Mount Carthew

 Posted by on October 23, 2008  Waterton National Park  1 Response »
Oct 232008
Mount Carthew from Alderson Lake campground

Mount Carthew from Alderson Lake campground

Mount Carthew – Canadian Rockies July 2005

This is my only new scramble for 2005. I was joined by my beautiful friend Cindy.

Waterton Lakes National Park is the stunning setting for this scramble. It can be done in one day but the route Cindy and I took was from the Waterton town site and an overnight stay at Alderson Lake made it manageable

First we hiked to Alderson Lake and setup camp. This is about 8k and 600 meters of vertical so with full backpacks it makes for an average day. The campsite was all ours save for a few resident deer. The next day some folks told us a Back Bear and a Grizzly Bear were seen so they too were probably around.

The weather was warm so the Horse Flies and other annoying insects were abundant but this just adds to the rustic nature of the experience.

The next day we started out for the summit. The way involves visits to several lakes as well as close-up views of waterfalls, a very beautiful outing.

Once on top of the mountain we found shelter from the moderate winds by dropping down a few feet to the north aspect of the summit.

On the way back down I stopped to photograph some of the excellent alpine flowers on display as well as a curious marmot. We also took the wrong way down across some down sloping, narrow, ruble strewn ledges that were exposed in some places. Cindy was hyperventilating on the traverse so I had her stop a few times to calm down.

Upper Carthew Lakes

Upper Carthew Lakes

Mount Carthew panorama showing the wrong route down in red.
The correct route is shown in green.
Marks the summit.

Once back at Upper Carthew Lake, Cindy and I had to cross a small area of snow floating at the end of the lake. This snow patch is compacted snow left over from winter avalanches. I guess both of us should not have been on the thing at the same time because as we casually sauntered across there came a huge CRACK and then a slight sinking sensation as the enormous block of snow we were walking on started to sink and bob in the lake water.

The broke-down-glacier. Cindy and I avoided a swim in the drink or worse

The broke-down-glacier. Cindy and I avoided a swim in the drink or worse

As the crack widened, I jumped up and across onto the solid snow above. Then I looked over to Cindy on her hands and knees crawling up the snow block and I shouted “GO GO GO!”. Cindy managed to make it across the gap even though it was wider where she was. The gap would have been a certain icy death!

That night we spent back at the Waterton town campsite and we relaxed after a long and adventurous day.


We will invent new lullabies, new songs, new acts of love, we will cry over things we used to laugh and our new wisdom will bring tears to eyes of gentle creatures from other planets who were afraid of us till then and in the end a summer with wild winds and new friends will be.

Source Unknown

We are inconsolable at being deceived by our enemies and being betrayed by our friends, yet we are often content in be being treated like that by our own selves.

Francois De La Rochefoucauld
(1613-1680, French classical writer)

Mount Carthew Gallery