Banded Peak

 Posted by on October 2, 2003  Kananaskis Provincial Park  3 Responses »
Oct 022003

Banded Peak – Canadian Rockies

I think I see Outlaw peak at the upper left. WRONG. It turns out to be my objective. I’m at the spot marked with a red x in the picture below

I think I see Outlaw peak at the upper left. WRONG. It turns out to be my objective. I’m at the spot marked with a red x in the picture below

X marks the Spot

X marks the Spot

Thursday October 2nd 2003

Wow what a big day. And it was awesome for an October day too. I knew, looking at the brilliant fall colors on the way through Bragg Creek that it was going to be a special day.

A map of the scramble portion of the route with some additional information

A map of the scramble portion of the route with some additional information

This trip is a big one. First you have to mountain bike up the Elbow River on a fire road to Outlaw Creek. That’s about 16 kilometers.

Then comes a long valley with much scree.

But the trip is worth it. It’s some of the most spectacular mountain scenery I’ve seen. I like this area of the Canadian Rockies. It’s pristine.

Alan Kane’s guide book says Outlaw Creek is at 15.2 kilometers. I guess my odometer is out of whack. It registered 15.9 k to the drainage I took up the mountain.

As I traipsed up the valley I was wondering what the heck Kane is talking about? A path on the slope above the creek? I don’t think so. 🙁

After several hours I reached a high col and suddenly noticed that nothing looked familiar.

The Boulder in the wrong valley

The Boulder in the wrong valley

Oops! Wrong drainage. No wonder there was no cairn. Hummm!

As luck would have it Banded Peak is a large conical mountain of scree slopes and one can just re-navigate to where one should have been.


After 4 hours and 39 minutes after starting from the parking area I was at the summit. The ride in took 56 minutes so the scramble took 3:43.

I took over the roost from a pair of crows. Caw Caw Caw.

I replied back with the same.

The Ultimate Outlaw This 6274x1090 image is a 673 KB compressed JPG, stiched, telephoto image of Outlaw Peak and Mount Cornwall

The Ultimate Outlaw; This 6274×1090 image is a 673 KB compressed JPG, stitched, telephoto image of Outlaw Peak and Mount Cornwall

Next came the down scramble. I decided to take the normal way out that being Outlaw Creek. I knew what to expect having been down the drainage 4 years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

Along the way I thought about going alone and how I do it. I thinks its defiantly the music. If I didn’t have tunes it would be a lot tougher to go alone.

I stopped on the way down at the same spot where Rob Davidson and I had a snack four years ago. Rob shared his cheese with me and I think the oysters were mine but I’m not sure. Henry was behind for about 10 minutes.

I also photographed the spot where we camped for the night.

On the way down this time the trail is noticeable on the east aspect of the valley. I’m sure we would have seen it four years ago had it been as well used as it has grown to be. This valley has seen a lot of traffic in the ensuing years. They do a race to the summit every year!

I fueled myself with dates and raisins at many stops as well a one when I got back to my bike.

Trusty steed!

My bike was waiting patiently for me.

My bike was waiting patiently for me.

Then the race back out to the car. It’s fast; you can really fly coming out of this one.

Outlaw Creek and Banded Peak (summit at right)

Back at the WRONG drainage after a one kilometer hike down the fire road. Banded peak is visible as the distant peak at the upper right. You can see the snow patch I crossed.

If you are a scrambler treat yourself to a great day in the mountains. Fit hikers can do this mountain too.

Have a good one!



Banded Peak Panorama

Near Banded Peak’s Summit

I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas.

Albert Einstein
1879-1955, German-born American Physicist

Something that irritates you and won’t let you go. That’s the anguish of it. Do this book, or die. You have to go through that. Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.

Source Unknown

Banded Peak Gallery

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


Aug 012003

The Summit of Mount Sparrowhawk

August 1st/2003

This scramble appeals to me.

Telephoto of Mount Sparrowhawk

Telephoto of Mount Sparrowhawk

It’s a big mountain, over 3120 meters and it has a good location so as to provide views of some impressive peaks such as Mount Lougheed and The Three Sisters.

The weather is very hot these days and the forecast was for 31 Deg C temperatures for the next five days or so. I didn’t think it would be very windy with such stable weather.

It took me 2 hours and 41 minutes to get to the top. My total was 4:56 but I took my time coming down. I was on the mountain alone and I neglected to tell anyone where I was going. Not a wise thing but on this day I was distracted and left the house in a daze.

The way up was relatively straight forward. I thought I was on Read’s Ridge but didn’t have to worry about getting stuck on the ridge. The one I was on took me to the foot of Read’s Ridge where the final part of the scramble can be viewed.

The mountain felt big, like a 3000 meter summit should. It resisted but I finally made it all the way to the top.

On the top I enjoyed some of the best views I’ve seen, and a helicopter flew by twice. I think they probably saw me standing on top of the mountain.

I shot my usual panoramas as well as a few movies. One is a short comment about the north face of the mountain.

256K Low-res MPG
I explain how
I didn’t notice the
cliff (north face)
behind me

360K Low-res MPG Movie
Listen to the ptarmigans

839 K Low-res MPG Movie
The Helicopter

On the way back down I took more time for photography, getting in as many plants and animals etc. as I could.

At the bottom I came out on the drainage that Alan Kane says is the wrong one. That’s the one to the south. I’ll leave it up to you to figure this one out, I’m not a guide so I won’t attempt to describe the route to you.

I will say this though. Mount Sparrowhawk is suited to those who would like to try their hand at a larger peak but don’t want to get too involved in route finding or steep terrain. Only the summit block has any steep spots on it and although there was some loose debris on the final moderate scramble near the top, if you take it easy and take care you should be OK.

Mount Sparrowhawk Panorama

Mount Sparrowhawk Panorama

I shall state silences more competently than ever a better man spangled the butterflies of vertigo.

Samuel Beckett
1906-1989, Irish Dramatist, Novelist

ealize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold.

William Moulton Marston

elancholy is at the bottom of everything, just as at the end of all rivers is the sea. Can it be otherwise in a world where nothing lasts, where all that we have loved or shall love must die? Is death, then, the secret of life? The gloom of an eternal mourning enwraps, more or less closely, every serious and thoughtful soul, as night enwraps the universe.

Henri Frederic Amiel
1821-1881, Swiss Philosopher, Poet, Critic

Mount Sparrowhawk Gallery (F11 = full screen)