Holy Cross Mountain GR:683880

elevation: 2,650 m. height gain: 1,190 m.
area: South Kananaskis,AB  map 82 J/7
2011-Jun-20


Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies
pack trail coulee


Pack Trail Coulee to Grass Pass.
Scramble: RT 9.5; 5.0 up. We set out once again prepared for rain. My good friend Ev was also keen to go out. This could be one of her last scrambles in the Rockies as she is moving abroad. From Canmore, we drove out with Ev taking advantage of the recently re-opened highway 40. The sky was overcast but it was mild. We parked at Sentinel and hiked up Pack Trail Coulee until it started to lose elevation. At that point, we climbed the ridge heading west to another grassy open ridge, 712866. We followed the pleasant ridge and before dropping to a small creek crossing, we planned to aim for a grassy knoll. Trails exist but it is good to have a bearing in mind to avoid plodding in the wrong direction. We did end up on a blazed trail before reaching the knoll. From there, the objective is in sight. On our way, we found a trail leading to the waterfall at the base of the mountain. As we began climbing to the north-east ridge, it started to drizzle. We stopped and adjusted our layers. Upon reaching the ridge crest, the rain ceased. We resumed the ascent after a quick break. The scrambling was fun even with wet rock. We only encountered snow near the summit ridge. The traverse on the narrow ridge is thrilling, we were cautious! The sun was now poking through the clouds with a slight wind. We gained the summit in good spirits. We were fortunate to have great conditions and weather. We stayed at the top for a while. Our return was fun. We glissaded down the "shaft" of the cross. This was Ev's first glissade, she absolutely loved it. We all felt and acted like kids again, good times. We continued our plod back after another nice break. The sky cleared and we embraced the warmth of summer.
grassy ridge

A bit of height loss at the end of this nice grassy ridge. The arrow indicates the grassy knoll we aimed for.

the objective

Holy Cross Mountain.

north east ridge


Ascending the north-east ridge.


nearing the ridge crest


The drizzle is lessening as we near the ridge crest.


ridge crest


On the ridge crest.


fun begins


We begin the fun trek on the ridge.


going around the rockband


We circumvented the rockband ahead climber's left.


good scrambling


A section offers some entertainment.


go ev go


The view from below. Go Ev, go!!!


looking back


The approach from the summit ridge.


summit ridge


Short, narrow connecting ridge.


ev poses


Ev crouches on a narrow spot.


mount head in the background


Looking back, Mount Head in the distance.


last steps


Last steps before the top, the sun is coming out.


at the top


Crossed alpine axes on Holy Cross!


dark clouds around


The clouds are very dark to the north-east.


leaving the top


We head down after a very nice summit stay.


summit behind us


Ev and I with the summit behind us.


great glissade


Awesome glissade, follow the bum trench for extra speed!


steep upper slopes


The upper slopes are exciting.


good times


Ev is really taking a liking to this.


avalanche debris


Walking off the avalanche debris.


looking up


Another look up.


the sky is clearing


The weather improves during our return.
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