Denny, Mount GR:336280

elevation: 3,000 m.  height gain: 1,340 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB
map 82 J/14

Ref: Andrew Nugara's More scrambles in the Canadian Rockies 2nd edition
grizzly creek trail

Following the trail along Grizzly Creek, Mount Potts in the background.
Scramble: RT 12.5; 4.5 up (south summit). During the week my friend Jay said he wanted to scramble Mount Denny, that seemed like a good objective. Marta also got in touch with me and asked what I was doing for the weekend. When I mentioned I was considering a Nugara scramble, she expressed interest. We made plans to scramble on both saturday and sunday, unfortunately Jay bailed last minute. I left Golden friday afternoon and spent some time by Rocky Creek. It was really warm, I enjoyed some shade creekside while I worked on my laptop. I had supper and decided to stay there. Past midnight, a conservation officer knocked on my window and asked me to move. I told her that all the campgrounds were full, she swiftly retorted that I should have planned my weekend in advance and instructed me to drive all the way back to the highway to sleep in the Casino's parking lot. I found it difficult to sleep in the heavily lit parking lot but I managed a couple of hours of rest. The following morning, I met Marta at Rocky Creek and we drove to the start of the hike. A trail above the creek, at times indistinct, led us close to the pass east of Opal Ridge. From the grassy plateau, we started to see our objective. The mountain appeared convoluted, route finding would be challenging on this sustained scramble. Marta and I embraced the task. We left our poles behind and tackled the 600-meter scramble with enthusiasm. Right from the start we encountered some fine hands-on climbing which was never too difficult, although quite exposed in some places. We definitely had to be attentive to pick the easiest way, we even marked some sections to facilitate the way down. The steep slabs can be a bit tricky, especially when covered with rubble. We were pleased and somewhat surprised to reach the summit so soon. We had a good break before starting our traverse to the north summit. We were unsure of the route, Nugara mentions that the ridge crest is exposed, we tried going down right along the ridge proper but a drop off had us backtracking to the ridge. We decided to explore another option before trying the ridge crest. We dropped down the west side and circumvented an outcrop choosing a gully that delivered us to easier scree terrain. From there, the ascent to the peak was easy. The view from the north summit is equally spectacular as the south summit, the Opal Range is truly impressive. We had another break before starting our descent. We were hoping this alternate way down would join to the initial line of ascent. We trended skier's left and circumvented buttresses on slabs and scree until we stepped on familiar terrain. We resumed the rest of the descent carefully, the steep slopes are a bit more tedious on the way down. After picking up our poles at the base of the scramble, we continued hiking casually on the grassy plateau. This objective is a satisfying scramble, going with Marta made it that much more special.

grizzly peak

The northern aspect of Grizzly Peak.

at the pass

The pass east of Opal Ridge gives access to Mount Denny.

mount denny

Mount Denny grants 600 meters of sustained moderate scrambling.

base of the mountain

The base of the mountain.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

scrambling begins

Scrambling begins.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.


Hands-on from the get go!
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

orangutan's face

The rock strata behind Marta resembles an orangutan's face.

vertical section

This vertical section was the crux of the objective.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

steep slabs

Lots of steep slabs.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

remaining to the right of the drainage

We remained climber's right of the major drainage for the whole ascent.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

typical terrain

Typical terrain.

challenging route finding

Route finding can be challenging at times.

looking back

Looking back.

nearing the summit

Nearing the summit.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

the orangutan's still visible

The distinctive orangutan face accompanies us to the top.

mounts potts and evan-thomas

Mounts Potts and Evan-Thomas to the south.

the prairies

The Prairies beyond the Front Ranges.

mount joffre

Spray Lakes and Mount Joffre.

traversing to the north summit

Leaving the south summit for the north summit.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

circumventing an outcrop

Circumventing an outcrop to easier terrain.


Sidehilling on the west side well below the ridge crest.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

looking at our traverse

Looking back, we attempted to traverse along the ridge but we encountered a sudden drop off.

easy climb

Easy climb to the second summit.

staying on firmer ground

Staying on firmer ground climber's right.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

western view

Tall peaks of the Smith-Dorrien Region behind Mounts Lawson and Inflexible.

at the top

Looking over Mount Denny's south summit, Mount Evan-Thomas steals the show.

marta and i

Marta and I feeling happy about the feat.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

opal range

The very impressive Opal Range.

mount assiniboine

Western view towards The Fortress and Gusty Peak, just to name a few; Mount Assiniboine is visible in the distance.

heading down

Heading down under the orangutan's supervision.

view of exposed ridge crest

A clear view of the exposed traverse along the ridge crest.

traverse to original line of ascent

Traversing to the original line of ascent to resume the descent.

slabs and rubble

Slabs and rubble.

hard to see where we've been

It's hard to see where we've been!

tricky descent in places

Some sections are a bit tricky on descent.

almost back down

Almost back down to the grassy plateau.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

leaving the scrambling behind

Leaving the scrambling behind.

last glimpse

Last glimpse.

going to the trail

Making our way to the trail.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

tailgate supper

Well-earned tailgate supper.
Picture courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska.

forest fires

Forest fires near Sunshine Village colour the sky on my drive back home.
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