Read's Tower GR:207440

elevation: 2,662 m. height gain: 925 m.
area: Smith-Dorrien/Spray Area,AB map 82 J/14

Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies
at the start

Mount Sparrowhawk peeks above Read's Ridge.
Snowshoe trip: RT 6.5; 3.25 up. We set off early to head out to sunny Kananaskis Country. Well aware of the recent strong winds battering this region, we expected scoured slopes in the alpine. We met Charles at the unplowed Sparrowhawk Parking area; there were already several cars along the road. The air was crisp and the sky was clear, a promising day. The trail was well packed, we hiked up casually. Near treeline, we came across some avalanche debris in mature trees; we couldn't see the trigger point. Shortly thereafter, we saw the terrain feature where the cornice had fractured. With the recent strong winds, lee slopes are loaded with stiff slabs. Beyond that, at treeline, we followed the wind-swept ridge. The ascent was easy and the weather was fantastic. We enjoyed a good summit stay; we saw two teams of skiers come up the ridge and ski down the same way... Numerous fishing huts dotted the ice on the lake and we noticed a skier pulled by a kite. It was a very busy day out here. Reluctant to head down, we lollygagged plenty on our return.
trail is well packed

The trail is well packed by skiers and snowshoers.

veering left towards the ridge

We headed left near some bluffs, it's impossible to miss all the blue flagging!

avalanche debris

Avalanche debris near treeline surprised us...

fractured cornice

At treeline, this terrain feature promotes cornice formation.

big blocks of stiff slab

Big blocks of stiff slab are evidence of the recent wind event.

breaking out of the trees

Breaking out of the trees and debris.

ascending scoured slopes

The rest of the ascent is scoured by wind.

ski touring destination

The south-west slopes of Sparrowhawk offer good skiing under the right conditions... not today!

approaching our objective

Approaching our objective.

very straightforward

Very straightforward.

cornice along the way

One would not want to be distracted and step on this cornice...

summit cairn

Summit cairn with Mount Sparrowhawk in the background.

south-western view

Spray Lakes Reservoir, looking south-west.

lounging at the top

Lounging at the top; enjoying a warm, sunny day.

pleasant outing

Pleasant outing and great weather for January.

fracture line

Fracture line of the slab avalanche.

avalanche debris

Debris appears to be a few days old, it ran well into the trees.

another fine day

Another fine day out in the mountains.
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