Rimwall Summit

 Posted by on October 22, 2008  Kananaskis Provincial Park  1 Response »
Oct 222008

Sunday September 28th 2003

On the Rim of Rimwall Summit

After having enjoyed a smokeless peak the other day on Gap Peak, I awoke this morning with the idea to get out to Rimwall Summit.

After 21k of gravel road I was at the base of the mountain. It starts at the trial that goes to West Wind Pass.

Once under way I was moving fast up the trail. I started a bit late as usual and didn’t have my watch today but left Calgary around 11:00 AM and so was probably under way about 1:00 PM.

The air was cool to begin with so although the sun was out the sweating didn’t get too bad.

I felt like I had good power.

The trail split and the upper branch took me to slabs that I was forced to climb. This eventually took me to the first wall to overcome. As luck would have it I was right at the bottom of the wall where it’s easy to just walk around.

After some traversing I found myself wondering which way to go. I didn’t take Alan Kane’s guide book with me and was trying to remember what the picture looked like. I remembered him saying to resist the urge to gain altitude so I opted to climb directly the next rock wall by way of a weakness directly across the slope from me.

That went OK, just a bit steep to start but no problem.

Then I was out on the final slopes to the summit. These slopes are excellent firm scree. This scramble was shaping up to be a great one. I was concerned abut Kane’s “wall” near the summit though.

Once I was near the top I easily overcame a couple of short rock steps without the need to traverse out over the wall but even if I had to, the wall is back from the final slope to the summit. It would be dangerous if snow were present though.

Once on the summit I was surprised to find that the wind that had pestered me occasionally on the way up was gone. Hummm???

I just sat there.

What a peaceful place. The clouds started to move in and swirl around me and the crows enjoyed cruising above me. I could hear a dog barking somewhere below. That dog was a long way away.

7 MB MPG movie
“On The Rim”

The scrambling down was good, I decided to bypass the cliff I climbed and kept going down the ridge until the cliff gave way as they usually do. This one did.

Then I traversed back to the trail to Wind Pass, then hiked out to the car. I caught up to some folks and asked what time it was. They said it was about 5:00 PM. I made good time.

I was alone the whole day but had a solid scramble and a good workout. I recommend this scramble to scramblers. If you’re a hiker, get help for the route finding.

Rimwall Summit Panorama

Rimwall Summit Panorama

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes. By the deep sea, and music in its roars; I love not man the less, but nature more.

George Gordon

Jul 212006
Grizzly Peak – Canadian Rockies

July 21 2006

Grizzly Peak is my first new scramble for 2006, five years and a day since I scrambled Cascade Mountain. Mark Brisseau was on vacation from Ontario and gave me a call. Mark scrambled with me once back on July 4th 2001 when I scrambled Paget Peak.

Back in 2001

Mark Brisseau on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Mark Brisseau on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Me on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Me on Paget Peak July 4th 2001

Grizzly Peak is located in Kananaskis Provincial Park. I had thought of doing Mount Norquay but decided on an easy scramble with limited vertical gain to start the season out. Grizzly Peak is about 800 meters vertical and has a summit altitude of 2500 meters.

The trail starts next to a small creek about 4km south of the Fortress Mountain ski hill turn off. It climbs rapidly for the first half hour or so, then you climb a small ledge and start to contour around the south side of the mountain. The ledge constitutes the crux and is the only real scrambling. After about 30 minutes of traversing the trail reaches grassy slopes an the south east aspect of the mountain and you have to find your way up through grasses and the occasional scree gully. A col is reached after scrambling up through a coal-shale seam.

Once at the col you’ll probably want to have a break and enjoy the scenery. A plateau of meadows will give you the opportunity to spot wild-life. We identified some sheep and a coyote.

From there it’s about 15 minutes to the summit.

On the way to the summit mark spotted the lone larch. This Larch is mentioned in Alan Kane’s “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”.

Summit views of the Kananaskis Valley are fantastic. On July 21st the summit temperature was about 70 degrees and only a gentle breeze was blowing.

Forward to 2006

Mark Brisseau on the Summit of Grizzly Peak

Mark Brisseau on the Summit of Grizzly Peak

Tim Helmer Summits Grizzly Peak (that's me)

Tim Helmer Summits Grizzly Peak (that’s me)

Mark and I sat on the grassy summit and chatted for about 45 minutes before deciding to go down.

