We ascended Buchanan Peak from the townsite via the south ridge, the descent route in the Scrambles book. Despite being a minor peak, this approach to Buchanan held some interesting scrambling, but nothing more than moderate in nature.
From the townsite we hiked up the Carthew-Alderson trail and reached Alderson Lake in about two hours. A few minutes later the trees thinned so we could look for an ascent route. We stayed on the trail until just before a waterfall. After we left the trail and dropped down, we stepped across the stream that flows below the falls. Hiking up the other side of the drainage we soon encountered dense forest. After a short but brutal bushwhack we appeared on a scree slope that led to a shoulder on the ridge.
The shoulder ended in a crumbling cliff band comprising huge boulders. On close inspection we realized it would present no problem. Indeed, we could pretty well ascend wherever we wished. Fascinated with the boulders, we sought out an interesting route through them. Afterwards we emerged on a broad scree slope, featureless except for a few fissures. From there it was a plod to the summit.
From the summit we followed the northwest ridge towards the unnamed peak on Buchanan Ridge. We soon ran into exposed and down-sloping rock so we returned to Buchanan Peak. Belatedly, we read the descent description only to realize we should have dropped below the ridge. We considered going back and trying it but we were both tired of the Waterton wind that was making our stay on the ridge miserable. We returned the same way.It took us 3:50 to ascend Buchanan Peak and 2:40 to descend. Not included on the map is the hour we spent on our attempt up the unnamed peak.
View from the trail to Buchanan Peak (centre) and the unnamed peak
Lower ridge of Buchanan Peak
Crossing below the waterfall
Hiking up the lower slopes with Mount Carthew in the background
The shoulder partly hides Alderson Lake
View of the ridge from the shoulder
Working our way up through the boulders
Lots of places to scramble up (mouse over for the view up)
Carthew Lakes in the background
Standing on a chockstone in a large fissure
View looking back from the chockstone
On the summit
Starting up the unnamed peak
View of Buchanan Peak from partway up the unnamed peak
Heading back down the scree
Dinah emerges from a short tunnel through the boulders
Coming down the scramble section. Carthew-Alderson trail below.
Heading back to the trail
82 H/4 Waterton Lakes
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