Howard Douglas, Mount

elevation: 2,877 m. height gain: 1,220 m.
area: Banff/Bow Valley,AB map 82 O/4
2016-Jul-16


Ref: Andrew Nugara's More scrambles in the Canadian Rockies 2nd edition
leaving the access road


Leaving the access road and hiking Goat's Eye ski out.
Scramble: RT 6.5; 3.5 up. I was invited to a birthday party in Bragg Creek on friday; so after work, I drove there and took saturday off to go scrambling with Marta. As the week progressed, the forecast changed and became increasingly unstable for the weekend. Marta and I both agreed to put off our trip for another weekend. On saturday I woke up and had a couple of coffees with Wendy before leaving Bragg Creek. I was very indecisive about what I would do next but I had made a plan B before leaving Golden and I had brought my rain gear along with me. The forecast wasn't promising, rain and thunderstorms throughout the day pretty much everywhere. As I drove through Banff, the cloud ceiling was low but the sky appeared bright and it wasn't raining yet. I then decided to drive up the Sunshine Village access road and attempt Mount Howard Douglas. I didn't have much to lose, it was still early and I had taken a day off to go hiking anyway. As I started to walk the access road it started to drizzle, I put on my rain gear and carried on. I was hoping to hitch a ride to Goat's Eye but there was no vehicles that came up the road; after an hour, I reached the mid station. I continued along the lower ski run to where it bends and ascends towards the lift; from there, a very short bushwhack leads to the Eagle Basin. I hiked to my objective which was engulfed in low cloud. I knew where to start my ascent but I couldn't verify anything as I had forgotten the route description, map and GPS in the truck.... I was slightly hungover and disorganized... Anyway, I figured I might as well proceed since it wasn't raining too hard yet and the clouds didn't look like they could produce lightning. I could only see about 40 feet in front of me but I remembered that the route went up a gully and then traversed on a ledge. I just climbed the path of least resistance, it was pretty straightforward. Higher up, I couldn't make out where that possible traverse might be; I continued until I was against the rockwall of the summit block, that's when I noticed I could climb onto a scree ledge. I was still unsure that was the traverse because visibility was greatly reduced but it made sense to give it a try and see where it led. The wide scree ledge took me to a gully that led to the summit ridge. It was snowing now. I was quite thrilled, my summit bid looked promising. I scrambled the summit ridge and reached a short crux that precedes the summit. I got there minutes later and enjoyed a fine stay despite having no view. I felt happy that I made it despite the odds. Returning was uneventful. The drizzle did turn to rain but I still made it to the parking lot without being soaked. I'm glad I gambled and went on this trip, sometimes you just get lucky!!!




eagle basin

The ski area boundary in Eagle Basin, aiming for the scree that breaches the rockband at cloud level (center).

good to go

As long as I can see ahead, I'm good to go!

path reveals itself

Following the path that reveals itself....

straightforward


Luckily the route is straightforward.


ledge was hard to distinguish


The scree ledge traverse wasn't visible until I was against the summit block ahead.


scree ledge


The scree ledge handrails the rockwall of the summit block.


gully to summit ridge


At the other end of the ledge, a gully leads to the summit ridge.


summit ridge


Summit ridge.


crux


Moderately easy crux just before the top.


at the top


At the top!


time to go


Time to go.


backtracking


Backtracking on the summit ridge.


spotting the ledge


The scree ledge traverse is easy to spot skier's right.


lookout mountain


Lookout Mountain hosts some fine ski runs like Delirium Dive and the Shoulder.


barking dog


This pinnacle reminds me of a dog barking at the moon.


not barking anymore


The pinnacle doesn't look like a barking dog anymore.....


hurray rain gear


Rain gear is not the most comfy but I'm dry!


in the abyss


In the abyss.


larch trees


This would be a beautiful fall objective with yellow Larch trees.


ski area boundary


Re-entering ski area boundary; good to know!


access road


Back on the access road.
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