Here are some before and after pictures. As I said, Mark was on a scramble up Paget Peak with me five years ago.

On the way back down our feet were treated to a beating and on the lower slopes the temperature was sometimes very hot.

Mark and I will probably go scrambling again soon, the next time he passes through town.

Mark and I on the summit of Grizzly Peak

Mark and the valley to the north

Mark and the valley to the north

The Kananaskis Lakes

The Kananaskis Lakes


I never worry about action, but only inaction.

Winston Churchill 1874-1965
British Statesman, Prime Minister

Grizzly Peak Gallery (please hit F11; function key 11)

Middle Sister

 Posted by on October 6, 2003  Kananaskis Provincial Park  No Responses »
Oct 062003
Middle Sister (left) from the living room of my friends Canmore chalet

Middle Sister (left) from the living room of my friends Canmore chalet

Monday October 6th 2003

Well It’s about time that I dealt with this troublesome sister. It’s been 718.5 days since my first attempt was cancelled due to snow on Oct 17 2001. That day I went to Stoney Squaw Mountain instead.

At an average heart rate of 70 beats per minute that’s 72,424,800 heart beats and  counting badly a few extras thrown in for good measure.

I was saving this one for my friend Ann, because I told her I would but she’s through with scrambling, at least with me anyway.

nn and I had tried to get up this peak in August of 2002 but missed Stewart Creek. We were to busy talking I guess.

This time I was actually on my way to Grizzly Peak but decided that going alone into a remote section of Kananaskis to a place with such a name, on a day like today, was more than I felt like taking on.

With my late start (groggy from a long “HEALTHY” session at the gym in Calgary) I knew I was cutting it close but my calculations had me off the mountain around sunset and I had my headlamp so… so what?

I got under way at around 1:00 PM

Once I was going I noticed a bit of smoke in the air. It was warm too. Ahhh, just like summer. Fantastic.

After about an hour I ran across a couple of Texans who I thought were brothers. They corrected me in an email later. I told them I grew up in Dallas and that I would also look to see if I could spot their lost sunglasses. It’s always nice to meet a Texan or two. They usually have big hearts and are always good to talk to.

After 3:15 of plodding I was on the summit. I had the urge to stop and eat-drink about 10 minutes from the top but pushed on. Without the 20 minute walk down the 2 kilometer gravel road it would have been just under 3 hours to get up the 1400 meters to the summit.

I love the Bow Corridor. I’ve scrambled most of the summits in Alan Kane’s book now and each one is a nice memory, like Cascade Mountain and Mount Cory. No matter what’s going on in my life yesterday or tomorrow, when I scramble it all melts away and all that’s left is today.

Upper route panorama

Upper route panorama

Panorama of the upper portion of the route on Middle Sister Big Sister spans the view

On the summit I snacked on grub, took photos, and noticed that 1/2 an hour somehow vanished. I had to go.

As I started down I also noticed that my headphones were missing. I guess the Texans were not the only ones this nasty sister was stealing from.

South from Middle Sister

South from Middle Sister

This is south from Middle Sister I down climbed for a few minutes and then I saw the light had improved

I took to the drainage near the spot where I had my first break and lo and behold there they were, laying smack dab in the middle of a dry section of Stewart Creek. The headphones!

As soon a I reached the wet portion of Stewart Creek I bent over for a drink straight from where it sprung out of the flank of Little Sister. I likened it to drinking from her bosom.

Gee that was refreshing.

I marched on with a smile on my face.

Later it was getting dark as I neared the Golf Course. The air was mixed with cool and warm breezes and I was feeling very content and right at home wandering around the woods alone in the dark.

As I crossed the golf course, lost again as I was supposed to be on the road, the moon showed me the way back.

So much for Middle Sister.


Middle Sister Panorama

Middle Sister Panorama

Unfortunately, the balance of nature decrees that a super-abundance of dreams is paid for by a growing potential for nightmares.

Peter Ustinov
1921-2004, British Actor, Writer, Director

Middle Sister Gallery (please use F11, function key 11 to view full size)