted with Dinah and I. Rod, who had climbed Tiara Peak via the chimney from the north (Belmore Browne) side, was inspired from the Tiara Peak messages on the forum to try the peak from the south. He managed to reach the rock buttress between Tiara Peak and the second peak before turning back and climbing the third peak.
After a short chat, we went our separate ways. We headed up the third peak while Rod hiked back to the second peak. He had parked near the Belmore Browne trailhead.
The ascent of the third peak was mostly a hike. Only near the top where it steepened did it become an easy scramble. We spent several minutes on the summit admiring the mountain scenery before we started getting cold. Looking down the south side, the scree run looked too inviting to turn our backs to. (This is the route in the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide.) It's the best scree run I've come across; I lost nearly 350 m. in ten minutes. I would hate to hike up it!
The rest of the hike back on the creekbed was all too familiar for me, but it offered new sights for Dinah and Caroline.
I was disappointed not to do all three peaks, but I look forward to returning some day and completing the three-peak circuit. It's rare to find a ridge walk that follows a loop and offers a variety of interesting terrain and scenery!
Setting off up the creek flats, the first peak is on the right.
Entering the second fork, we'll ascend the bare slopes in the distance.
On the ascent, the third peak in the background
Reaching the ridge leading to the first peak
Easy hiking along the ridge to the first peak. Blackrock Mountain stands alone on the
Leaving the first peak, the third and second peaks ahead
Recently we had climbed Belmore Browne (right) and the two peaks (left of centre).
Dropping down from the ridge we come across the huge, bizarre rocks
Ascending the gully to the third peak
The third peak lies ahead
Rod on the col between the second and third peaks
View of the first peak as we ascend the third peak
Almost at the col
At the col we meet Rod. Tiara Peak is in the centre. Rod reached the rock buttress
above Dinah's shoulder.
Looking down from just below the summit.
Relaxing on the summit. Tiara Peak on the right.
Mount Bryant and the tarn
Mount Lougheed looking sharp!
Before reaching the bottom of the scree gully (left) we cut across to another scree slope.
View of the third peak (right) from the creekbed
82 J/15 Bragg Creek