Sheep Mountain (attempt)
This trip was more of a reconnaissance than an attempt. Basically, we underestimated how long it would take given the amount of daylight we had. Routefinding cost us time and since we didn't want to risk bushwhacking back to the car after nightfall, we decided to abort our attempt and instead took the time to establish a good route. We also climbed an outlier east of our intended destination.
I thought this peak was unnamed but after reading a trip report on the Rocky Mountain Ramblers Association website, I learned it's called Sheep Mountain. It lies east of Coffin Mountain. They used a west approach from the forestry trunk road while we approached it from the east from Saddle Mountain Road. After studying the map, I determined a possible route which included bushwhacking, 4x4 roads and cutlines.
After a bad start, including going up the wrong drainage, things unfolded well. Determined not to make any more errors, we made frequent stops to check our bearings against the map. We were especially fortunate to come across a cutline, not on the map, that saved us a lot of bushwhacking.
After reaching the lower slopes of the outlier, we contoured around them to study a route up Sheep Mountain. Then we climbed the outlier. At 2046 m – 250 m below Sheep Mountain – the summit provided good views of the area.
On the return trip, we diverged slightly to do some exploring to improve our route; we shouldn't be slowed by routefinding when we return to climb Sheep Mountain. Fortunately this area enjoys an extended snow-free season, so we'll be back when the days are longer.
First we needed to climb over this intervening ridge.
From the ridge top: Sheep Mountain is partially hidden by the outlier.
Hiking down a road toward the outlier.
Hiking on what appears to be a maintained road.
This cutline, which we found accidentally, saved us a lot of bushwhacking.
We also stumbled upon this tiny lake which isn't on the map.
After a short steep climb, we'll reach open slopes.
Sheep Mountain lies ahead but we settle for climbing the outlier on our right.
We could have ascended the outlier from here but we forged ahead to study a route up
Impressive cliffs east of Sheep Mountain
Dinah pauses to look at the mountain.
We start ascending the outlier.
Passing by a dead tree
Looking down the slope we ascended
We reach the broad slope below the summit. Horseshoe Ridge is in the background (mouse over).
We make our way to the summit.
On the summit of the outlier
Heading back. Whaleback Ridge on the skyline.
We take advantage of a scree slope to hasten our descent.
Last look at Sheep Mountain and the outlier as we ascend the ridge on the way back.
Panorama from the outlier
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