Crowsnest Mountain

 Posted by on August 7, 2001  Crowsnest Pass  1 Response »
Aug 072001
Crowsnest Mountain from the south

Mountain from the south

I had some time to kill on my day off after scrambling up Turtle Mountain, so I went to the Frank Slide interpretive center. After that I drove off to the IGA to get some salads etc. and after a bite drove to Coleman.

Still more time to kill so I thought about a treat and went into the Union Hotel for a draft beer. This was my first beer in a month and when they asked me if I wanted another I said no and received a puzzled expression.

Then I was off to Crowsnest Mountain.

From the Highway I was immediately impressed with the appearance of the mountain, a singular uplift seemingly un-scramble-able from this side. I drove up Allison Creek road to the base of the mountain where I found a nice streamside camp at the trailhead. Three fellows from Edmonton were enjoying a discussion about their day on the mountain.

I had a nice sleep only waking occasionally to view Mars, and then later in the night, the Moon. The night was warm and I used no fly on the tent.

Crowsnest Mountain and The Seven Sisters as seen from Blairmore

Crowsnest Mountain and The Seven Sisters as seen from Blairmore

In the morning, the usual prep, goop up, eat some grub, pack, cane, crooked hat and go.

I caught up with the family that had left before I got under way, passed them and by the time I was into the first rock band they were just getting to the talus slope.

The crux on Crowsnest Mt. Note the chain

crux on Crowsnest Mt. Note the chain

Once I was up through the second kick-ass rock band (chain), I followed trails, and some how made my way to the east ridge. It seemed like I could continue on the ridge, but being alone I thought it best to carefully down climb and find the trail again.

The summit was all mine and I could feel the steepness around me. Crowsnest is a cool mountain. I will go back some day!

On the way down I caught up to the family just as they were getting back to the parking area. One of the older boys said “we would have made it, but dad is getting old” within earshot of said dad. I think dad would have done better had his giant belly been a bit leaner. After all, he had been up to the top four times by his recollection.

Chin up dad.

In retrospect it may seem to some a courageous act to go up a mountain like Crowsnest Mountain alone.

Edward Whymper (Courtesy Whyte Archives V14 ACOOP-251)

Edward Whymper (Courtesy Whyte Archives V14 ACOOP-251)

Looking back on it, at the time, it was a new level of commitment for me. (It’s really not that bad though)

Early in the summer I had found a new friend and in helping her to scramble safely I had kind of helped myself too. So I really didn’t feel like I was alone on this adventure.


Crowsnest Mountain Panorama

Crowsnest Mountain Panorama

Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal. Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood by all, but which the wise, and great, and good interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
1792-1822, British Poet

Crowsnest Mountain Gallery

Aug 042001
Turtle Mountain

Turtle Mountain

Frank Slide – Turtle Mountain – Canadian Rockies

Turtle Mountain is the site of the legendary Frank Slide on April 29 of 1903. This historical mountain was the first of two scrambles I did in the Crowsnest Pass area on or about Aug 4/2001.

Turtle Mountain From Blairmore’s main street

Mountain From Blairmore’s main street

The day started out sunny and as I parked my car on the southern extremity of Blairmore and prepared to leave I was looking up at the ridge knowing that the views would come fast.

There is a small amount of scrambling to get on the ridge, then the going is easy. The ridge is just a hike and is very pleasant. About half way up the wind picks up, same thing on the way down. The summit was relatively calm.

On the first summit things get more interesting. You have to scramble down and across a jumble of broken rock. Once on the main summit, just relax and enjoy the views. I could see the wind turbines in Pincher Creek and I more or less had the whole mountain to myself.

The view to the west was spectacular with Crowsnest Mountain looking conspicuous and the Crowsnest Pass spread out like a great serpentine valley.

Mini Panorama of the Frank Slide from the summit of Turtle Mountain

Mini Panorama of the Frank Slide from the summit of Turtle Mountain

If you are in the pass it also pays to go to the Frank Slide interpretive center to get the historical perspective on this place. The people of that time were a hardy folk. A trail takes you through the slide area and is enjoyable on a warm sunny summer afternoon in some airy sandals.

Mt Techumse from the Frank Slide.

Mt Techumse from the Frank Slide.

That summer afternoon is only two months back, yet it feels like an eternity. The Crowsnest is a special place. It’s like a laid back Banff.
Crowsnest Mountain alone makes this valley comparable to the Bow Corridor. Turtle Mountain and the Frank Slide are just thrown in for good measure.

The history of the Crowsnest Pass is rich and you can feel the old times echo when you pass through Coleman.

The Crowsnest Pass is a valley out of time.

Turtle Mountain Panorama

Turtle Mountain Panorama

The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of the man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent.

Edward M. Forster
1879-1970, British Novelist, Essayist

Turtle Mountain – The Frank Slide Gallery