Townsend, Mount GR:232684

elevation: 2,820 m. height gain: 1,520 m.
area: Canmore,AB map 82 O/3

Ref: cougar creek

Cougar Creek early morning.
Scramble: RT 13.5; 7.0 up. Mount Townsend is an exciting scramble that offers fine views over some of Canmore's landmarks. It's remote location and tedious 11 kilometer approach over boulders in Cougar Creek deters most traffic. Jamie's trip report was timely as I was searching for an objective in the dry Front Ranges, our local mountains west of the Divide are still quite snowbound. I knew I was capable of hiking 30 kilometers but I wasn't sure about doing that entire distance on loose, mountainous terrain. Barely 5 months post ACL surgery, this outing would be a true test for me! Well, I am a keen determined individual and decided it was worth the try; if I could pull that off, I was good to go on most objectives. Charles met us at the trailhead, we hadn't seen him for a long time. We also agreed to hook up with Raff on the trail. I hiked the creekbed slowly and methodically, I had to favore my healing liguament and learn to trust my knee again. Once joined with Raff and Wietse, we continued to the base of the mountain. The ascent looked steep and the upper slabs even steeper. I was questionning my decision to tackle this outing when I started climbing the loose terrain; how would I come down safely? Somewhat stubborn, I figured I best focus on the ascent and deal with the descent when it comes... maybe not the best way to go but as I'm here writing about it, it's a moot point! The climb got better as we reached higher grounds, loose scree and talus lead way to firmer terrain on a ridge feature interupted by a short scramble and slabs. Although the sections are somewhat exposed, they remained manageable in the moderate range. We reached the upper mountain in good spirits, the weather was perfect. We traversed at the base of the headwall and moved toward the final slabs. A weakness is easily followed to more scree and the summit ridge. My hiking partners were quite impressed with my ascent, so was I but I knew better to cheer when only half way... the toughest was yet to come, the descent! After a good stay at the top, we started heading down. I suggested to the others to just go ahead and not wait but Raff decided to hang back until I reached the creekbed. Down from the mountain, we regrouped with Charles and Wietse before they carried on. Fab and I stayed back, I took my boots and my brace off. I also traded pants for shorts, it sure felt like summer. Following another fine break, I was ready to resume the long and tedious return back to the car!
long approach

Still a long ways away from our objective...

tedious hiking

Tedious hiking in the creekbed.

mount townsend

After 11 kilometers in the creekbed, Mount Townsend comes into view (far right of center).

loose and steep

Loose and steep at first.

prominent rib

Following a prominent rib.

circumventing a drop

Circumvented a drop off; this is also the crux.

nearing the upper mountain

Nearing the upper mountain.

steep slabs ahead

Steep slabs on the prominent rib.

going up the slabs

Ascending the slabs.

traverse below the headwall

Traversing below the headwall.

staying near the wall

Staying near the rockwall.

short scramble

A short scramble leads to the upper scree slopes and slabs.

aiming for a weakness

Aiming for the weakness in the slab visible on the right.

weakness in the slab

A scree traverse constitutes the weakness in the slab.

summit ridge

Summit ridge, with striking Mount Fable south of us.

at the top

All smiles at the top of my first "real scramble" post ACL surgery!!!
Picture courtesy of Raff.

looking down our route

Looking down our route.

eastern view

Eastern view toward the Prairies.

summit posse

Summit possee: Wietse, Raff in yellow, Fabrice flashing a peace sign and Charlotz!!!

yours truly

Yours truly.

heading down

Heading down.

using the weakness

Using the weakness through the upper slab.

short scramble

Short scramble to the traverse below the headwall.

easy traverse

Easy traverse back to the prominent rib.

south western view

South-western view with Cougar Peak on the right.

prominent rib

Back on the prominent rib.

steep slabs

Negotiating the steep slabs.

good fun

Not that bad, good fun!!!
Picture courtesy of Raff.

nearing the crux

Nearing the moderately exposed crux.
climbing the crux

Climbing the crux.
Picture courtesy of Raff.
making our way down

Making our way back down to the creekbed.

returning in cougar creek

Very warm afternoon returning in the Cougar Creek drainage.
back at the trailhead

Three Sisters on the left as we finally reach the trailhead!
Back to home page