McDougall, Mount

elevation: 2,726 m. height gain: 1,220 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/14

Mount McDougall is often ascended as part of a traverse from either Volcano Peak (south-west ridge) or Old Baldy Mountain (north-west ridge). It can also easily be accessed from its west basin. Take the Evan Thomas Creek Trail, which leads to the Old Baldy Trail. The latter trail runs along a creek, it is followed to a fork marked by a small waterfall, 348397. The east fork goes to McDougall's west basin. Further up that fork, we crossed on the south side of the drainage to reach the west slopes and summit ridge.
evan thomas trail

Sections of the Evan Thomas Trail are washed away.
Scramble: RT 9.5; 5.0 up. Mount McDougall is not a difficult destination but it gave us a run for our money! It took us a couple of tries before we finally reached the top. The first attempt was during winter via Volcano Peak; we turned around on the connecting ridge due to unsurpassable cornices on a narrow section. A second attempt in spring saw us abort our plod near the head of the west basin because of avalanche hazard. This time, we figured the snow wasn't sufficient to be a hindrance; we chose to approach from the drainage again. We were shocked to see the undercut banks on the initial part of the trail; the recent massive flood has left its mark... The Old Baldy Trail also has parts washed away but we were able to proceed along the drainage to the fork with little difficulty. We continued up the east fork, it was easy to deal with the minimal amount of snow; a great improvement from our last visit. Near the head of the draw, we crossed the creek to its south side and ascended to treeline. Finally, the sun was upon us and it felt warm; with no clouds in sight, we hiked up the upper west slopes. We made it to the top in good spirits, relieved to be successful this time! There was no wind so we lazed atop for a while. We waited on a person whom made it across the south-west ridge with much hesitation; after congratulating him, we started descending the same way we came. Returning was pleasant, we enjoyed the perfect weather well into the afternoon. We're grateful for this fine October day in the mountain!
old baldy turn off

A cairn indicates the Old Baldy Trail turn off.

nearing the fork

Following the drainage towards the fork.

at the fork

At the fork with the dry waterfall at the right margin.

east fork

Travelling climber's left of the east fork.

nearing treeline

We crossed over to the south side of the drainage before the upper draw.

looking back

Looking back.


At treeline.

upper draw

Manageable snow depth in the upper draw.

looking back again

Looking back again.

north-west ridge

North-west summit ridge.

north-western view

North-western view.

view east

Eastern view from the ridge.

last stretch

Last stretch.

at the top

At the top.

volcano peak

The south-west ridge leading to Volcano Peak.

time to leave

Leaving the summit with Old Baldy Mountain in the background.

down quickly

Volcano Peak from the draw.


Backtracking in the trees.

hiking on grasses

Travelling on the sun-baked side.

old baldy ridge

Old Baldy Ridge in front of us.
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