Labyrinth Mountain

elevation: 2,118 m. height gain: 600 m.
area: Ya Ha Tinda Ranch,AB map 82 O/11

Head towards Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and park along the side of the road at a clearing, 079260, with the Minos-Labyrinth Col to the west. Hike to the river, a trail exists in the trees on the right of the cutblock but it could be difficult to find. Ford the river and bushwhack towards the col, climber's right of the drainage. A good horse trail goes around the west side of the mountain and continues to the Bighorn Campground; it's unclear where to pick up this trail along the river, it seems to veer north, running along the east side of Labyrinth before crossing the river. Once on the trail, follow it until the forest opens up, 047273. Ascend the south-west slopes to the summit.
minos labyrinth col

Minos-Labyrinth Col from the road.

a cheval

Matthew cheval while Crux contemplates other options.
Scramble: RT 8.5; 4.5 up. This weekend we decided to plan a trip with the dogs and head to our new favorite spot, Ya Ha Tinda Ranch. Raff had Labyrinth Mountain in mind, it seemed like a good objective to try with the dogs. In good fashion, Raff invited a couple of victims: So, Matthew and Crux. Fresh snow fell overnight and the temperature was below zero; it felt like winter, even the small mountains were engulfed in low cloud, brrr.... The outing started with an unnecessary crossing of a deep creek; Crux didn't want to cross it so Matt and Fab found an easy way further north. We then crossed the knee-deep Red Deer River; Rupert and Lincoln had no trouble but Daisy hesitated and whined as she crossed, pauvre pitoune. Ice formed on their fur, I was really hoping for some sun soon. After putting our boots back on, we proceeded to bushwhack towards the col, looking for the horse trail. We thrashed blindly before coming to the drainage between Labyrinth and Minos. We knew the trail was supposedly on the north side of the drainage so we traversed and made our way on the sunny side; we found the trail shortly thereafter. Following the trail was delightful, better yet, the sun came out. In a hurry to start climbing, we ascended the light timbered slopes. Well into the trees, we encountered abrasive blocky terrain, Fabrice and Matt stayed behind with the dogs. Above treeline, the convoluted terrain hosting huge blocks is easily negotiated. A short treed summit ridge leads to the top. At the highpoint, we verified we truly reached the summit before stopping to take pictures. Returning wasn't the fastest in the blocky terrain and got even slower when So sprained his ankle. With a fair amount of discomfort, he continued to the horse trail where we met up with the hounds and their masters. We followed the trail until it veers north along labyrinth's east side, we then followed the odd game trail back to the river. Back at the truck, we put the heater on full blast for our hounds and said our goodbyes before retreating to the Bighorn Campground for a great night around a fire.
red deer river

About to ford the Red Deer River.

fording the river

Lincoln says: follow me mummy!

horse trail

On the horse trail with the sun shining.

rupert and lincoln

The boys, Rupert and Lincoln.

lovely trekking

Lovely trekking on the west side of Labyrinth Mountain.

south west slopes

Ascending Labyrinth's south-west slopes.

doggies stay behind

Abrasive rock well below treeline; unfortunately, doggies stay behind...

typical terrain

Typical terrain.

convoluted rocky terrain

Convoluted rocky terrain, not doggy friendly.

looking back

Looking back.

nice rack

Sporting a Bighorn Sheep rack.

summit ridge

Summit ridge.

mount minos

Mount Minos from the top.

summit pose

Summit Kung fu!
Picture courtesy of Raff.

heading down

Heading down.

wapiti mountain

Wapiti Mountain (left) beyond big blocks.

back on the trail

Back on the horse trail.

rejoined with my clan

Rejoined with my fur babies.

dispensing treats

Fabrice is dispensing treats.

matthew and crux

Matthew and his loyal peak-bagging hound, Crux.

lincoln leads fabrice

Lincoln leading Fabrice back to shore.

more treats

More treats for the wet hounds.

get a grip

Raff, get a grip will you!

another fine day

Another fine day beating around the bush!
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