Mount St. Piran
September 25, 2011
Lake Louise, AB
Mt. St. Piran is one of the easiest, and thus, one of the most popular “scramble” ascents near Lake Louise. I put a quotation mark as it’s essentially following a well-beaten trail/path to the summit, but it does get loose near the top. After ascending Mt. Temple the day before, my parents and I decided to do something less demanding. However, I still wanted to take advantage of this fall season, that was, to go somewhere with abundant larch trees. But the weather didn’t cooperate. The forecast predicted cloudy with isolated showers. My original plan was to hike to Lake Agnes, and scramble up Mt. Niblock. But if raining, the route up that mountain might be dangerous (lack of experience for sure), so we decided to make final decision at Lake Agnes and see what we’d end up doing.
The trail-head was at the popular Lake Louise. Millions of tourists visit this place each year, but only less than 2% of them venture into the mountains 1 km away from their vehicles. We passes Mirror Lake on this 3.8 km trail to Lake Agnes. This is my second time here (first time was in 2009 and did The Beehive), and the weather was still cloudy. When we got to the other end of the lake, the fun part began. We saw several big white creatures on the slope above us to the right, and my parents thought they were bears… I figured there’s no way as why the heck “bears” appearing white rather than brown/black… But I couldn’t convince them. As a result, we were forced to go towards the opposite direction. That’s why we visited Big Beehive, which was not in our original plan. However, we did realize they were not bears and they were just mountain goats after talking to other fellows, so we went back, but nonetheless we did get some good views from Big Beehive.
Unfortunately, a rain storm came from west ruining some of my more aggressive thoughts. Instead of Mt. Niblock, we made the final decision to scramble up Mt. St. Piran, the easiest mountain in this region. I think the crux is to locate the trail. The trail was unsigned and we ended up too far to Little Beehive… Anyway, since we hadn’t visited Little Beehive before, it was okay. We backtracked to find the correct St. Piran Trail. There was nothing but tens of switchbacks to reach the summit. However, mom wasn’t comfortable on the wind and the big slope, so we did it slowly. On the summit, Bow Valley and Skoki Area fill in the view to east. Looking southwest, the Lake Louise Giants are still way higher than us!
It was extremely windy on the summit, and we could see another storm approaching at a rapid pace. We didn’t linger any longer but immediately started going down. But as usual, downhill “scrambling” on loose terrain might not be as easy as we’d expect especially given the fact we were both newbie scramblers. And thus as expected, we got soaked by this storm pretty badly…
We rejoined dad at Lake Agnes’ tea house and resumed the descent together. The rest of the return back to car was uneventful except for the amount of tourists that we passed. And after that it’s time to drive home…