Shark, Mount

elevation: 2,786 m. height gain: 1,000 m.
area: Smith-Dorrien/Spray Area,AB map 82 J/14
2011-Aug-01


Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
karst spring


Almost at Karst Spring's source.
Scramble: RT 9.5; 5.0 up. Mount Shark sure packs a bite! The sustained moderate scrambling kept us on our toes. I came here solo nearly 15 years ago and turned around quite overwhelmed. Today, I must admit, I still would have turned around had Fab not been there with me... The trip started well with the bike ride and quick hike up to Karst Spring. We then followed a good trail to the treed ridge. We left that trail when it started to dip on the other side; instead, we picked up bits of trail ascending the ridge to treeline. Beyond treeline, the ridge looks difficult and only the lower section can be seen making it hard to pick a line of ascent. We read about people bypassing the initial steep slabs, so we kept looking climber's right. At some point, we noticed a ledge mentioned in a couple of trip reports, we followed it and started climbing up some exposed terrain. I didn't like it and had to back down. Fab found an alternative but it was sketchy, I was thrilled when I heard him shout "I recognize the way up now". We had gone below the steep slabs of the first false summit. Back on the ridge, the route is obvious, interrupted by some interesting sections requiring hands-on scrambling. After a short downclimb, we reached the top. We stayed for a while to enjoy the view, the feat and nice weather. I was a little apprehensive about coming down; Fab and I decided to keep to the ridge crest avoiding our sketchy bypass. The descent over the steep slabs to the first false summit went well. This was by far a better option than our approach from below. We continued making our way down the ridge without complications. Looking up, the ridge is complex and I can see why people try to find a bypass... Back at treeline, we took a nice long break before returning. We had raw hands from handling the abrasive rock but other than that, we were thankful to be unharmed. We lost the trail on the way down and ended up on the wrong side of the spring. No problem, within seconds Fab spotted a place to cross the torrent back to the trail on the opposite side; never a dull moment!
bush walk begins

We find a path that takes us to a better trail ascending to the ridge.

treeline

At treeline with the ascent ridge ahead.

start scrambling


Scrambling begins. We look for a bypass climber's right but should have followed the ridge, to the left.


first ledge


Looking for a bypass, we try this ledge up but end up finding an easier (but sketchy) way around.


gaining the ridge


Skirting the snow, we gain the ridge avoiding the first false summit.


summit ridge


The summit ridge.


caution required


Some sections require caution.


hands on bulge


A couple of tricky steps around a bulge.


near the downclimb


Nearing the downclimb.


avoiding the chimney


Fab decides to avoid the chimney.


summit register


Happy to be at the top of this challenging mountain.


view south


Mount Smuts and Mount Sir Douglas.


lake view


We enjoy the view sheltered from the wind.


not chimney


On descent, we avoid the chimney climber's right.


ridge walk


A path exists on the upper mountain.


ridge crest


Sticking to the ridge crest.


before the bulge


Easy going to the bulge below.


the bulge


Fab maneuvering around the bulging rock.


above slabs


Above the steep slabs, heading to the first false summit.


looking back


Looking back from the first false summit.


last bit of ridge


The ridge narrows.


slab shuffle


Shuffling down a slab.


narrow ridge


Looking back at the narrow ridge to the first peak.


finishing the ridge


We easily continue along the ridge.


up view


Appears complex when looking up.


east side


We veer to the right (east) slightly.


break time


Taking a good break with the ridge behind us.


creek cross


The logs were incredibly slippery...
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