Pulsatilla Mountain

elevation: 3,035 m. height gain: 2,075 m. (includes height loss)
area: Banff/Bow Valley,AB map 82 N/8-O/5

Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies.
end of the trail

Looking across the Bow Valley from the trail's end.
Scramble: RT 13.5; 7.0 up. Fab and I were very excited about this trip. The remote summit has a definite appeal and the opportunity to travel most of the way on glacial bedrock makes this outing extremely special. I recall my first visit to Castle Mountain's upper basin and plateaus, I felt so elated just witnessing the scenery. Not that many trips offer this type of magnificent and ancient landscapes. We looked forward to trekking the rocky basin. The good approach trail is a bonus. It is easy to find on the east side of highway 1A (little over 1 kilometer south of Baker Creek Chalets), opposite to a pull-off. It is indicated on older maps. When we reached the end of the trail, at treeline, the sun was still rising behind Protection Mountain. After some trudging up loose talus, we gained the ridge crest and got our first glimpse at Pulsatilla Mountain. The expansive rocky basin is breathtaking, we were eager to get down there. We had a quick break discussing a general line of travel and off we went. Hiking on the karst pavement was delightful; we relished the experience. With no boring moments, we neared the upper tarn and got sight of our ascent. We walked along the snowy shore and started climbing towards the traverse. The ascent is straightforward; we put in the effort and acquired a great reward! At the top, the weather moved in and we soon stood in a snow squall... We had a quick half hour break and left before our fingers froze! As we returned, so did the fine weather. We took a more direct line to the basin below, where we stopped for a while. We didn't want to leave... we lingered... Unfortunately, we were both aware of how far we still had to go; so boots went back on to resume our return towards Protection's mountainside. Travelling here doesn't get old no matter how tired you are. We used the last of the rocky benches and snow to gain the ridge of Protection once again. Ouff, it's all downhill from here. At this point, we were looking forward to stepping back on the trail! Returning was uneventful until lower down; we didn't dare slow down as bugs attacked even in full stride!
traverse to the ridge crest

We traversed above an old mine shaft, past the snowpatches then we ascended to the ridge.

ascending talus

Climbing talus to the ridge.

small rockband

A small rockband is easily breached (center).

pulsatilla mountain

Pulsatilla Mountain from Protection Mountain's ridge.

simply amazing

Coming down the ridge and setting foot on the amazing rock.

crossing a creek

Crossing a small creek on the elevated rocky basin.

karst pavement

Karst pavement like none other!

very old rock

Similar to Castle Mountain's geology, the rock was formed in the Middle Cambrian period, 530 million years ago.

armor peak

Armor Peak (left) is one of Protection Mountain's northern summits.

enjoyable and special

Hiking towards Pulsatilla is enjoyable and quite special.

awesome landscape

Awesome landscape of glacial bedrock.

benches and small tarns

Benches and small tarns, very little vegetation.

heading towards a hidden tarn

Heading towards a hidden tarn above.

looking back

Looking back as we near the hidden tarn.

summit in sight

Reaching the tarn with the summit in sight.

armor peak above the tarn

Armor Peak above the tarn.

ascending to the traverse

Ascending to the traverse.

television peak

Television Peak in the background.


Traversing easy terrain.

small rockband

Coming through a small rockband.

at the top

Yeah, half way!!!

north-western view

The view north-west.

castle, helena and stuart knob

Looking towards Castle Mountain (center), Helena Ridge (left) and Stuart Knob (right).

badger pass

Badger Pass to the east.

heading down

Heading down.

more direct line of descent

This time we skirt the tarn on the north shore for a more direct line of descent.

copper rock

Copper rock.

good view of protection mountain's ascent

A good view of the ascent back up Protection Mountain.

awe inspiring

Travelling through this landscape is awe inspiring.

lower plateaus

The lower plateaus hold a bit more vegetation.

lovely creek

A creek offers a great area for a break.

glacial bedrock

More glacial bedrock.

larger tarn

A larger tarn at the edge of the plateau.

going back up protection

Going back up Protection Mountain.

small rock benches

Using the small rock benches.

on the ridge crest

Cresting over the ridge.

trail below

Getting close to the trail below... relief...

old building in pieces

Remnant of an old building.

buggy marshes

Back in the buggy marshes!
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