Pyriform Mountain

elevation: 2,621 m.  height gain: 1,010 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB
map 82 J/10

Ref: The Raffinator

** Additional information on the approach can be found on my Junction Mountain page **

bonfire site

This bonfire site indicates the Junction-Pyriform Trail heading east.
Scramble: RT 13.0; 6.75 up. Pyriform Mountain is alluring; I was thrilled to come across Rob Eastik's trip report a while back, even if the route is vaguely described. Since then, several routes have been described such as the traverse from Junction and the ascent of the north-west ridge of Pyriform; both of these require moderately difficult scrambling. Raff also climbed this obscure objective via Junction Creek recently, he informed me that the scramble up the west slopes is only class 2. That was the perfect objective to undertake as a solo trip; I had hiked the Junction Creek Trail two weeks prior, I knew the level of the river and I also knew the location of the Junction-Pyriform Trail. My plan was to walk the Junction Creek Trail in the dark, this would give me plenty of time to trudge in the snow at treeline and beyond. Once again, I left Golden and drove to the trailhead. The following morning I started in the dark, crossed the river and hiked the trail. Déjà vu, except for the darkness and how wet, muddy and slick the rutted trail was. Once on the secondary trail, I hiked past where I had turned off for Junction the other week and continued all the way to treeline on Pyriform's north-west ridge, 615002. I lost the trail due to snow cover but from there, I began traversing towards the ascent slopes. I roughly skirted treeline in boot-top snow heading south with Pyriform's cliffs looming above on my left. After crossing the prominent west facing drainage, I started my ascent on the snowy slopes. The snow was shallow and wind-driven, this was better than loose talus. It was really windy so there was not much stopping. At the summit block, I went around on the west side and handrailed the cliffs until I was able to climb on the summit ridge. I was careful here, there was enough drifted snow to create unstable pockets. Following a short scramble, I gained the blocky ridge crest and walked to the southern point which is the summit. The wind was brutal and the snow was pricking my face. My fingers froze quickly as I took pictures of the grey scenery, the view was greatly reduced but the amazing strata of the jagged Dogtooth Ridge really caught my attention, I love this ridge! I don't think I stayed 5 minutes before leaving. I was now facing the wind and I really regretted forgetting my goggles, I squinted and blindly retraced my way off the ridge; I was really happy to reach some shelter at treeline. Backtracking was uneventful and long but I was in my happy place. I reached the truck just before dark, it was a really good trip!

crossing junction creek

The trail continues on the other side of Junction Creek.

little waterfall

A little waterfall at the creek crossing.

beautiful pond

A beautiful pond a bit further.

crossing another creek

The trail is picked up beyond this smaller creek.

junction-pyriform trail

The Junction-Pyriform Trail is worth locating.

trail leads to pyriform's north-west ridge

The trail continues past the Junction-Pyriform drainage and ascends Pyriform's north-west ridge.


At treeline, I sidehilled heading south towards Pyriform's west facing draw.

pyriform's cliffs

Pyriform's cliffs are draped with ice.

nearing the draw

Nearing the draw with the ascent slopes ahead.

west facing drainage

Pyriform's west facing drainage.

the ascent slopes

The ascent slopes.

dogtooth ridge

Dogtooth Ridge is truly impressive.

higher on the ascent slopes

More of the ascent slopes, the snow helped.

hair of the dog

The Hair of the Dog on the jagged ridge.

striking strata on dogtooth ridge

The strata on Dogtooth Ridge is striking!

cliffy summit ridge

The cliffy summit ridge comes in view.

hanrailing the cliffs

Handrailing the cliffs on the west side until I can find a way to climb above.

on the summit ridge

A short scramble delivers me on the summit ridge.

summit ahead

The summit up ahead.

at the top

At the top with very little visibility and a cold strong wind, Dogtooth Mountain just south of me.

i love dogtooth ridge

I love this impressive ridge but I can't see Patterson's Peak beyond.

view north

View north towards Junction Mountain.

heading down

Heading down with the wind in my face, I wish I had my goggles...

junction mountain barely visible

Junction Mountain is barely visible (right of center).

retracing my steps

Retracing my steps down the west facing slopes.

lull in the wind

A lull in the wind before all hell breaks loose!

here we go again

Here we go again...

windy like hell

Windy like hell.

happy to reach treeline

Happy to reach treeline and shelter.


Backtracking to my sidehilling traverse.



glancing at the icy cliffs

Glancing at the icy cliffs of the north-west ridge of Pyriform.

back on the secondary trail

Back on the Junction-Pyriform Trail.

trail is easy to follow

The trail is easy to follow and not as messy as the main trail.

cool pond

A cool pond a short distance from the main trail.

back on the main trail

Back on the Junction Creek Trail.

wet, muddy and rutted

Wet, muddy and rutted; where are the cowboys when you need them?

gravel flats

On the gravel flats, the trail remains on the west side.

mud fest

Mud fest.

neat but slippery

Neat but slippery when wet.

river crossing

Sheep River crossing, brrrr.....
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