Abraham Mountain GR:366907

elevation: 2,820 m. height gain: 1,450 m.
area: David Thompson Highway,AB map 83 C/1-C/8
2011-Jun-27


Ref: Eric Coulthart in the Canadian Rockies trailhead
Abraham's south-east ridge and Slabs in the shade. We head for the small saddle.
Scramble: RT 12.0; 7.0 up. This is a long and arduous trip but the view is well worth the effort. Abraham Mountain is popular with climbers. An alpine climb (III 5.8) ascends the south-east ridge to the summit and a short trail leads to bolted climbs on the south-west aspect of the ridge. The scramble is the climber's descent route. Ev was up for the challenge even though we were uncertain about the approach to the "Endless scree gully of pain" and the conditions on the upper mountain. This is our last scramble together for a looong time, I hoped for a good adventure. We met in Lake Louise and drove to the trailhead, 383882. The trail is visible but there is no sign. Near the start the trail forks; the left goes to the sport climbs and scramble, going straight takes you to the alpine climb. We quickly reached Abraham Slabs. The textured slabs are truly impressive and run along the whole length of the ridge gaining height and magnitude. We skirted along the slabs and the path eventually deteriorated to a faint trail with the odd cairn. We handrailed the slabs with a climbing traverse. Numerous side drainages are crossed staying high until well into the draw. Once we had the bottom of the gully in sight, we plodded towards it losing a bit of elevation. The snow in the gully was continuous and consolidated. We put on the crampons and started the pleasant ascent to the col. Following a brief break, we headed to the summit ridge. There was still some snow. We proceeded, probing the snow and planting our feet for good purchase. Some sections were unnerving... Once across the ridge, the summit is easily gained. We stayed long enough to enjoy the sights and the moment but we didn't linger. On the way down, it is hard not to notice the imposing strata of slabs that form the summit ridge. After carefully retracing our steps on the ridge, we prepared for a long glissade down the gully. Coming down was sweet! We renamed the gully "Endless snow gully of fun". Feeling rejuvenated, we resumed our walk out. Cairns made finding our way back easier but side-hilling talus slopes made it slower. It took us a while to reach the climber's trail. Happy to hear the traffic on the highway, we strolled to the car. Again, we were very fortunate, we could not have hoped for a better outcome. Ev, thanks for your friendship, I miss you so much already... Please come and visit soon... small saddle ahead
Nearing the small saddle.
building cairns
Building more cairns as we go on the faint trail.
avoiding slabs
Slabs force us to ascend and handrail the mountainside.
crossing a side drainage
Crossing one of several side drainages.
elliott peak in the distance
Building a cairn high on an outcrop, Elliott Peak in the distance.
coming down an outcrop
Ev and I coming down the outcrop.
aiming for orange scree
We aimed for the orange scree weakness.
another side drainage
Crossing another side drainage.
ascending the orange scree
Ascending the orange scree weakness. This was very nice coming down!
closer to the gully
Getting closer to the ascent gully.
looking back
Looking back, Mount Michener across Abraham Lake.
ascent gully
The endless scree gully of pain or snow gully of fun!
putting on crampons
Putting on the hardware.
silly me
"Rage against the gully".
good conditions
Pleasant ascent on firm snow.
nearing the col
Staying on the packed scree higher up.
summit block in view
Abraham Mountain's summit block comes into view (right of center).
summit ridge
About to tackle the summit ridge.
silly me again
But first I must push over this rock.
further along the ridge
Further along the ridge.
summit block
Finally on the summit block.
at the top
After a lot of hard work we reached the top!
south-east view
Looking along the south-east "Shoulder route".
eastern view
The view to the east.
cheers
Celebrating with a cheer and a well deserved break.
col from the top
A look at the ridge and the col from the top.
impressive slabs
Noticing the strata of slabs from this angle.
retracing our steps
Retracing our steps, Allstones Peak in the background.
traversing snow slopes
Traversing snow slopes close to the ridge crest.
more ridge
More of this stunning ridge.
super long glissade
A super long glissade from the col, fun, fun, fun!
sliding all the way down
We'll keep going into the rocky debris, all the way down.
lengthy return
Cairns assist our long side-hilling return.
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