Friday September 26th 2003
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.
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 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.
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.
1778-1830, British Essayist
Gap Peak Gallery