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Oyster Peak
Skoki, Banff National Park, Alberta
July 27, 2007
Distance from Baker Lake: 10.0 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain from Baker Lake: 702 m

We might have enjoyed the endless scrambling on Oyster Peak if the heat and the 13.3 km backpacking hike to Baker Lake hadn't fatigued us. Fortunately the views made it worth the effort.

The trip started well when we got a ride partway up the road from Fish Creek Parking, knocking off perhaps half an hour of our time to reach Baker Lake. The hike to the lake was uneventful, but the mountain vistas along the way were inspiring. It was warm on the trail, but when we dropped down to Baker Lake, the temperature suddenly rose, and Dinah began having trouble with the heat.

After reaching the campsite at the east end of the lake, we quickly set up camp and set off for Oyster Peak.

After a few minutes of hiking, we broke free of the trees to see Oyster Peak. We soon left the trail and headed to the base of the south peak. After some light bushwhacking, we reached the bottom of the ascent ridge. From there, it appeared to be a quick trip up, but we soon realized the view was foreshortened, and the ascent took awhile.

We started up loose rock near the bottom of the slope, but it gave way to slabs near the top. After spending a few minutes on the south summit (both peaks have a register), we headed for the north summit. We were hot and wayworn, so we looked forward to a ridgewalk to the north peak. No such luck! We had to slowly work our way along most of the rugged ridge. The climb up the last several metres to the north peak was much more difficult than the south peak.

Of our six-hour trip, we spent about half an hour in all on the summits. For the descent from the north peak, we took a different route, but it was no easier. I think it rates a difficult scramble. The way down the west slope to the bottom was neither fast nor enjoyable. We worked our way around slabs and down loose rock until we reached Cotton Grass Pass and followed the trail back to the campsite.

When we arrived at our camp at 8:30, we were greeted by swarms of mosquitoes. We cooked dinner while other parties, having long since dined, were retiring. When we did bed down, it was a long time before we could fall asleep because of the heat. The next morning we learned some campers were kept awake for an hour or two by porcupines mating nearby. Luckily we were far away enough not to hear them.

With Oyster Peak behind us, we would wake up the next day to ascend Skoki Mountain.

Baker Lake KML and GPX Tracks
Oyster Peak KML and GPX Tracks

Hiking up the trail, Mount Temple in the background

Marmot at Boulder Pass

We passed by Ptarmigan Peak

Mount Redoubt and Ptarmigan Lake

Brachiopod and Anthozoan Mountain

We lost over 100 m when we dropped down to Baker Lake

Loons on Baker Lake

After setting up our tent at Baker Lake we headed to Oyster Peak

Bushwhacking is mostly light to the base of the mountain

Purple onion

We made our way to the ridge on the left

Oyster Lake surrounded by unnamed peaks

Skoki Mountain

Looking back towards Mounts Anthozoan and Brachiopod, and Baker Lake

Red Deer Lakes and Cyclone Mountain in the background

View from the south peak. Baker Lake and Fossil Mountain are right of centre.

Leaving the south peak and heading to the north peak

Some interesting scrambling along the ridge

North peak ahead

The north peak offers more resistance than the south peak

Almost at the top, looking back along the ridge

On the summit

Descending the ridge was no fun at all, all loose rock and slabs

Heading down to Cotton Grass Pass

Easier terrain as we reached the bottom. The summit can be seen on the left.

Porcupine a few metres from our tent

82 N/8 Lake Louise

82 N/8 Lake Louise, 82 N/9 Hector Lake

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