Mount Whyte

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Banff National Park  1 Response »
Oct 242008
Mount Whyte The route follows the ridge then to the left and up

Mount Whyte The route follows the ridge then to the left and up

Mount Whyte lies just to the south of Mount Niblock and is a more demanding scramble.

I set off for Mount Whyte after scrambling up Mount Niblock and was greeted by some of the best scrambling I’ve ever encountered.

Mount Aberdeen with Mount Temple behind

Mount Aberdeen with Mount Temple behind

Although the route is rated as difficult in Alan Kane’s book “Scrambling in the Canadian Rockies” this is so only if you end up off route. The route finding is fun but route finding is not everyone’s bag. Personally I find it rewarding to find the weakness. One of my sayings is “Find the weakness in the mountain or the mountain will find the weakness in you.”. How true! This proverb could be used in other situations in life too, but should only be applied to objects.

The last few meters to the summit are sharply crested, but by that time you’ve had a good warm-up for such terrain. If you like mountain photography, don’t miss the opportunity to snap a few shots that illustrate the way people and the mountain interact. I like to show someone climbing a difficult section if I can.

The descent route, the steep grassy ledges are visible near the bottom

The descent route, the steep grassy ledges are visible near the bottom

Kane’s explanation of how to descend the alternate route to the south has changed in his new book, so if you have the old one beware. I ended up with more that I bargained for, especially near the bottom where difficult and dangerously steep and slippery, grassy ledges had to be dealt with. I circumvented them by detouring constantly left, but I still found myself clinging to narrow down sloping vegetated ledges by just a twig at times. Not optimal conditions. Kane now emphasizes going to the west further, before descending.



Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring.

Richard Baxter
1615-1691, British Nonconformist Theologian

s soon as there is life there is danger.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist

Mount Swansea

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Columbia Valley  4 Responses »
Oct 242008
Mount Swansea

Mount Swansea

This peak is included in my list as one of my only cycling summits. You can’t ride all the way to the summit, you have to hike up the last 100m or so.

I normally go out to Invermere every May and start my mountain biking season with a ride up this 700 meter vertical road that is stretched out over 5k. It seems to get more traffic now than in previous years and is dusty at times, but I’ll go back when the new bike is ready and look up a few friends while I’m there.

Although it’s not as long as the 16km Paradise Mine road across from the Panorama Ski Hill, the grade makes it fairly grueling. I’ve only cycled up it nonstop once. Other times have seen me put a foot down for a break or simply because I lost balance.

I must mention my trusty MTB’s, so here are some photo’s of those.

My S Works replacement frame (M4), it has a smoother ride with a stiffer rear triangle for climbing. It’s a roomier fit for me too. I can really charge on this one. Specialized is a snooty organization, but they make incredible metal matrix frames

This is where my head is when I’m on my MTB.

This is where my head is when I’m on my MTB.

Below are some picture of my old mountain biking buddy Earl Woodward and just some of the people he lived with while he was in Invermere B.C.

It’s too bad he doesn’t live out there anymore, those were the best days of my life, so far. He had some great friends, and great parties. I also love mountain biking; I liken it to terrestrial flying!

The photo below is of Earl and I in the middle of one of our many MTB trips around the Invermere area. Between us are Jim and Yves.

The gang at the REDDI MART in Invermere B.C. where Yves worked. This would be the summer of 1993 or 1994 L-R is Earl, Jim, Yves, and Me (my nickname was Mr. Swansea) PS Jim Kebe !! I’ll call soon. Take care brother.

The gang at the REDDI MART in Invermere B.C. where Yves worked.
This would be the summer of 1993 or 1994
L-R is Earl, Jim, Yves, and Me (my nickname was Mr. Swansea)
PS Jim Kebe !!
I’ll call soon.
Take care brother.

Tragically Yves took his own life a short time after this photo was taken. None of us could tell that he was in pain and was hurting. He always had a gentle laugh, seemed to be busy getting a tan, and had visits from friends. I’ve heard it said that men don’t have nearly the capacity for love that a woman has. All I can say about that notion is, people don’t kill themselves because they have no feelings or are made of stone.

en’s men: gentle or simple, they’re much of a muchness.

George Eliot
1819-1880, British Novelist

our lost friends are not dead, but gone before, advanced a stage or two upon that road which you must travel in the steps they trod.

BC 448-380, Greek Comic Poet, Satirist

Mount Niblock

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Banff National Park  No Responses »
Oct 242008

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A few years have passed since this outing, but the events of the day, like all great days, are still with me, despite time. Bagged two peaks on this particular outing and I was a little bagged too, but not like you might think.

The day started at the Lake Louise parking lot, and before I got under way I took a photo of the pair of peaks together.

First I hiked along with vast hordes to the Lake Agnes tea house. There, we observed the usual feeding of engorged and obese members of order Rodentia. Then we marched away from the crowds along the north shore of the lake to the far end where last water was had.

The far end of Lake Agnes

The far end of Lake Agnes

Then the scrambling started. No snow remained on the talus below the first rock band so it was easy to reach it. We climbed up through the band, and I scrambled a different way than my partner for the day, and in my scramble lust didn’t look where I was going. Before I new it, I was out on a steep cement like agglomeration of glacial debris that had
rounded boulders embedded loosely on the surface.

Stubbornly I continued to grovel up the slope till it happened; several large rocks, some perhaps as big as a head, rolled down and bounced violently trough the narrow gap I had just penetrated.

I freaked out!….
ROCK! ROCK! ROCK! ROCK! …. I bellowed at the top of my lungs, almost coughing up one in the process.

I was really worried about the nice folks that we had just been talking to. No response came back.

I finished off my gravel grovel and topped out to the comment; That was a pleasant scramble.

Uh huh !

After all that, we traipsed across flats to the next part of the process, a long gully. Kane’s usual thin line in his book suggest that the proper way is straight up a prominent gully, or to the side of it. Our route was further to the right.

Once on the ridge below the summit block I stopped for lunch and joined a Catalonian couple on vacation from Europe. They were older than me, but I took from Lake Agnes to “reel them in”. These people are of the type that I want to become, old and fit.

I refused an offer of nuts, content to talk, with a disgustingly thick peanut butter and honey on brown bread sandwich glued to my tongue.

After that, I continued to the summit. The Catalonian woman passed on an offer from me to join us over the last bit to the summit. Her husband had just took off; somehow I guess he just knew she wasn’t into it. She was however very impressed with Canada’s Mountains. “The Alps are taller, but these mountains are so BIG” she said.

Next I traversed over to Mount Whyte

expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

William Penn
1644-1718, British Religious Leader, Founder of Pennsylvania