bobspirko.ca  |  Home  |  Canada Trips  |  US Trips  |  Hiking  |  Snowshoeing  |  About

Oyster Peak
Skoki, Banff National Park, Alberta
July 27
, 2007

We might have enjoyed the endless scrambling on Oyster Peak if the heat and the long backpacking approach hadn't fatigued us. Fortunately the views made it worth the effort.

The trip started well when we got a ride partway up the road from Fish Creek Parking, knocking off perhaps half an hour of our time to reach Baker Lake. The hike to the lake was uneventful but the mountain vistas were inspiring. It was warm on the trail but when we dropped down to Baker Lake, the heat suddenly turned up and Dinah began having trouble with the rise in temperature.

After reaching the campsite at the east end of the lake we quickly set up camp and set off for Oyster Peak.

After a few minutes of hiking, we broke free of the trees to see Oyster Peak. We soon left the trail and headed to the base of the South Peak. After some easy bushwhacking we reached the bottom of the ascent ridge. From there, it appeared to be a quick trip up, but we soon realized the view was foreshortened and the ascent took awhile.

We started up loose rock near the bottom, but it gave way to slabs near the top. After spending a few minutes on the south summit (both peaks have a register) we headed for the north summit. We were hot and wayworn so we looked forward to a ridgewalk to the north peak. No such luck! We had to slowly work our way along most of the ridge.

The climb up the last several metres to the North Peak was much more difficult than the South Peak. Of our six-hour trip, we spent about half an hour in all on the summits. We took a different route for the descent from the North Peak but it was no easier. I think it rates a difficult scramble.

The descent down the west slope to the bottom was neither fast nor enjoyable. We worked our way around slabs and down loose rock until we reached Cotton Grass Pass, and then followed the trail back to the campsite.

We arrived at our camp at 8:30 and were greeted by swarms of mosquitoes. We cooked dinner while other parties, having long since dined, were getting ready to retire. When we did retire, it was a long time before we could fall asleep because of the heat. (The next morning we learned some campers were kept awake for an hour or two by porcupines mating nearby. Fortunately we were far away enough not to hear them.) With Oyster Peak behind us, we would wake up the next day to ascend Skoki Mountain.

MOVIE (posted on YouTube)
Baker Lake KML Track
Oyster Peak KML Track


Hiking up the trail, Mount Temple in the background


Marmot at Boulder Pass


Mount Redoubt and Ptarmigan Lake (click for a larger image)


Brachiopod and Anthozoan Mountain


We lost over 100 m when we dropped down to Baker Lake


Loons on Baker Lake


After setting up our tent at Baker Lake we headed to Oyster Peak


Bushwhacking is mostly light to the base of the mountain


Purple onion


We made our way to the ridge on the left


Oyster Lake surrounded by unnamed peaks


Skoki Mountain


Looking back towards Mounts Anthozoan and Brachiopod, and Baker Lake


Red Deer Lakes and Cyclone Mountain in the background


View from the South Peak. Baker Lake and Fossil Mountain are right of centre.


Leaving the South Peak and heading to the North Peak


Some interesting scrambling along the ridge


North Peak ahead


The North Peak offers more resistance than the South Peak


Almost at the top, looking back along the ridge


On the summit


Descending the ridge was no fun at all, all loose rock and slabs


Heading down to Cotton Grass Pass


Easier terrain as we reached the bottom. The summit can be seen on the left.


Nearly full moon seen from the campsite


Porcupine a few metres from our tent


82 N/8 Lake Louise


82 N/8 Lake Louise and 82 N/9 Hector Lake

Kane | Canada | Home