Gap Peak

 Posted by on September 26, 2003  Kananaskis Provincial Park  4 Responses »
Sep 262003

Friday September 26th 2003

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My original objective, Banded Peak, is a long day. I was laying in bed, healing/sleeping when it occurred to me that although I had missed my opportunity for Banded Peak, at roughly 10:30 AM there was still enough time to get to a scramble I had completely forgot about, Gap Peak.

With that realization I bolted from the sack, suddenly energized with the realization that I could be on a summit near the Bow Corridor, on a beautiful fall day.

That’s an incredible enticement to me!

Off to the Mountain

After the preparations and drive I found myself under way, going up, at 1:00 PM. On the way at last I was surprised by the familiarity of it all. I thought summer was over but on a day like today, a beautiful fall day, it seems that all of the best is saved for the last. The fall colors and temperature were perfect.

In such pleasant conditions, I reflected on my growing belief that difficult exercise, alone in such demanding yet awesome settings  does not grow strength but power.

The distinction being that power unlike strength garners more personal responsibly. You have to harness it like a flame, or it’ll burn ya!

It had been a long time and I was grateful to be on the mountain again, in excellent settings and conditions. I was going up slope, had great views, could smell the forest and fresh air and was on a great peak.

This little Bow Corridor peak was more demanding than I thought it would be. Unlike it’s neighbors Exshaw Mountain and Doorjamb Mountain, this one demands a few more hours of exertion.

The Upper Mountain

After about an hour you exit the trees onto a pleasant slope of firm scree.

Up the scree is a cliff that must be circumnavigated. There’s a trail on the right (east) side. After that is a steep slope with trees. The slope tends back to the left after rounding the base of the cliff. Lo and behold you find yourself at another obstacle. A short amount of scrambling brings you to another cliff.

This time you have to go on the other side of the cliff. I’m not bluffing! Go to the left side (west) of it. After that more slopes. Argggg! Just keep on plodding.

Once on the narrow summit ridge you can finally see the summit proper. Uh…., oops…, the false summit.

This last part is fun, but be cautious. Although it’s not terribly exposed, the wind can be gusty in this region of the Canadian Rockies. You have to walk with deliberate steps, anticipate each foot placement and generally crouch to maintain a low center of mass and therefore be less bifurcating.


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I've replaced the Crow. This sure beats eating Crow.

I’ve replaced the Crow. This sure beats eating Crow.

Small Movie

Small Movie

The ridge is a good scramble but please be cautious as even a small fall can have lethal consequences. At one point my concentration lapsed for just a split second and I stepped on a rock that rolled under foot at an exposed section.

It was a freak rock!

I reacted perfectly but it just goes to show how with a long ridge like this, with gusty wind, care and attention are tantamount to survival unscathed. After a 25 minute break for food, water and panoramas on the summit, the increasingly hostile gusts forced me to abandon my hard fought throne.

The Obsticle

The final obstacle on the way down.
This Gendarme is easy to climb from this side but the difficulty is on the way down the other side.

The forest near the bottom The light is fading

The forest near the bottom, The light is fading.

Small Movie

Small Movie (thumbnail too 😉 )

The down climb was more difficult, as always, but the knowledge that I had succeeded helped.
I was buoyed!

Looking back to the Canadian Rockies at sunset on the way home.



Gap Peak Panorama

The poetical impression of any object is that uneasy, exquisite sense of beauty or power that cannot be contained within itself; that is impatient of all limit; that (as flame bends to flame) strives to link itself to some other image of kindred beauty or grandeur; to enshrine itself, as it were, in the highest forms of fancy, and to relieve the aching sense of pleasure by expressing it in the boldest manner.

William Hazlitt
1778-1830, British Essayist

Gap Peak Gallery


Cascade Mountain

 Posted by on July 20, 2001  Banff National Park  7 Responses »
Jul 202001

Cascade Mountain – Canadian Rockies

Ann on the summit of Cascade Mountain

Hey Ann you’re on the summit of Cascade Mountain!

If you’re wondering why the content of this page keeps changing, my editor killed the page and I had to resurrect an older version from a backup. Same thing with my Mount Cory page. It’s very strange no? Hey Ann you were on that “hike” too; have you been sharpening your hacking skills that the computer faculty/department is no doubt and yes very obviously teaching you? (tutelagening)

The first attempt I made on this peak failed. My partner hiking bud for the day Officer Rob Davidson of the Calgary Police Service had a knee injury that we thought would be OK. About half way up the mountain, the knee was hurting.

I told him I had no problem going back down; “Cascade isn’t going any where” I said. Rob is a determined individual, but when pain talks we get lame walks. It just isn’t worth a chronic injury to push that hard.

July 20/2001

The next attempt was with “Hey Ann”, eight days after we summited Mount Cory. About half way up I experienced some dizziness and a heart palpitation. This was my first adrenalin rush of the season, and not the last.

I sat down, drank some fluids, then continued to the summit. The rush was spawned by a look over a sharp crest. In lousy shape, I was pushing hard and so the adrenalin was more than my straining heart could take. It lost it’s rhythm and blood flow to my brain was compromised for a moment. Some people also talk of tunnel vision, this is a sign of pushing too hard.

As for the Mountain;

…my whole life, every time I passed through Banff, I always looked up at the pyramid of Cascade Mountain with awe. Now on the summit, it was a special moment in a special place (to me). As for this Hey Ann Chick, she unjustly blew it off as “just a hike”. 😐

Cloud over Cascade Mountai

Cloud over Cascade Mountain

Hey Ann

When we got back to my dear Ann’s truck, she mumbled something about Superman. I was very flattered, but on that day it was obviously true. One can always aspire to great heights, can’t one? I must fly! If you need lessons just let me know, no problemo

Cascade is a wonderful mountain, the object of many an artist. I’ve noticed however that none have captured the mountain from the Bow Valley. They all seem to derive their perspective from each other. I’m going to set my tripod just below the falls some morning, looking up at the looming mountain from an inferior oblique perspective, cowering laughing under it’s massive girth. And then I will go conquer it again, as fast as I can.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin
8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900, the leading English art critic of the Victorian era

Hey man where did you go?
Thought I, but I guess
I don’t know you
Gave you my heart
You looked to take it apart
Hey man what did you do?
Walked away we weren’t through
Last time was a fake shaken head
Now I think it must be said

Hey man
Can’t be everybody’s friend
Ain’t no way man
To be everybody’s friend

Jane’s Addiction
“Everybody’s Friend”

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 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