Sarrail, Mount

elevation: 3,174 m. height gain: 1,475 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/11

Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies upper kananaskis lake
Upper Kananaskis Lake from the trail.
Scramble: RT 9.0 (return to Aster Lake); 6.25 up. We've been incredibly fortunate with the weather in 2011.  When I pre-booked our hounds at Lisa's B&B in April, I was hoping we could at least go out on two of the four trips. To have gotten great conditions on all four weekends is an absolute blessing!

Approach: We left the parking lot at 8:30 AM and plodded the well-trodden Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail at a good pace; reaching the junction for Aster Lake in an hour 15 minutes. Although a tree has inconspicuous initials AL and HL to indicate the lakes, there is no sign. We followed the trail through the small meadow and stepped on Hidden Lake's shoreline soon thereafter. The water level was low, granting us a pleasant walk to the lake's south end. We continued up the treed slope on a good trail and got to the scree traverse at 11 AM. The view on the waterfall and lakes improves with the height gain. Further up, before attaining the plateau, caution is required as the trail skirts the mountainside high above slabs. From the plateau, we stayed on the trail for a while and picked a good spot to stash all our extra gear for an ascent of Mount Sarrail.

The scramble up Sarrail is very nice. The scenery is magnificent and the climb is straightforward but still requires care further up along the ascent ridge. Luckily, there was no more snow on the ridge crest. The lofty top is a great place for viewing Aster Lake's vicinity. The summit cairn was already buried by a recent snowfall, and the cornices will probably remain into winter! We didn't stay that long, there is little shelter at the top and with the wind, we were getting cold. We retraced our steps along the ridge and took a nice break lower down. The sun felt warm with the absence of wind, we ate lots of food and prepared to continue the descent to our overnight gear. We had no trouble finding our stuff under the blue tarp. Once all packed, we regained the main trail and headed to Aster Lake. After about an hour, we set up and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. We watched the sunset and shade creeping towards us. Soon after that, we were tucked in under the starry cool night.
aster lake junction
At the Aster Lake Junction.
hidden lake
Walking along the shoreline of Hidden Lake.
low water level
Evidence of a much higher water level earlier this season.
trail along the mountainside
A good trail continues along the mountainside to reach the plateau.
fossil falls
The top of Warrior Mountain is in sight above Fossil Falls.
reaching the plateau
We crossed over where there is no more snow.
a look back at the lakes
A look back at Hidden Lake and part of the Upper Kananaskis Lake.
soon stashed the extra gear
A bit further, we stashed our extra gear off the trail.
starting the ascent
Starting our ascent.
aster lake
Aster Lake comes into view in front of Warrior.
good trail
Signs of a good trail.
on the ridge crest
Keeping to the ridge crest.
almost there
Getting near.
small step
A small step offered shelter from the wind.
last stretch
Last stretch.
adding to the cairn
My contribution to the cairn, a snowball.
big cornices
Pointing at the cornices.
cordonnier and warrior
Mount Cordonnier (left) and Warrior Mountain.
Mount Joffre towers above other mountains.
kananaskis lakes
Kananaskis Lakes and Mount Indefatigable.
coming down
Down the upper mountain.
glacier abutment
The glacier abutment.
back on the ridge
Back on the ridge crest.
nearing our gear
Nearing our gear under the blue tarp.
neat trail
Neat trail (running along the slab) into Aster Lake.
sarrail from aster lake
A glimpse back at Mount Sarrail.
storing the food
Fab stows our food as the sun sets across the valley.
clear night
Breezy clear night, brrrrrrrr!
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