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Maze Peak
Ya Ha Tinda, Alberta
July 1, 2011

Distance: 8.5 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 970 m

I wish there were more mountains like Maze Peak. A mountain that dispenses with an approach and quickly hoists you onto a ridge with wonderful vistas. Then while continually climbing with twists and turns – not to mention surprises around each corner – it propels you to the summit.

From Sundre, it took us an hour to drive to the trailhead, including a 38 km stretch on a well-maintained gravel road. The Rocky Mountain Ramblers, whose web page gave me the idea of climbing Maze Peak, ascended a drainage, but we chose to start up the sparsely treed west slope. We parked near the end of the southwest ridge and started hiking. We soon broke out of the trees onto a slope of broken shale that clattered like dinner plates under our boots. 35 minutes after starting out, we gained the ridge crest.

We followed the ridge. Because of the terrain, we were limited to viewing short sections at a time. It kept us guessing what lay ahead, until, that is, we came to a spur west of the summit. Here the beautiful pyramid shape of Maze Peak rose above us. We dropped down to a saddle and started up. We stayed close to the ridgeline, scrambling here and there, and in a short time arrived on the summit.

After spending several minutes on the summit taking photos and signing the summit register, we started back. At the base of the spur, looking for a reason to extend our stay on the mountain, we decided to ascend the west outlier. The modest effort was worth reaching another vantage point to take in the splendid scenery before we retraced our steps back to the car.

KML and GPX Tracks
Sonny's Trip Report

Soon after starting out, we could make out the ridge we wish to gain

I went directly to the ridge hoping the low cliffs would offer solid footing. Instead loose shale over steep rock made travel miserable (mouse over)

Sonny and Dinah kept right and undoubtedly found the going easier

After gaining the ridge and hiking along it for a short way, we saw the summit (left)

We followed the southwest ridge to the west spur

Looking back along the ridge, Mount Minos rises above the Red Deer River

Steep climb ahead

This was one of the longest and steepest sections we ascended

We found an incredible rift on the ridge. The spur can be seen on the skyline on the right.

Looking back along the rift

Above the rift, we scrambled up a knob

At the top, Sonny paused to look around

Looking back at Sonny and Dinah

Hiking to the spur

From the spur we headed to the summit

A buttress of dark rock juts out from the summit ridge

Looking back. On the return trip we visited the west outlier behind us.

Mountains behind us include Warden Rock (mouse over)

Going up the buttress

Sonny and I scrambled up the buttress while Dinah hiked around it

Sonny climbing up the buttress. Behind (bottom to top) are our ascent ridge,
Labyrinth Mountain, unnamed ridge and Barrier Mountain (mouse over).

Sonny standing on the buttress

Just before the summit, Dinah watches Sonny downclimb (mouse over)

On the summit

Dormer Mountain lies southwest

Looking back as Sonny comes down from the summit

Sonny walked down slabs on the ridge crest

Heading to the west outlier. Mouse over to look back.

Some scrambling along the way

Sonny scrambles up. Maze Peak on the left.

Looking north: Eagle Lake and "Eagle Lake Peak"

Panorama from the outlier

Last look at the spur as we took a shortcut under the spur

82 O/11 Burnt Timber Creek

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