Copper Mountain

elevation: 2,795 m. height gain: 1,375 m.
area: Banff/Bow Valley,AB map 82 O/4

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

Stashing our bikes near the food preparation area.
Scramble: RT: 9.0; 4.25 up. Fab and I had attempted Copper well over a decade ago. We figured it might be a good destination, considering the ascent gully is open and south facing. After stashing our bikes, we set off in a climbing traverse towards the ascent gully. Finding it is easy with good visibility; we recognized several features from other trip reports. The ascent is delightful, on steep grasses and wild flowers. The upper mountain requires some scrambling before reaching the ridge crest. We had a cornice to surmount, this was the crux. Fab went to the thinnest spot of the cornice and hacked at it with a ski pole while hanging on to his deeply plunged axe... I wasn't even sure if I would be able to follow... A wet point release came down the adjacent gully adding to my tension, I watched it cascade down and over the rocks. Now armed with gloves and my alpine axe, I took several deep breaths and proceeded to the prepared cornice. Committing to the last couple of steps was tough, Fab lent me a hand and pulled me up (Mount Hector came to mind)! From the summit ridge, we walked to the top enjoying the awesome view all around. We stayed for an hour and celebrated my 200th summit in the Rockies. The weather started to move in. As we headed down, snow was falling for a short time. We soon found the alternate descent gully. It was fast going down, on snow mostly. The loose, fine shale facilitates the uninterrupted and direct descent back to the campground. Very, very nice loop! The bike ride down to the car is a bonus.

From the table, the pinnacle is an obvious landmark.

wide open avalanche path

The view up the route once in the right gully.

near treeline

The grassy rib divides two gullies.

the sheer wall is easily seen from below

We cross over, climber's right towards the noticeable sheer wall.

run-out to the creek

Looking down, the run-out zone meets the creek.

a good look at the scramble ahead

The grade eases before the upper mountain.

climber's left is not as steep

Several lines of ascent are possible.

pleasant steep hiking

The ground is firm and still grassy.

sheer wall

Remarkable sheer wall along the way.

still grassy

I used my hands on the steeper section.

most of the snow is avoidable

Nearing the summit ridge.

cornice ahead

The cornice could have turned us around...

on the summit ridge

Pilot Mountain and Mount Brett from the summit ridge.

west ridge

The very broad west ridge, Mount Ball in the background.

at the top

Fab sitting by the cairn.

my 200th yahooooooooooooo!

Head-stand next to the benchmark, my 200th summit!!!!!!!!!

alternate gully

Taking the alternate gully for the return.

fast descent

Filled with soft snow for a very fast descent.

starting down

Just below the cornice.

no more snow

Last glimpse of the ridge crest.


Uninterrupted gully with fine shale, primo!

almost at the bottom

Near the bottom of the gully.

almost at the bikes

The alternate descent behind me and the pinnacle.
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