Eagle Mountain GR:078344

elevation: 2,503 m.
height gain: 1,000 m.
area: Ya Ha Tinda Ranch,AB
map 82 O/11
2016-May-08


Ref: Steven's peak-bagging journey
gorgeous afternoon


Gorgeous afternoon by the Red Deer River with my best friend Ev.
Scramble: RT 7.5; 3.5 up. I was ecstatic when my best friend Ev e-mailed from New Zealand telling me she was coming for a visit and saved a weekend to go camping and hiking with me. I planned a trip relatively close to Canmore, where she was staying. I figured we could camp at the Bighorn campground in Ya Ha Tinda for a couple of nights and go for a good scramble. All went accordingly right up to the night before; she called and said she had heard on the news that there was a complete fire ban in Alberta following Fort McMurray's crisis. Shoot, that sure was a bummer considering the forecast was calling for rain over the weekend... We decided to go ahead with the trip despite that. Saturday was a fine day; I finished work early and drove to Canmore to pick her up, we then made our way to Ya Ha Tinda. We found a nice campsite next to the river. We had a fantastic afternoon by the water, drinking wine and catching up. The next day the weather wasn't nearly as bad as forecasted. We still packed our rain gear and headed out to the trailhead for the scramble. We followed the trail and bushwacked up the ascent ridge in good spirit; we travelled at a casual pace, chatting along the way. As we neared treeline, it looked like it could start raining anytime. Higher up, we hiked in low level cloud; visibility was greatly reduced. Walking in the fog gave us an eery feeling, at times a hole would give way to some exquisite scenery to the west over Warden Rock and Wapiti Mountain. The multitude of cloud levels with the odd sun beams truly added texture and mood to the mountains; gotta admit, I've learned to appreciate those days. After the second false summit, we carried on to the scrambling section that circumvents a drop off in the ridge line. We found some moderate scrambling along the way, that made the trek even more exciting. Back on the ridge, we could see the third peak but couldn't discern the true summit. We walked on the ridge until we reached the corniced ridge on the summit. I took a GPS reading to confirm our location. As we sat for lunch in the clouds and light snow, we started getting openings and some fine views to the west. Every time an opening materialized, we would start yelling and take pictures; it was quite funny! We stayed at the top for a while, we were in no hurry. After spending some quality time up there, we started heading down. We backtracked to the scrambling traverse and back up on the ridge. We stopped on the first peak for another break before going back in the trees. The rest of the plod down was uneventful and it never rained! Once at the campground, we ate good food, drank more wine and enjoyed more chatting. This was such a nice surprise and definitely a fantastic trip with my best friend.


supper time

Supper time!

eagle creek trailhead

Next day at the Eagle Creek trailhead, weather isn't too bad.

ascent ridge

The ascent ridge ahead.

light bushwhacking


Front Range bushwhacking.


first fase summit


Nearing the first false summit.


top of maze is obscured


The top of Maze Peak is obscured.


view over ya ha tinda ranch


View over Ya Ha Tinda Ranch to the west.


weather is moving in


Over the first peak, the weather is moving in.


west ridge


Second and third false summits along the west ridge.


nearing second peak


Nearing the second peak and entering the clouds.


can't see the third peak


The third false summit is not discernible.


fun scrambling


Some fun scrambling on the way down from the second peak.


third peak


Ev rounds up the third peak.


true summit in clouds


The true summit is engulfed in thick cloud.


where's the top


Almost there I think....


at the top


Yeah, this is it!!! ...and no rain.


view west


 Warden Rock protrudes out of a spectacular show of clouds.


view north


Evangeline Peak and Rum Ridge to the north.


view south


The view south is pretty neat as well.


summit selfie


Summit selfie.


heading down


Heading down in a light snow squall.


circumventing difficulties


On the traverse that avoids the ridge's drop offs.


scrambling


Scrambling a small section.


back on the ridge


Back on the ridge proper.


down the second peak


Coming down the second false summit.


maze peak


Maze Peak shrouded in cloud.


at the first peak


Stopping at the first peak for another break.


grassy opening


Almost back down to the grassy opening.


on the trail


Back on the trail.


grizzlies near camp


Grizzly mom and her two cubs from our campsite.


the bull


Ya Ha Tinda's ambassador!
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