Rimwall Summit

 Posted by on October 22, 2008  Kananaskis Provincial Park  1 Response »
Oct 222008

Sunday September 28th 2003

On the Rim of Rimwall Summit

After having enjoyed a smokeless peak the other day on Gap Peak, I awoke this morning with the idea to get out to Rimwall Summit.

After 21k of gravel road I was at the base of the mountain. It starts at the trial that goes to West Wind Pass.

Once under way I was moving fast up the trail. I started a bit late as usual and didn’t have my watch today but left Calgary around 11:00 AM and so was probably under way about 1:00 PM.

The air was cool to begin with so although the sun was out the sweating didn’t get too bad.

I felt like I had good power.

The trail split and the upper branch took me to slabs that I was forced to climb. This eventually took me to the first wall to overcome. As luck would have it I was right at the bottom of the wall where it’s easy to just walk around.

After some traversing I found myself wondering which way to go. I didn’t take Alan Kane’s guide book with me and was trying to remember what the picture looked like. I remembered him saying to resist the urge to gain altitude so I opted to climb directly the next rock wall by way of a weakness directly across the slope from me.

That went OK, just a bit steep to start but no problem.

Then I was out on the final slopes to the summit. These slopes are excellent firm scree. This scramble was shaping up to be a great one. I was concerned abut Kane’s “wall” near the summit though.

Once I was near the top I easily overcame a couple of short rock steps without the need to traverse out over the wall but even if I had to, the wall is back from the final slope to the summit. It would be dangerous if snow were present though.

Once on the summit I was surprised to find that the wind that had pestered me occasionally on the way up was gone. Hummm???

I just sat there.

What a peaceful place. The clouds started to move in and swirl around me and the crows enjoyed cruising above me. I could hear a dog barking somewhere below. That dog was a long way away.

7 MB MPG movie
“On The Rim”

The scrambling down was good, I decided to bypass the cliff I climbed and kept going down the ridge until the cliff gave way as they usually do. This one did.

Then I traversed back to the trail to Wind Pass, then hiked out to the car. I caught up to some folks and asked what time it was. They said it was about 5:00 PM. I made good time.

I was alone the whole day but had a solid scramble and a good workout. I recommend this scramble to scramblers. If you’re a hiker, get help for the route finding.

Rimwall Summit Panorama

Rimwall Summit Panorama

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes. By the deep sea, and music in its roars; I love not man the less, but nature more.

George Gordon

The Whistlers

 Posted by on September 6, 2006  Jasper National Park  No Responses »
Sep 062006

The Jasper Tram

Wednesday September 6th 2006

The Whistlers is a minor summit near the town site of Jasper Alberta,

The Whistlers This is not the true summit but a false summit that the Tram upper terminal sits on.

The Whistlers This is not the true summit but a false summit that the Tram upper terminal sits on.

To get to The Whistlers summit is either a fairly good hike or you also have the option of flying up a good deal of the way to the summit on the Jasper Tram.

The Jasper Tram is not like the usual Chairlift or Gondola. When I examined it I noticed a few differences. First and most interesting is rather than the usual multiple towers to support the weight of the cable and cars, there is only one tower. The lone tower lies just short of the half-way point up the mountain.

Take a trip on the Jasper Sky Tram!
The Sky Tram
lower building

The Jasper Tram is also bi-directional. This means rather than the usual circular loop that multiple gondolas-chairs take, the two cars go back and forth up and down the mountain. They ride on a stationary cable and are towed by a smaller one inch cable.

The trips are referred to as flights. Because of the great distance between the terminals and the lone tower, the distance off the ground is more than the usual height of a chairlift.

“The Whistlers” is apparently named after the Hoary Marmot although my own guess would have been the Pika. I did not see either species of rodent on the upper peak. I did see two Ptarmigans though.

Panorama of the Victoria Cross Range to the north of the Whistlers. The Whistlers are at the northern most tip of the Trident Range.

Panorama of the Victoria Cross Range to the north of the Whistlers. The Whistlers are at the northern most tip of the Trident Range.

I took a few photos of the surrounding peaks at the summit and then got back down. Cindy was feeling unusually vertiginous this particular day and decided to hang back down the trail.

The Whistlers Panorama

The Whistlers Panorama

lowly, but very deliberately, the brooding edifice of seduction, creaking and incongruous, came into being, a vast Heath Robinson mechanism, dually controlled by them and lumbering gloomily down vistas of triteness. With a sort of heavy-fisted dexterity the mutually adapted emotions of each of them became synchronized, until the unavoidable anti-climax was at hand.

Anthony Powell
1905-2000, British Novelist

The Whistlers Gallery


Van Morrison

Jul 212006
Grizzly Peak – Canadian Rockies

July 21 2006

Grizzly Peak is my first new scramble for 2006, five years and a day since I scrambled Cascade Mountain. Mark Brisseau was on vacation from Ontario and gave me a call. Mark scrambled with me once back on July 4th 2001 when I scrambled Paget Peak.

Back in 2001

Mark Brisseau on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Mark Brisseau on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Me on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Me on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Grizzly Peak is located in Kananaskis Provincial Park. I had thought of doing Mount Norquay but decided on an easy scramble with limited vertical gain to start the season out. Grizzly Peak is about 800 meters vertical and has a summit altitude of 2500 meters.

The trail starts next to a small creek about 4km south of the Fortress Mountain ski hill turn off. It climbs rapidly for the first half hour or so, then you climb a small ledge and start to contour around the south side of the mountain. The ledge constitutes the crux and is the only real scrambling. After about 30 minutes of traversing the trail reaches grassy slopes an the south east aspect of the mountain and you have to find your way up through grasses and the occasional scree gully. A col is reached after scrambling up through a coal-shale seam.

Once at the col you’ll probably want to have a break and enjoy the scenery. A plateau of meadows will give you the opportunity to spot wild-life. We identified some sheep and a coyote.

From there it’s about 15 minutes to the summit.

On the way to the summit mark spotted the lone larch. This Larch is mentioned in Alan Kane’s “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”.

Summit views of the Kananaskis Valley are fantastic. On July 21st the summit temperature was about 70 degrees and only a gentle breeze was blowing.

Forward to 2006

Mark Brisseau on the Summit of Grizzly Peak

Mark Brisseau on the Summit of Grizzly Peak

Tim Helmer Summits Grizzly Peak (that's me)

Tim Helmer Summits Grizzly Peak (that’s me)

Mark and I sat on the grassy summit and chatted for about 45 minutes before deciding to go down.

Here are some before and after pictures. As I said, Mark was on a scramble up Paget Peak with me five years ago.

On the way back down our feet were treated to a beating and on the lower slopes the temperature was sometimes very hot.

Mark and I will probably go scrambling again soon, the next time he passes through town.

Mark and I on the summit of Grizzly Peak

Mark and the valley to the north

Mark and the valley to the north

The Kananaskis Lakes

The Kananaskis Lakes


I never worry about action, but only inaction.

Winston Churchill 1874-1965
British Statesman, Prime Minister

Grizzly Peak Gallery (please hit F11; function key 11)