McHarg, Mount

elevation: 2,888 m. height gain: 1,180 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/11

Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies

Leaving the parking lot in the drizzle.
Scramble: RT 5.5 (including Mount Worthington); 2.5 up from Three Isle Lake. I was really looking forward to this outing at Three Isle Lake; it was our last overnight trip for this summer. As the week progressed, the outstanding weather started to deteriorate for sunday and monday, especially monday... We decided to go anyway as our hounds were prebooked at Aunty Lisa's and we already paid for our spot at the campground. We were banking on summiting sunday and planned to ascend Mounts McHarg and Worthington after dropping extra stuff at the campground. We would have to wait and see if the weather would allow an ascent of Mount Putnik on monday, on our way out.

Approach: The forecast called for 40% chance of thundershowers on sunday afternoon; we knew we had to get an early start. After work, we drove to the Interlakes parking lot and got there in the evening. The night was clear, we slept well. We woke up by dawn and got going by 7:30 AM; the sky had already covered up and it was windy and drizzling. The trail is easy hiking and somewhat sheltered, we remained optimistic about our goal. We took a break at the Forks Campground, at this point the sun started to filter through the clouds. We continued with rejuvenated spirits! After a while, we started climbing towards the headwall. A staircase leads up some slab and the trail continues to the crest before dipping down to the campground and lake; it took us four hours.

We dropped extra gear and laid a tarp overtop, spreading it across our site to keep the ground dry; we left right after that. Travelling is fast along the southern lakeshore, there's a good trail. Further, we aimed for light timbered slopes towards Mount Worthington and traversed above treeline. When we neared the pass, we started climbing the easy south ridge. We followed the path of least resistance and continued ascending between McHarg and Worthington. Mount McHarg looks more like a summit compared to Worthington, which appeared to be no more than a scree slope from here. We made it to the top of McHarg under patchy sky. The view of the Royal Group is phenomenal, we were lucky to be able to enjoy the sights and still be dry! I quickly focused my attention on the other summit just a skip and a hop away. Fab pulled out his lunch and watched me from there, not caring much for the extension.

upper kananaskis lake

Aster Lake beyond Upper Kananaskis Lake.

mounts worthington and putnik

Mounts Worthington (center) and Putnik (right).

nearing the headwall

Nearing the headwall with much better weather.


Nice staircase across a slab.

mount putnik

Mount Putnik.

at the campground

At the campground, looking across Three Isle Lake towards Mount Worthington.

leaving the trail

Leaving the trail for the light timbered slopes on the left.

looking back

Looking back as we execute a climbing traverse.

mount northover

On the other side of Mount Northover (center) is Aster Lake.

easy travelling

Easy travelling towards the pass.

nearing the pass

Further up, we veered climber's right and gained the south ridge.

south ridge

The south ridge of Mount Worthington.

looking back again

Looking back again, Three Isle Lake on the left.

aiming for the sliver of snow

Heading for the sliver of snow between the two objectives.

mount king george

Stunning Mount King George.

mount joffre

Mount Joffre stands out!

summit ridge

Following the summit ridge of Mount McHarg.

at the top

South-eastern view from the top.

view north

View north towards Mount Sir Douglas (left center).

Continue on to Mount Worthington
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