Mount Yamnuska

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Kananaskis Provincial Park  7 Responses »
Oct 242008
Mount Yamnuska

Mount Yamnuska

Mount Yamnuska is also known as Mount John Laurie. No disrespect to Mr. Laurie, but the native name should remain.

This is a great scramble, close to Calgary, a spectacular setting and a bit of hands on scrambling to keep you on your toes.

Anthony Hopkins has appeared in a few movies in and around this area. Anthony is one of my favorite actors.

In Legends Of The Fall, Anthony plays the patriarch of a western family beset by good fortune and tragedy. The film was shot in the Morley area and views of the frontal range are numerous. I identified Mount Yamnuska and Big Sister as a few of the peaks visible.

Its a good movie but for me the best part is Anthony’s performance of the stroke hobbled father. His bearish mumblings and salty swath are de rigueur Hopkins.

The first time I tried this mountain, I went in reverse so that I could avoid the down climb. Such precautions are unnecessary, there is a ledge that is not really that hard so the down climb can be circumnavigated.

I never made it the first time, I was content to just gaze across the valley once I had done all of the hard work scrambling up the talus slope on a stunningly beautiful fall afternoon a few years ago.

The normal way up is a lot easier, just angle right below the summit cliffs, on well used trails. It’s steep going until you get around the corner, just below the cliffs.

Then the fun starts.

When you make it to the other side, some great views of CMC valley unfold. I think this is one mountain I’ll do many times, just to keep the bones from getting too soft.

Once on the summit crest the view across the vertical cliffs are breathtaking. Don’t be surprised to see climbers, this is one of the most climbed of all the mountains in Canada. Many of the parties ascending this fabulous mountain are guided parties.

On the way down is a talus slope that you can more or less run down. Be careful though as there is a section of basement rock hiding under what looks like loose talus about half way down. Once you hit this you’ll know it. All of a sudden you’re trying to control what seems like a dangerous speed over hard steep rubble strewn slopes. Yikes!!!! Holey trousers Bat Man!!

Mount Yamnuska Panorama

Mount Yamnuska Panorama

If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

Ray Bradbury
1920-2013, American Science Fiction Writer

Send danger from the east unto the west, so honor cross it from the north to south.

William Shakespeare
1564-1616, British Poet, Playwrite

When things are steep, remember to stay level-headed.

BC 65-8, Italian Poet

Yamnuska Gallery

Oct 242008

Lady MacDonald is a fantastic scramble. The route is easy to find and follow but the summit ridge is too exposed for most folks.

Is it really that bad?


First summit from Main summit

First summit from Main summit


Only a complete klutz would fall off of this ridge (aside from an unfortunate super gust of flesh shearing wind) so the only thing that will stop you is your irrational fear of premature self inflicted cataclysmic death, OK? Do you have hands, feet and a butt? Well that’s all you really need to accomplish the traverse.

Look at it this way; this is an opportunity for the fear of living types out there to put a positive emotional imprint on your self doubt or any other fears you may struggle with. If you get through it you’ll be thrilled and your confidence in the mountains will rise markedly

Main summit from first summit

Main summit from first summit

If however you truly are a klutz please stay on the first summit. I don’t want to be a party to the death of anyone.

The individual who died was either careless or was blown off the ridge or slipped in wet conditions.

Death on the mountain (when alone) is your sole responsibility.

Just recently I was in a dangerous position and realized how all of my experience seemed of little importance or perhaps a hindrance. I backed down the debris strewn, down sloping, exposed ledges and got out while I was still alive. I can not emphasize safety enough.

Examine the photos and decide for yourself if you can face the exposure.

Note: Looking at these photos and being there are two different things, but the only way to know how you will react is to just go do it. You can always turn back. I have!

Enjoy the exposure! Bye Bye!

I do not endorse activities that you are not comfortable with. Even if you are totally comfortable on this ridge, you may die! Please realize that life is a gamble and nothing is guaranteed.

I’m sitting casually on the crux at this point, the wind is buffeting wildly and I’m enjoying myself for a change. This is easy compared to normal life.

I’m sitting casually on the crux at this point, the wind is
buffeting wildly and I’m enjoying myself for a change. This is easy compared to normal life.   


Fear can be headier than whiskey, once man has acquired a taste for it.

Donald Downes

eave everything. Leave Dada. Leave your wife. Leave your mistress. Leave your hopes and fears. Leave your children in the woods. Leave the substance for the shadow. Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future. Set off on the roads.

Andre Breton
1989-1966, French Surrealist

hen you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation — it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.

Les Brown
1945-, American Speaker, Author, Trainer, Motivator Lecturer

y worst fear is that I’ll end up living in some run-down duplex on Wilshire wearing pants hiked up to my nipples and muttering under my breath.

Richard Dreyfuss
1947-, American Actor

Mount Lady MacDonald Gallery

Mount Chester

 Posted by on October 23, 2008  Kananaskis Provincial Park  No Responses »
Oct 232008
Mount Chester

Mount Chester

Mount Chester. This is the peak that Anthony Hopkins points to in “The Edge” when his makeshift compass points south.

Now that we have that cleared away, I’ll continue with the usual dry talk about what happened on our scramble along with the usual technical babble on how to get there.

Chester Lake

Chester Lake

You’ve got to get you’s to Chester Lake parking first. Then march it up to the lake, almost, and make for the obvious col to the west of the peak. This entails crossing a field and then climbing up scree for about 1500 feet. Once at the col the terrain gets more interesting.

Kane mentions in his book that this is one of his favorites. I think it’s OK, OK?

When on top of the mountain please discourage idiotic kids from dislodging rocks down the east face, you never know when someone has decided to trudge up a few thousand feet of loose treadmill scree.

After all the views have been absorbed, march yourself back down the mountain.

Take care.

Mount Chester Panorama

Mount Chester Panorama

Comedy has to be done en clair. You can’t blunt the edge of wit or the point of satire with obscurity. Try to imagine a famous witty saying that is not immediately clear.

James Thurber
1894-1961, American Humorist, Illustrator