January 20, 2013
Southern Banff Park – Spray Lake, AB
Fortulent Peak is a very unofficial name of the unnamed peak immediately north of Mt. Fortune near Spray Lakes. It’s basically the south end of the long ridge leading all the way to Mt. Turbulent, so technically it isn’t prominent enough to qualify a separate summit given the unofficial status. However, it’s well documented in Andrew Nugara’s Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies book, and I’m intended to finish this list, so I have to give it a go.
After summitting Mount Fortune, Ben and I immediately dropped down towards Fortune/Fortulent col. It turned out that we indeed needed snowshoes as the col held a lot of snow. We didn’t lose much elevation before starting up again. The entire slope was blown bare on climber’s left and center, so we ditched snowshoes at snowline.
Slogging up frozen scree and some snow, we quickly gained elevation. There are a couple of easy to moderate scramble sections before the summit. They could be circumvented on climber’s left side, but we didn’t bother. Once we topped out on the summit, the other side fully opened up, and Mount Turbulent appeared to be a true slog. Fortulent Peak has twin summits, and we checked the other one as well. The view down towards Spray River valley was much better from this summit, and looking back to the first summit revealed some cornice scenery. We briefly considered continuing the ridge towards the next high point, 1.5 km away, but decided against it.
Once we got down the scrambling section, we took the snow on skier’s left and got a great glissade. Once down the alpine section, we all enjoyed a super fast plunge (on snowshoes). It only took us roughly 20min to descend back to the lake. For snowshoeing downhill, we want it to be as slippery as possible so we can glide. Except for the deadfalls, it was very enjoyable. The afternoon sun provided some different views on the lake. Again, there was no wind. Once making back to the other side, we retraced our tracks to parking lot. There were lots of cross country skiers.
We decided to drive home via Highway 40. I spotted a less exposed route to Little Chester differing from the gully in Nugara’s snowshoeing book. I actually made to that summit in summer, but didn’t count as it was literally just a 10-minute side trip from Mt. Chester. Commonwealth Ridge and Tent Ridge both appeared dry on upper ridge/slope. Opal Ridge (true summit)’s entire slope was dry. We eventually made back to Calgary before sunset. Good timing for a moderately long trip in January.