Spoon Needle GR:279342

elevation: 2,165 m. height gain: 600 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/14
2013-Mar-17


There 's no short way to this small peak. Most people go up the 8 kilometer access road to Fortress Ski Area, then bushwhack towards Spoon Needle's south ridge. We decided to trade distance for hardship; we accessed the ascent ridge via Galatea Creek Trail.

We hiked to the double bridges on Galatea Creek Trail. We passed the first one and left the trail at the far bridge. We veered climber's left and started ascending some steep nasty bush. We travelled above the creekbed, east side, for over a kilometer with the intent of reaching it further up the draw. We aimed to join the creekbed at 274348. From there, travelling over the filled-in creek was fast and easy. Further up the draw, we chose a treed ascent line to the south ridge.

suspension bridge


Suspension bridge over the Kananaskis River.
Snowshoe trip: RT 10.5; 6.0 up. After an unnerving drive through a blizzard, we safely parked at the Galatea Creek trailhead. Charles was pleased to see us arrive, he wasn't sure we'd make it! Blowing snow obscured visibility and the wind was cold. As we hiked the trail, I exclaimed the cold temperature was an advantage, hopefully tightening up the recently moistened snowpack. We left the trail at the double bridges. We started by climbing steep terrain through some nasty trees. Snowshoeing conditions were okay and bushwhacking improved slightly as we slowly made our way along the high bank of the drainage. Following a very long grunt plowing through bush, we beelined to the creekbed below. Smooth sailing ensued. The filled-in creek offered pleasant trekking at a much faster pace. We soon reached the back of the draw where we picked a treed line of ascent to the south ridge. Before gaining the ridge, we encountered some rotten snow; with warm temps and sun, this section might have been less than ideal... Once on the ridge, we easily continued to treeline. We realized the wind had completely died off; how cool is that! We proceeded with optimism, following a Bighorn sheep. The actual scramble is fun but ends all too quickly. We had a decent break at the top, enjoying the beautiful scenery and yet another pause when the sun came out at treeline. Well rested, we resumed our descent. Backtracking was mindless, fast and very pleasant. Even the sidehill section through the tight bush didn't seem so bad... until we headed down towards Galatea Creek Trail... ah yeah, that part's bad!
galatea creek trail

Galatea Creek Trail.

double bridges


At the double bridges.


typical terrain


Typical terrain after the initial nastiness.


ascent ridge


On the ascent ridge.


fortress area


Fortress Ski Area offers a more popular approach.


nearing our objective


Nearing our objective.


rocky ridge


Starting up the rocky ridge.


following a bighorn sheep


Following a Bighorn sheep.


looking back


Looking back at our approximate line of ascent.


no more wind


The wind has completely died down, awesome.


almost there


Almost there.


short narrow sections


Negotiating a couple of short narrow sections.


the top


The top... yip, yippee!


summit dance


Summit dance with Mount Kidd to the right and Kidd South in the background.


leaving the top


Leaving the top.


backtracking


Backtracking was very pleasant; the sun came out which was unexpected!


pleasant trekking


Trekking along...


the fortress


Great view of The Fortress.


back in the draw


Back in the draw.


along the creekbed


Travelling along the creekbed.


path of least resistance


In the winter, the creekbed grants the path of least resistance.


avalanche path marking our beeline


This large avalanche path west of us, 274348, marks our beeline back in the bush (east of the drainage).
Back to home page