Oyster Peak
Skoki, 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 make 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 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 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 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, long since eaten, 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 head 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 and unnamed peaks

Skoki Mountain

Looking back towards Mounts Anthozoan and Brachiopod, and Baker Lake

Red Deer Lakes and Cyclone Mountain

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

The North Peak offers more resistance than the South Peak

Almost at the top, looking back along the ridge

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Celebrating 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 reach the bottom. The summit can be seen on the left.

A porcupine a few metres from our tent, taken with a flash

Nearly full moon seen from the campsite

Baker Lake, one way (Gem Trek Map of Lake Louise and Yoho)

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