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Jimmy Simpson Jr.
Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta
July 22, 2023
Distance: 7.0 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 849 m

I considered climbing Jimmy Simpson Jr. ever since it appeared in More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. However, the scramble route looked tricky and held little appeal for me. Fortunately, a simpler route that's little more than a steep hike appears on Alltrails. It worked well except for the trail in the trees. On our descent, we found an alternative trail that we preferred.

From the parking lot, Jonathan, Bernadette, Zora and I gazed up at Jimmy Jr. looming above Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. So close, there was no question it would be a short approach. We hiked 550 m along Bow Glacier Falls Trail to the path leading to Jimmy Jr. The rudimentary trail climbs steadily up a steep, wooded slope. Occasionally, we stepped over logs, and where the path was tight, branches poked and scratched us. It wasn't easy to follow, and when we hit extensive deadfall, we were forced to go around. We ended up on a different trail although it led back to the main trail.

Eventually, the trail leaves the forest and crosses a landscape of stunted evergreens bordered by cliffs. We followed the path to a break in the cliffs. After climbing a steep gully, we reached a perch with a grand view of Bow Lake. After viewing the scene, we turned to the broad ridge leading to the summit.

The trail disappeared in the rocks, and we plodded up a steep slope. Partway up, we climbed a short, black rock band. Above the rock band, we found a trail in the scree. Had we swung left before the rock band, we would have caught the trail earlier. We followed the path up a narrow ridge to the summit.

We spent 45 minutes on top, having lunch and snapping photos of glaciers and sharp peaks before heading down. We followed the scree trail until it faded into the broad, lower ridge. To ease our descent, we meandered on the steep sections. Before long, we were retracing our steps back down.

In the trees, however, we took a wrong turn and came down on a different trail, one that paralleled our ascent path. This turned out to be fortuitous as it was a better trail – spacious with little deadfall and easy to follow with reassuring yellow flagging. It ended at the lakeshore trail 150 m from our ascent trail. Jonathan, Bernadette and Zora stopped to soak their feet in the lake, but I returned to the parking lot.

Jimmy Simpson Jr. stands out for its short approach with views that rival bigger peaks on the Icefields Parkway. I suggest using our descent track. Hike 700 m up Bow Glacier Trail and look for a trail with yellow flagging. It's the beginning of a rewarding climb.

KML and GPX Tracks

Zora starts up the trail. Jimmy Simpson Jr. is in the centre with Mount Jimmy Simpson behind .

Jonathan stops to take a photo of Bow Lake

Jonathan's photo

Hiking up the trail to Jimmy Jr.

When deadfall forced us off the main trail, we got on another trail

Back on the main trail, we spotted a cairn on the trail and on the second cliff

The trail leads to the shadowy gully far left

Approaching the gully. Left, Bow Peak appears above Bow Lake.

Looking back. Mount Weed, Mount Silverweed, Silverhorn Mountain and Observation Peak.

Jonathan climbs up the gully

Zora and Bernadette are on their way up

The stunning view above the gully includes Crowfoot North and Crowfoot Mountain in the centre

The summit is seen ahead

We passed the cairn (right) that we spotted earlier. We're about halfway up the mountain now.

Looking back after hiking well up the ridge

The Onion rises above Iceberg Lake. Next to it, Saint Nicholas Peak points to the sky.

Jonathan (centre) climbs a black rock band. Had we skirted left of the band, we would have found the trail in the scree sooner.

Bernadette follows the trail

Looking down at a nearby tarn

The trail leads to a sharp ridge

Jonathan waits for us on the ridge before the summit block

Climbing the summit block

Standing in front of the summit cairn

Heading back down

We took a break after coming down the steep slope

The start of the alternate trail seen from the lakeshore trail. Look for yellow flagging and a dead tree.

A white-crowned sparrow sat in a tree by the lakeshore trail, chirping merrily, indifferent to the steady stream of people passing a few feet away

82 N/9 Hector Lake

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