Bluerock Mountain

elevation: 2,789 m. height gain: 1,175 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/10
2013-Jun-16


Ref: The Peakhunter
From Turner Valley, drive along the 546 and park at the Gorge Creek trailhead. We followed the Volcano Ridge/Creek Trail to the Threepoint campground, where we left the bikes (be prepared to push your bike to the highpoint of Volcano Ridge). We hiked on a trail for about 1 kilometer until it dissipates and continued towards the pass between Mount Rose and Bluerock Mountain. From there, we veered south and aimed for Bluerock's north bowl, trekking climber's right of the drainage above a waterfall. We crossed on the left side at another waterfall to negotiate an overhanging waterfall and proceeded to ascend the north slopes to the summit ridge.
cattle drive
Cattle drive in Turner Valley.
Scramble: RT 12.0; 6.5 up. I had wanted to visit this mountain for a few years but the long drive combined with the lengthy outing made us procrastinate... A recent trip report on Club Tread spurred several replies; one of which caught our attention. Raff described his ascent via the north bowl, using a bike to approach the mountain; he also recommended the ascent. I liked the idea of a possible glissade, hence we started to consider it. I shared our intention with Raff on Facebook and next thing you know, we were on our way to meet him for the first time. He suggested we bike the approach together and hike to the pass before splitting up for our different objectives, he was heading to Mount Rose.

We left Golden at 4 AM and made good time until we reached Turner Valley where we followed a cattle drive; with time to spare, we stayed behind and watched the wrangling. We got to the parking lot ahead of Raff, he was also delayed by the cows! We conversed as he got ready, then we quickly set off on the trail. Within 30 minutes of riding, Raff broke the chain on his bike. He thought it was the end of his journey until Fab pulled out a chain tool to fix it. We resumed the ride and soon started to push our bikes up the long uphill to the highpoint of Volcano Ridge. A nice downhill ensued, at which point it was my turn to have a setback: my front tire went flat. I guess a flat tire isn't a big deal, we even had a spare tube but the problem was the new tube had a Schreader valve and my rim was adapted to a smaller Presta valve... hummmm. It wasn't possible to fix the old tube because it was ripped at the valve, hence we had to improvise. I rudely started to enlarge the hole in my rim with a wrench; Fab cringed and got the Leatherman out to do a better job with the file. After a while, we were able to fit the new tube on my rim and inflate the tire. Sweet, we were on our way again. After the downhill, biking on the wet rugged trail proved tiring for me so I was glad to ditch my bike at the campground. Hiking to the pass was quite nice, it was also easier to talk; Raff is a very interesting fellow. Soon though, we each went our own way. Fab and I thrashed through the forest without losing too much height and reached the ascent drainage near beautiful waterfalls. After negotiating the final waterfall, we started climbing up the north facing slopes. A nice gully filled with snow enticed us but the snow was too soft, so we ascended talus along its margin. The summit ridge is short, pleasant trekking led to the cairn where we hung out. The weather was fine allowing us to enjoy the exquisite scenery. As we extended our summit stay, we were hoping Raff wouldn't wait for us for the return trip... At 5 PM, we started down. We glissaded down the gully, filled our bottles at the tiered waterfall and hiked back to the bikes. The ride from the campground wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, even the push up to Volcano Ridge's highpoint seemed to be fairly easy. After that, it was all downhill! We reached the car at 9 PM. We were knackered and still had to drive 4 hours... The drive was long; we stopped about four times on the side of the highway to take a nap!
trail map
Trail map at the Gorge Creek parking lot.
bike approach
Bike approach with Raff.
broken chain
Raff broke his chain; no worries, Fab will fix it!
distant bluerock mountain
Bluerock Mountain is distant.
threepoint campground
Leaving the bikes at Threepoint campground.
gorge
Hiking along the gorge.
skull
Raff: "The skull represents people who don't make it up Bluerock"...
heading to the pass
Skirting the forest's edge to the pass.
first waterfall
Once out of the trees, we travelled climber's right, above this waterfall.
tiered waterfall
At this tiered waterfall, we crossed on the left side.
overhanging waterfall
Cresting above an overhanging waterfall.
looking back
Looking back.
overhanging waterfall
The overhanging waterfall is impressive.
bluerock's north bowl
Bluerock's north bowl.
nearing the ridge
Almost on the ridge proper.
summit ridge
The summit ridge with the top at the right.
view north-west
View along the north-west ridge.
summit cairn
South-west view from the summit cairn.
foothills
The Foothills.
southern approach
The usual southern ridge approach.
heading down
Reluctantly leaving the top.
threepoint and rose
Threepoint Mountain behind Mount Rose.
glissading
A decent glissade from the ridge.
above the waterfall
Above the waterfall.
beautiful mount rose
Mount Rose is beautifully colored.
low clouds over bluerock
Bluerock Mountain being engulfed in low clouds.
ceiling is dropping
Looking back from the campground, the ceiling is dropping.
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