Cougar Peak GR:218649

elevation: 2,643 m. height gain: 1,281 m.
area: Canmore,AB map 82 O/3
2010-Nov-07


Ref: Bob Spirko's Road not taken
cougar canyon


Cougar Canyon.
Scramble: RT 9.5; 5.0 up. We drove off in the rain. It was hard to conceive that just a couple of hours away, a mix of sun and clouds was in the forecast. Combined with mild temperatures (high of 12C), Canmore seemed well worth checking out. Rain turned to drizzle and past Castle Junction, we could discern holes in the dark sky. Nearing the trailhead, it looked promising; we pumped-up the tunes! We left the car with a swift pace. This long trip would require close to all the daylight available at this time of the year. It's a shame we couldn't spend more time looking at the bolted sport climbs in Cougar Canyon. We followed the popular trail to the Forks and were pleased to find a trail along the left fork. We continued without much respite... We recognized the ascent drainage and after taking a quick break, we followed a faint trail climber's left. Soon after, we were trudging on rubble at treeline. The scenery is amazing. We had no trouble picking out the right ascent gully on the upper mountain. Some sections are painfully loose but eventually we made it to the saddle. The weather was still nice and as we proceeded to the summit ridge, the sun poked through the clouds. Indeed, the view is great from this peak. We stayed at the top for half an hour. On our way down, it started to snow. Lower down, drizzle didn't dampen our spirits (or clothes)! Back on the creek bed, the rain cleared. Hiking back, we got the last sunrays as the sun set behind Lady Mac, awesome. We arrived at the trailhead with less than 30 minutes of daylight to spare, what a day!
on a good trail

A good trail weaves along the creek bed.

our objective

Cougar Peak ahead, the summit is hidden behind.

heavy rocks to move

Nice place for a meeting around a fire.

junction

At the split, we follow the left fork.

ascent drainage

The ascent drainage.

further up


Further up the drainage, we veer climber's left.


treeline


At treeline, still no snow.


upper mountain


Hiking along a wall of rock.


getting closer


Nearing the upper ascent gully.


ascent gully


This buttress is distinctive.


looking back


Looking back.


saddle ahead


Shifty rubble to the saddle.


last bit


Summit ahead, right on.


great view


Along the summit ridge, the view is stunning.


north-west view


Looking north-west.


summit cairn


At the summit cairn.


precipitous


Straight down!


heading down


Canmore and Cougar Canyon are visible.


a bit of hands-on


The terrain is steep and slabby near the buttress.


weakness in rockband


Funneling down to the weakness in the rockband.


drizzle


A fine drizzle starts to come down.
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