Big Sister

 Posted by on July 26, 2001  Kananaskis Provincial Park  Add comments
Jul 262001

This is the highest of the group of peaks known as The Three Sisters. This set of peaks are photographed often and appear in paintings for sale in just about every tourist shop in the Banff/Canmore area and beyond. They have even appeared in a movie or two.

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters – Faith Hope and Charity

In “The Edge” with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, Big Sister appears behind Baldwin as his character Robert Green models the bear skin coat that he has fashioned at their camp (near a spot known as “Old Camp” on the Bow River) after having slain the rogue bruin.

July 26 2001

We three set out for the summit on a nice summer day and found the climb/scramble difficult for a moderate; at least I did.

On the way up we talked. I mentioned to my scrambling companions that day I wanted to be an Astronomer when I was younger. I chose instead Engineering on the advice of one of my brothers and never finished having gone wild about half way through. Whether a goal should be altruistic or idealistic is one to be debated. I guess one has to weigh the pros and cons. In hindsight my pro is serendipity, my con is, well, the usual mumbo-jumbo.

The route to the top is not ever that hard, just a sustained moderate. Along the way are a few steep down climbs. The second down climb is larger and steeper than the first. Next after that is a section that Kane describes as a no-go if snowy. It was dry except for a few stubborn snow patches and as not a problem.

Over the last 100 meters or so, I found my self below a very large boulder, about 2-300 Lbs. just teetering on the slope. I attempted to jamb a rock or two under it, but was unsuccessful.

The boulder would have rolled across and away from the line of accent, so was only a bit of a hazard to anyone coming up from below, but large boulders concern me. I’ve loosened a few and one time I almost killed some people so heed my words; TAKE CARE, rock fall is the number one killer.

So if you see a pile of loose rocks, DON’T step on it.

This is a summit I’d be willing go back to. Next time would probably be alone, with my bivi sac, tripod, camera and a stove.

I would like to spend the night there when the moon is full and wind is low.

But I doubt I’ll ever get there.

Big Sister (Banff) Panorama

Big Sister (Banff) Panorama

Note for Nov 2 2003

I was browsing the web and I found another Big Sister site. It’s at James Borthwick’s website. Here are a couple of cautionary pictures from James’s site.

People have a natural tendency to flee to the mountains when things get tough.

Stuart Briscoe

I believe a man is born first unto himself –for the happy developing of himself, while the world is a nursery, and the pretty things are to be snatched for, and pleasant things tasted; some people seem to exist thus right to the end. But most are born again on entering manhood; then they are born to humanity, to a consciousness of all the laughing, and the never-ceasing murmur of pain and sorrow that comes from the terrible multitudes of brothers.

D. H. Lawrence
1885-1930, British Author

A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself. Only then does he discover all the latent strengths he never knew he had and which otherwise would have remained dormant.

Richard M. Nixon
1913-1994, Thirty-seventh President of the USA

Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

Richard M. Nixon
1913-1994, Thirty-seventh President of the USA