height: 2880 m
last day of our two week scrambling trip and Raff and I wanted to try
in a totally different area. After packing up our tent from the bivy
Mount Alcantara, at the western edge of the Rockies, we drove all the
to the east side and parked at the trailhead for Elliot Peak, along the
Thompson Highway. Route information for Elliot is sparse, but we did
trip report on Bivouac by Markus Kellerhals, describing a 35 degree
to the summit. Without snow we expected the route to be a grunt, but
easy. Still, two pairs of rock shoes managed to make their way into our
packs and later in the day we were both extremely relieved they did.
biking about 2 km to an unnamed drainage, we started a tedious and
bushwhacking slog alongside the creek. Thankfully the drainage
cleared and the remainder of the trek, into the bowl below the north
side of Elliot,
amounted to an enjoyable and easy boulder hop.
tedious slogging preceded an interesting search for the correct gully
face – interesting in that there were so many potential gullies going
the summit, it was next to impossible to ascertain the one outlined in
description we had. Perhaps this was because Mr. Kellerhals and company
completed the ascent in spring, when the gully was snow filled and
the interests of time, we just picked a line and started up. The slabby
on the lower slopes was gently angled and tons of fun to ascend.
soon steepened to the point where rock shoes were a far better option
As well, route-finding became very important, some gullies leading to
steep terrain. We did have a rope and some gear, but opportunities for
protection were for the most part non-existent on the down-sloping
slabs and so
we scrambled up without a rope.
the increasingly difficult ascent we could plainly see a wide,
scree ramp that appeared to offer an easy route up. However, attempts
traverse over to the ramp were futile and so we continued up a
This was generally a good route, but soon became more serious when we
particularly steep step. We pulled out the rope here, though in
was unnecessary. Above the step the angle eased up. More slogging
then a couple of tricky moves up another short but steep step and we
was definitely becoming a concern at this point. Descending our ascent
would have been extremely slow and unnerving in multiple places.
on the face in the dark was most unappealing and therefore we decided
we would attempt
the aforementioned wide scree ramp. Most of that route was clearly
though a cliffband lined the face below the ramp. Hopefully we would be
find a weakness down the cliffband near the far end of the ramp.
remainder of the ascent amounted to a tedious rubble ascent as
Kellerhals. I was already a little worried about getting down.
that always takes away from enjoying the present moment and our short
was not as gratifying as it should have been. Still, the summit view
excellent. The sun setting in the west detracted from views in that
the peaks to the south and east looked great.
luck would have it the alternate descent route turned out to be
(and remarkably ankle-jarring!). The cliffband that had caused us some
eventually petered out to almost nothing. Descending it was little more
steep hiking – huge relief, as darkness arrived shortly after. Had we
our ascent route, getting benighted on the mountain would have been a forgone
boulder hop down the creek was a little more interesting by headlamp,
the GPS guided bush-bash back to the bikes. A slow, cautious bike ride
completed the day. Now at 11 in evening, we decided to camp for the
drive home in the morning.
pleasant colours over Abraham Lake in the morning seemed to denote a
end to our very productive and breath-takingly scenic 11 day scrambling
Statistics for those 11 days were 10 summits, involving 13 355 m of
gain (43 804 feet), and 71 hours 35, minutes of hiking/scrambling. With
in several distant quadrants of the Rockies, the southern-most being
Jackson in GNP, Montana, and the northern-most Elliot Peak along the
Thompson Highway, I can’t even begin to calculate the kilometres we put
vehicle. A big thank-you to Raff not only for doing most of the
driving, but more
importantly for being a totally awesome scrambling partner.
up – a well-deserved and extended rest!
The first look at Elliot Peak
Cool slabs on the side of Sentinel Mountain
The north ridge of Elliot
The tedious slog to the ascent gullies
Same as above
Raff approaches one of the numerous gullies that offers a potential way up
Typical slabby terrain on the lower slopes
Raff scrambles up the slabs
Same as above
Same as above; the wide scree ramp is visible behind; ascending this ramp
would make the whole ascent an easy, but somewhat grueling scramble
The view to the south; Mount Murchison is just visible at the distant right
A colourful col on the south ridge of Elliot
Raff enjoys the last Tangerine Fanta of our trip
Looking down the descent route
Raff looks back up the descent route and the ascent route, basically up the centre of the face
Mount Wilson gets some early morning sun
Sunrise on Abraham Lake