Charles Stewart, Mount

elevation: 2,809 m.  height gain: 1,655 m.
area: Canmore,AB
map 82 O/3

Ref: Brandon Boulier's trip report on

cougar creek

Cougar Creek.
Scramble: RT 19.0; 10.5 up. This scramble marked a huge milestone for me. A long time ago I set a goal for myself, I wanted to climb 222 summits. Fabrice created the website ( in 2006 and it became increasingly motivating to go scrambling to document outings in the Columbia Region and lesser known objectives; of course, I always enjoyed Kane and Nugara scrambles as well! That goal came and went and was quickly replaced with a new one: 500 unique summits by the age of 50. At the time, this endeavour seemed entirely feasible if not dealt unforeseen blows. For numerous years, I focused on planning trips that favoured success and I tried to go out every weekend. This journey kept me fit and granted a sense of validation, it very much became a part of me. These outstanding experiences enriched my life in many ways no doubt. I've been lucky to have Fabrice's support. He embarked on these peakbagging adventures in the 90's and helped me achieve the skill set required to tackle tougher scrambles; without him, there would be no "goldenscrambles" and by no means would I have met my goal. Thank you Fab.

I came back from Colorado only 5 summits shy of my goal and did some awesome trips the following weekends. After my 499th summit, I started thinking: which one's next? The weather looked nice and I wanted my 500th to be unsurpassed, so much so that I started to feel stressed. I was hoping to go on an alpine climb, Mount Lefoy in particular but couldn't secure a partner. I was really disappointed, I had rarely thought of my trips as boring or ordinary but that's what I feared for this milestone. Eventually I embraced plan B, a long solo climb of Mount Charles Stewart. I told Raff about my intentions but I didn't expect him to come, I was surprised when he messaged me to make arrangements to meet in Canmore.

On my way to Canmore, Raff texted to let me know he was running late; we made plans to meet on the trail. I parked and started hiking at a casual pace enjoying the beautiful morning. When I reached the junction of the secondary drainage, I started to wonder if something had happened to Raff and Chantel; I was relieved to hear some yelling soon thereafter. Joined with my friends, conversation was lively as we proceeded up and around the big boulders of the drainage. We stopped often, taking time to photograph water features along the way. The ascent to the alpine meadows was straightforward; from there, we aimed for the col. The adjacent bowl to the right (north) looked familiar yet we continued straight ahead, something just didn't add up. At some point Raff said: I think we're going to Charles Stewart South. I didn't question it; after a quick look at the topo map, we went down and traversed in the proper bowl. Luckily we hadn't climbed too far, we joked about how silly it would have been to reach the wrong summit and read our names in the summit register... Anyway, once in the proper bowl, we easily climbed to the summit ridge and carried on to the false summit. Then, we dropped down on the west side to allow a simple traverse below the gnarly section of the summit ridge. The terrain is really loose there, thankfully it was short-lived and we gained the summit quickly afterwards. After 10.5 hours, it felt great to finally step on the summit, it was understood we would stay at the top to enjoy the view and the feat. There was much to celebrate, it was my 500th ascent and possibly the first doggy ascent! We took selfies, movies, ate and had a few shots of Fireball and Jägermeister; most importantly, Nala Bear had a nap. We almost stayed 2 hours on the summit before considering our return. It was tough peeling ourselves from the lofty viewpoint, we finally left at 7:30 PM. We made the most of the remaining daylight taking pictures of waterfalls along the creek and locating trail segments. We almost made it down the entire secondary creekbed without  having to take out our headlamps. We hiked Cougar Creek in the dark without too much difficulty other than being dead tired. This outing might not have been what I hoped for my 500th but it was a stellar one nonetheless. Thanks to Raff and Chantel for accompanying me and making this trip an outstanding one after all!

casual walk

Casual walk along the drainage, until Raff and Chantel meet up.

big boulders

Big boulders in some places.

at the junction

At the junction, Raff and Chantel still haven't showed up.

access drainage

Shortly after engaging the secondary drainage, they caught up to me.

lots of breaks

Lots of breaks and photo opportunities.

back of the draw

Nearing the back of the draw.

flowing water

We took many pictures of flowing water.

climbing to the upper bowl

Climbing towards the alpine meadows.

interesting bits

Some interesting bits.

the terrain opens up

The terrain is opening up.

nice slab

Nice slab along the way.

proper bowl on the right

The proper bowl is on the right of Charles Stewart South!
Picture courtesy of Rafal Raffinator.

easy ascent

Easy ascent to the summit ridge.

short scrambly bit

Chantel enjoying the short scrambly section before the ridge.

summit ridge

The ridge to the false summit.

mount assiniboine

Squaw's Tit and Mount Assiniboine in the distance.

big cairn

A big cairn on the ridge.

more ridge

More ridge.

exposed ridge

The exposed ridge pushes us down the west side.

circumventing difficulties

Circumventing the difficult section.

chantel coming up

Chantel coming up the summit block with Mount Princess Margaret in the background.

looking over charles stewart south

Looking over Mount Charles Stewart South.

mount peechee

Mount Peechee to the north-west.

squaw's tit

Squaw's Tit in the foreground with Three Sisters in the background.

mount assiniboine up close

Mount Assiniboine up close.

summit ballet

Summit ballet for my 500th!
Picture courtesy of Rafal Raffinator.

b&w summit shot

Black and white summit shot.
Picture courtesy of Rafal Raffinator.


Picture courtesy of Rafal Raffinator.

nala bear

Nala Bear.


Celebrating with good friends.

time to head back

7:30 PM, time to head back.

connecting ridge

Hiking along the connecting ridge towards Mount Charles Stewart South.

dropping down

Dropping down into the bowl.

scrambly bit

A short scrambly bit just below the ridge crest.

beautiful meadows

Beautiful meadows in the bowl.

along the creekbed

Trekking along the creekbed.


Fabulous waterfall.
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