This was an ugly trip. Recent heavy precipitation produced several problems. First, several inches of fresh snow at higher elevations forced us 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 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!
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 pass a side drainage. We climbed left of the waterfall to get to
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 ridge
At the summit cairn
82 H/4 Waterton Lakes
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