Lady MacDonald, Mount

elevation: 2,605 m  height gain: 1,325 m.
area: Canmore,AB
map 82 O/3

Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
failed attempt

Failed attempt in 2008.
Scramble: RT 7.0; 4.0 up. This difficult scramble was a long time coming. I had attempted it in 2008 and had to turn away due to lingering snow on the ridge. I had also been there in the 90's with a friend that had brought a dog; needless to say, we didn't make it. To be fair, I don't think I had the head space to deal with the exposure at that time anyway. When I decided to try this ascent again, it was to "close the book" on Lady Mac whether I succeeded or not. I felt ready to tackle the challenge. The hike to the unfinished teahouse was familiar, I really appreciated the direct climb on the well-used trail. When we started breaking out of the trees, I started to feel overwhelmed with anticipation. We took a break on the platform, the weather seemed to be holding just fine. There was no one there yet, we had the whole upper mountain to ourselves. I kept looking at the ridge and slabs above, I couldn't wait to see how I would fair out this time. Once replenished, we carried on to the summit ridge. We avoided the loose scree trail by staying on firmer rock to the sides. When I stepped on the ridge and looked at what lay ahead, my inner voice said: bring it on! I started on the ridge first with no hesitation, the scrambling was easier than anticipated. The crux is indeed exposed, I straddled the really skinny part until I had good footholds on the slab to resume walking and grabbing the spine. I was surprised to see how calm and collected I remained, I loved it! We stayed at the top for awhile before backtracking. I felt at ease and wasn't intimidated to walk the exposed ridge again, all the years of challenging myself were finally paying off. We took numerous pictures on the ridge, it grants awesome photo opportunities. Down below, on the platform, hoards of people had already gathered but nobody was on the ridge yet. We met the first climbers of the day on the south summit, they enquired about the ridge and went ahead to give it a try. We used the scree for a speedy descent and took another break before the platform, then, we resumed the hike among the crowds. I loved this scramble, the only downside was hearing the highway pretty much the whole time. Make sure to get an early start to beat the traffic on this popular objective.

very popular trail

Very popular approach trail.


A marmot basking in the sun.

blue alpine phacelia

Silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea).


Close up of a pika.

three sisters

Three Sisters shrouded by cloud.

objective ahead

The objective ahead.

on the platform

Taking pictures from the platform.

old launch

An old launch beyond the platform.

false summit ahead

Climbing to the false summit.

breaking out of the clouds

Breaking out of the clouds.

false summit

Reaching the false summit.

connecting ridge

Engaging on the connecting ridge.

narrow sections

Some narrow sections require caution.

fabrice on a narrow part

Fabrice negotiating a narrow section.

easier than anticipated

The ridge is easier than anticipated.

looking back

Looking back.

walking carefully

Walking carefully on the wider part of the crux.

a cheval

A cheval for a brief exposed section.

typical technique

This picture demonstrates the typical technique to cross the crux.

at the top

At the top.



on the crux

On the crux.

walking the wider part

Walking the wider part.

fab's turn

Fab's turn on the airy crux.


Posing on an outcrop.

a dip in the ridge

A dip in the connecting ridge.

calm and collected

Strutting the ridge crest calm and collected.

heading back down

Heading back down.

view west

Classic western view over Canmore.

cougar sign

Cougars in the mountains...
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