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The Fortress and Gusty Peak
Kananaskis, Alberta
October 9, 2004

Dinah and I decided to climb The Fortress and Gusty Peak in one shot. The ascent up The Fortress was worthwhile and straightforward, and we had no problems. But Gusty Peak was a 540 m slog up miserable scree, made worse by a blinding snowstorm.

I had heard of parties turned back on Gusty because they were unable to find their way up even in good weather. So as we climbed above the valley on our way to The Fortress, I carefully noted Gusty's route from the basin. It was especially helpful since after summiting The Fortress, visibility was reduced to a few dozen metres: we ascended Gusty in a whiteout. It took nearly two hours to climb from the basin to the summit of Gusty Peak; snow-covered rocks and blowing snow slowed our progress.

Views on both summits were obscured so panoramas weren't possible.

KML Track

MOVIE (posted on YouTube)

Hiking to Chester Lake

Gusty Peak and The Fortress ahead

Leaving Chester Lake behind

The Fortress is hidden in clouds. On the way back, this valley would be blanketed under snow (mouse over).

Ascending the Chester-Fortress col

Looking up after reaching the col

The weather turned ugly

It's just a hike from the col to The Fortress summit block

Some scrambling just before the summit

On the summit of The Fortress

Visibility was extremely poor when we started up Gusty so I was counting on my earlier observation of the ascent route on our way up The Fortress

We couldn't see much so we hoped we were on track

Slogging up the endless scree on Gusty Peak

Almost on the summit of Gusty Peak

Dinah stands on the summit

Starting down

Heading down the scree from Gusty Peak

Back in the valley below The Fortress

Looking back at The Fortress

Hiking back down the valley

Last look at The Fortress

82 J/14 Spray Lakes

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