Big Sister

elevation: 2,936 m. height gain: 1,200 m.
area: Smith-Dorrien/Spray Area,AB map 82 O/3

Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
at the start

The start of the trail.
Scramble: RT 7.0; 3.75 up. A nice challenging scramble, we are lucky to have had good conditions; although cloudy, it remained dry (the upper mountain's slabs would be tricky wet or snowy). The good trail is a bonus. We started to look for the "keyhole" near treeline. Several cairns indicate a trail traversing right to a gully and climbing about 40-50 m. to a very easy "groove", we are fortunate to have found it right away. Slightly higher off the main trail is another option that we noticed from below (Kane's "keyhole" perhaps?). Once on the ridge, the trail is followed on scree and slabs keeping near the ridge crest until the 5 m. downclimb (indicated by a big cairn off to the left). The 5 m. section appears worse on pictures, we brought a rope and ended up not using it. I'm not making light of it, it did get my heartbeat going! On the traverse to the summit, we didn't have to set foot on snow. Sometimes timing is everything!
traverse to the groove

Looking back at the traverse in the gully from the "groove".

before the groove

Near the top of the "groove", several cairns indicate the way.

in the gully

Beginning the ascent in the gully towards the summit ridge.

slabby section

Slabby section on the summit ridge.


5 m. downclimb, not too bad.


Traverse to the summit, very little snow.

downclimb from traverse

Looking back at the downclimb.

jo at the top

At the top, there is a nice shelter of rocks.

pointing at the groove

Pointing towards the "groove".

at the groove

Standing at the base of the "groove".

another option

Another option, (Kane's keyhole) as seen from below. The trail in the gully leads to it, it is slightly above the "groove".
Back to home page