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

Mount Crandell
Waterton, Alberta
June 10, 2005

Mount Crandell was an ugly trip. Recent heavy precipitation produced a few problems. First, several inches of fresh snow at higher elevations forced Dinah and I to use the easiest route rather than attempt the exposed scrambling route. This meant ascending and descending the route normally used for the descent.

Within minutes of starting we had to cross a creek, but were stymied by high water levels. We spent an hour searching for a place where we could use rocks and logs to cross. Eventually we made it up the drainage to the promontory. The usual route from here called for staying below the ridge and angling to the end of the basin. But fresh snow made the grassy slopes too slippery to negotiate, so we headed to the ridge crest. Although it took us farther away from the summit, travel was much easier.

At first we enjoyed the bare rock on the ridge but as we approached the summit, it became treed and snow-covered. Soon we were post-holing knee-deep in snow. Moving at the speed of a turtle we ascended the final 250 vertical metres in deep snow. For the most part, we sank up to our knees, but often we found ourselves waist-deep in snow. Eventually we reached the bare rock on the summit.

The return trip was not much quicker. Retracing our steps in the snow, we merely sank deeper. When we reached the end of the basin we decided not to climb back up on the ridge. Following the book's description, we angled along the slopes but it was slow-going because it was slippery. Eventually we made it down to the drainage. Since we didn't care about getting our boots wet – they were soaked from post-holing – we forded the creek where the water wasn't flowing too briskly.

We'll return some day when it's dry and ascend via Bear's Hump or Tick Ridge!

KML Track


Snow-topped Mount Crandell seen from the road


Starting up the trail


Sofa Mountain and Vimy Peak set the background


Prickly Rose, floral emblem of Alberta


After heading up the creek we passed a side drainage. We climbed left of the waterfall to get to the promontory


Heading up from the promontory (light gray bump on the bottom right)


Since the slopes were slippery with snow, we got on the ridge. The summit is in the background.

The views from the ridge where better than partway down the slope


We reached the snow line


In some places, we could barely move because of deep snow


What the heck is this?


Post-holing through larch trees below the summit


On the summit ridge


At the summit cairn


Heading back down


82 H/4 Waterton Lakes

Kane | Canada | Home