Twin Towers GR:326537

elevation: 2,300 m. height gain: 1,080 m.
area: Exshaw,AB map 82 O/3

Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
top of heart mountain

From the top of Heart Mountain, the Twin Towers appear.
Snowshoe trip: RT 11.0; 6.25 up. This outing was a lengthy one! We knew about the recent snowstorm in the region, a ridge walk seemed appropriate. We chose to bring crampons, snowshoes and a rope. That was a good call, we used all the stuff. Fab and I both had ascended Heart Mountain over 10 years ago while doing the horseshoe loop, the highpoint now called Grant MacEwan Peak. We didn't know that an ascent up the beautiful west tower was possible. A couple of trip reports on the web raised interest, so we decided to give it a try. The ascent up Heart was pleasant, crampons made short work of the hard packed trail. Once at the top, all traffic ended. The Towers seemed so far, even Grant MacEwan appeared distant. We strapped on the snowshoes and off we went. Trail breaking was variable without too much post-holing. It took us a while to reach the crux of the route, a 4-meter downclimb. It was hard to recognize the traverse west to the drop with all the snow. We established an anchor and Fab went on ahead (west) on a ledge and down a weakness in the rock wall. I followed and left the rope behind for the ascent later. Looking back confirmed we used the right route, I don't know that I would come this way without a rope... The partially windblown ridge up the first tower was interesting with some narrow snowy sections, an enjoyable scramble. We steered into the scree for the last bit to the west twin. From there, it is a short distance to the east twin and true summit. As we sat down to eat our lunch, snow devils sprung up and soon drove us off the top. We retraced our steps to our rope and crux. The ascent was easier but slightly awkward with snowshoes on a bulky pack that kept catching against the wall. Back on the ridge, we regained Grant MacEwan and continued without much stopping; the wind had become relentless and bitterly cold... Eventually we arrived back on Heart Mountain where new tracks indicated the top had seen some visitors during the day. Coming down the steep trail, we warmed up as the wind diminished.

snowshoes beyond this point

Snowshoes required to continue the trip.

grant macewan peak

On the summit of Grant MacEwan Peak, the highpoint of the Heart Mountain Loop.

the objective

The objective from the top of the crux.

traverse to the downclimb

Traversing to the 4-meter downclimb.


Looking up the downclimb.

ascent ridge

The ascent ridge is interesting.

first tower

The first tower is beautiful.

nearing the top

We veered towards the scree for an easy ascent.

scree slope

Up the scree to the top.

mount mcgillivray

Mount McGillivray behind Fab.

top of the first tower

At the top of the first of the Twin Towers.

slight height loss

Slight height loss on the south side to reach the second tower.

connecting ridge

The connecting ridge from the second Twin.

second tower

North-eastern view.

mountain scenery

Mountain scenery to the south.

heading back

Heading back up the first tower.

leaving the scree slope

Leaving the scree slope.

along the ridge

Along the ridge.

another glimpse

Another glimpse towards the Twin Towers.


The route we used in red.

about to climb

Past the tree, I'll belay Fab.

gaining the ridge

Gaining the ridge after the crux.

au revoir

Bye bye Twins.

steep and fast trail

Fast and furious Fab.
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