Big Bend Peak GR:924773

elevation: 2,814 m. height gain: 1,100 m.
area: Icefields Parkway,AB map 83 C/3

Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies.
from the car

The objective from the highway.
Snowshoe trip: RT 8.0; 5.5 up. Overcast weather and avalanche danger has forced us to plan a trip east of the Divide. We noticed Drew and Mark's trip report a while ago; it seemed Big Bend Peak would be a good snowshoe outing. We decided to forego their ascent gully; instead we made our way through the forest on a moderate grade. Breaking trail was difficult at first; half an hour into it, the snow became supportive. We were pleased and continued on the treed ridge in good spirit. Another 20 minutes and we found a packed trail; no way, could we be this lucky? Indeed, the up-track followed the ridge to treeline, very nice. To our surprise, this area appears to be busy. Above treeline, we continued a climbing traverse below the false summit on a natural ramp. We aimed for the saddle past the sub peak. Side-hilling was frustrating (Fab's snowshoes have rounded tubing), after a few spills, he decided to front-point straight up. From the saddle, the ascent is straightforward. We enjoyed the last stretch under blue sky, the warm temperature with minimal wind felt great. At the top, we were greeted with some of the best scenery imaginable. After a good stay at the summit, we returned to the saddle and could not resist another short break next to a rock outcrop. Baking in the sun, mmmm... Instead of backtracking our long traverse, we opted to go straight down to the natural ramp; that part was fun and fast. The upper terrain would be a joy on skis! We rejoined the trail and casually returned to the car.
crossing saskatchewan river

The Saskatchewan River is easily crossed in the winter.

on the old road

On the old road for a short while.

through the trees

Leaving the road, we head south to gain the north-east ridge.

much easier now

An hour into the bushwhack, we find an up-track.

easy travelling

Nice trekking through the trees.

numerous up-tracks

This area is surprisingly popular.

above treeline

We contoured around the false summit

summit in sight

Climbing to the ridge, the summit is now visible.

last stretch

Straightforward plod to the top.

beautiful scenery

Mount Saskatchewan.

nearing the top

Summit ridge, almost there.

summit ahead

The top, minutes away.

at the top

The sun is out, the view is phenomenal, it's great to be here!

that would be a great ski run

Looking south-west at distant Mount Bryce and Castleguard Mountain.

looking back

The approach and the "bend" in the highway below.


Mounts Andromeda (centre) and Athabasca (right).

heading down

Retracing our steps.

last glimpse

Sheltered at a rock outcrop, we take another quick break.

fun and fast

We descended straight down, avoiding a long traverse.

another great day

Back to treeline in little time.
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