Junction Mountain (Traverse)

elevation: 2,682 m.
height gain: 1,070 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB
map 82 J/10

Ref: Rob Eastik's Album Archive

locate this sign

Locate this sign and follow the wide trail to the river crossing.
Scramble: RT 11.0; 5.25 up. I've been wanting to visit Junction and Pyriform Mountains for quite some time but the distance from Golden made these objectives difficult to plan. Having 3 dogs with no dog-sitter means bringing the troop with us or leaving Fabrice behind to stay with them. Given that Rupert has gone lame and that Fabrice was still recovering from a shoulder separation, I chose to go solo. I left Golden with my hiking gear and drove to Bragg Creek where Wendy was throwing a party before her departure to Nepal with Marta. I retired late after drinking perhaps a bit too much wine but that didn't stop me from getting a pre-dawn start on the day. I left Wendy's before 5 AM and drove to the trailhead. I started hiking as it got light. Just a few minutes after, I easily crossed the Sheep River and picked up the Junction Creek Trail on the other side. The plod on the popular horse trail is long with very little height gain. I hiked mindlessly past the ole sawmill site and reached the 3-Creek Junction, 604043, shortly thereafter. I crossed the creek and kept following the main trail. As I neared 3-Tier Falls and the outfitter's camp (which are located 7 kilometers in) I knew to start looking for a trail that veers east. That trail can be missed, it's about 200 meters before reaching the falls and camp. When you come to a bonfire site, look for the trail; it goes down to the creek and is discernible on the other side (see pictures). I got lucky and noticed the trail but by doing so, I didn't get to see the 3-Tier Falls; I figured I would go see them on my way out. The good secondary trail, that I call the Junction-Pyriform Trail, led me to Junction's west flank, I left it when it started to dip down. I climbed to treeline and sidehilled before I could ascend into Junction's amphitheater. From there, I hiked to the back of the draw and climbed talus climber's left of the summit. I located the breach that Rob Eastik describes, it was a bit tougher than expected but I managed to reef myself up safely. I continued towards "The Cleats" on the ridge crest. At that point, I handrailed a massive gendarme on the west ridge; the summit is a short distance after that. Confident scramblers that have extra energy and time can traverse to Pyriform Mountain, that wasn't an option for me. I enjoyed my stay on the summit before descending the south ridge and beelining down scree to the amphitheater. After another break in the grasses, I resumed the long trek back to the truck. This route is a good alternative to the one described in Andrew's book "More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies"; although not as scenic, it is sheltered and easier.

crossing a drainage

Crossing a drainage about half way on the Junction Creek Trail.

finding the junction-pyriform trail

About 200 meters before the 3-Tier Falls and the outfitter's camp, you'll come across this site; look for the Junction-Pyriform secondary trail that heads east.

secondary trail dips down

The secondary trail dips down to the creek with these falls on the right (south).

crossing junction creek

The trail continues beyond the creek.

another pond

Another pond a moment later.

trail continues on the other side

Again, the trail is picked up on the other side.

ascending to treeline

Off trail and ascending to treeline before traversing towards Junction's amphitheater.

junction amphitheater

Junction's amphitheater with the objective in sight.

back of the draw

In the back of the draw, I'll ascend towards The Cleats.

convinient breach

The convenient breach that Rob Eastik mentions is the crux of this ascent.

the crux

A moderately difficult move is required to surmount the step.

looking back

Looking back at the crux.

going towards the cleats

Continuing towards The Cleats and the massive gendarme.

at the cleats

At The Cleats, I'll head towards the towering gendarme.

massive gendarme

Another view of the gendarme that is handrailed on its south side.

along the rockwall

Looking back as I travel along the rockwall beyond the gendarme.

summit ahead

Summit ahead.

at the top

At the top, looking towards the Prairies.

western view

The western view over the gendarme.

view south

View south with the connecting ridge to Pyriform Mountain and Patterson's Peak in the background on the left.

nugara's north ridge route

The upper section of Andrew Nugara's north ridge route.

trap creek

Trap Creek's major drainage also grants a possible way up this peak.

heading down the south ridge

The Cleats and the gendarme as I head down the south ridge.

easy descent

Easy descent to the saddle.

looking back

Looking back at the summit (right of center).

picking a line

Picking a line skier's left that avoids cliffs and slabs.

back down

Back down in the amphitheater.

a break in the grasses

Enjoying another break in the grasses.

nice loop

Nice loop.


Traversing to my approach.

on the junction-pyriform trail

Back on the Junction-Pyriform Trail.

lovely pond

The lovely pond a saw earlier this morning, as viewed after crossing a small creek.

reaching the main trail

Reaching the main trail with the bonfire site visible on the left.

washed out section

Travelling on a washed out section.

easy ford

The Sheep River is very low and offers an easy ford at this time of the year.
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