Pasque Mountain

elevation: 2,541 m. height gain: 700 m.
area: South Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/2
2011-Nov-13


Ref: Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Trail Guide     vol 2.
trailhead


Just off the road, at the trailhead.
Snowshoe trip: RT 6.5; 4.0 up. We planned to take the doggies out for the weekend a little while ago. The forecast of sun and clouds lured us to the front ranges despite the windy conditions. We were hoping for a shallow snowpack to grant the hounds good travelling and fun. We suspected we would have to split up and bring them back to the warm truck; the windy summit ridge would be too hostile. And so we set off early morning, driving through a blizzard to West Louise then again through Highwood Pass. It was so windy that I wondered if this drive was futile. The dogs were ecstatic about the hike though, it was not that windy in the cutblock. The approach ridge was denuded of snow due to the wind; still our hounds were happy and bouncy. As we neared the saddle, preceding the climb to the ridge, the snow deepened a lot; this is where Fab and the dogs turned around. The trees offered some shelter so Fab hung out, playing with dogs a while before returning. The climb to the ridge required effort, the wind-loaded east side received a good amount of snow. At some point, I veered away from the road to avoid going on some open terrain; instead, I ascended a direct line in the trees that offered shelter and seemed safer. Snowshoe penetration was at least knee deep; I continued knowing the summit ridge would be stripped of snow and much easier, even with the wind. Sure enough, as I neared treeline the snow changed becoming wind pressed. Once on the ridge, I closed up my jacket, put the hood on my head and strapped my goggles over top. The wind was fierce but I was warm. I walked on the ridge crest where it was easiest, it was nice. A helping factor was that Fab and I had good radio contact, which alleviated some stress. After taking a couple of pictures at the blistery top, I started back down. I didn't stop much, just a quick break in the trees to drink water. Coming back was fast but daylight was dim by the time I reached the cutblock. Nearing the trailhead, Fab released the hounds and they all came running towards me. What a way to finish an outing... and with 15 minutes before darkness. We drove to one of our favorite camping spots, enjoying the heat and comfort of the truck.



reaching the cutblock

The logging road continues but we veer left towards the cutblock.

cutblock

The cutblock with the north end of Pasque Mountain ahead.

skirting the cutblock


Skirting the cutblock on the left hand side.


following the road


We dip down (left) following the road; our doggies are enjoying this new area.


ascent ridge ahead


About to cross the frozen drainage to the ascent ridge.


bloody windy


It's crazy windy!


heading for the summit ridge


Now solo and on snowshoes, I head for the summit ridge.


deep snow


I followed a swath in the trees, the snow was deep and unconsolidated.


summit ridge


Nearing the ridge, the snow is more wind affected.


plateau mountain


On the ridge, bracing myself while I take a picture of Plateau Mountain.


ridge crest


Past a highpoint, I get a glimpse at both the north and south summits.


north summit


The true summit (center) is apparently 1 meter higher than the north summit.


at the top


At the top with the summit ridge in the background.


possible loop


A loop is possible using the ridge to the east.


beautiful scenery


Beautiful scenery despite the weather and cutblocks.


a look back


One more look at the top on my way out.


a couple of interesting steps


A couple of interesting steps along the ridge.


backtracking to the north summit


Backtracking on the ridge crest to the north summit.


soon off the windy ridge


Almost at the end of this windy ridge journey.


coming down


Heading down in the trees for some relief from the wind.


windy approach ridge


The approach ridge is as windy as the top!
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