Skoki Mountain

September 22, 2012

2697m

Skoki / Banff National Park, AB

Not needing much of an introduction, this is an objective in Skoki area… It’s probably the easiest speaking technically but far from easy to approach. Folks doing this scramble usually camp somewhere in one of the many camp sites but Mike and I decided to do it in one day, together with the nearby Oyster Peak. This was the second objective of this insanely long day and we were still very motivated.

Oyster Peak and Skoki Mountain standard scramble route

Oyster Peak and Skoki Mountain standard scramble route

The west face descent of Oyster Peak ended at bushwhacking down to Oyster Creek, where we re-filled our water bottles. The direction to Skoki Mountain was a bit confusing. We failed to reach the correct Jones Pass trail, and ended up too far down towards Red Deer Lakes. We had to do more bushwhacking to regain the proper trail. Jones Pass is less scenic comparing to what we’ve just seen. We quickly moved over the pass without being distracted by the views. There was more elevation loss to get down to Skoki Lodge though, which was very frustrating. We took a short break at the lodge, getting ready to the slog up Skoki Mountain.

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The beautiful fall colours, just after coming down from Oyster Peak

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Skoki Lodge

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Skoki Mountain seen from Skoki Lodge

The trail is right at the back of the outhouse. It’s marked and well-maintained. So make sure you find the correct trail up. We gained elevation quickly. At treeline, we could see the rest of the way: a huge scree slope… Well, at least we only had 300 m more elevation to gain. There’s nothing to describe here. The scrambling was very boring but the view was good.

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The typical slog…

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Summit View. Click to view large size.

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Cyclone Mountain

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Red Deer Lake below. Mount Drummond in the distance.

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Red Deer Lake

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Looking far East into Banff front country

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Tilted Peak right of center. Lychnis Mountain is the big one of left skyline.

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Mount Douglas rises behind Oyster Peak

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Fossil Mountain

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Mount Douglas and Mount St. Bride

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Me on the summit.

The descent was much faster due to the scree run. It didn’t take us long to get back to the Lodge, where we re-filled water again. We took another necessary break, before trudge 300 vertical meters up Deception Pass.. We wanted to go visit Myosotis and Zigadenus Lakes, but we also knew we’d already missed the best sun angle. It was too late in the day… Going back via Deception Pass wasn’t a bad call though, as the view was still awesome.

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Scree skiing

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Back to Skoki Lodge, where we refiled our water-bottles

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Looking back at Skoki Mountain. This is on the way up Deception Pass

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A glimpse of Fossil Mountain through numerous larches

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Myosotis Lake and Zigadenus Lake

We got our first good view of Brachiopod Mountain of the day at Deception Pass. The evening sun is the best for photographing this peak. The whole area looked a lot different than in the morning though. We took tens of photos before descending towards Ptarmigan Lake. Another wow moment was waiting for us at Ptarmigan Lake. This time we decided to do the normal trail, and the evening light provided the best condition for photographing the reflection! It’s another bonus of the already amazing day. We also watched sunset at the lakeshore. We took the last few evening shots of Mount Temple before the long descent back to car. The trail really really went on forever before joining the Temple Lodge Road. We had to take out our headlamps again for the final 4 km… It was all about perseverance.

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Redoubt Mountain seen from Deception Pass

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A panorama view from Deception Pass

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Almost back to Ptarmigan Lake. Heather Ridge is just behind the lake.

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Ptarmigan Lake in evening

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Hungabee and Lefroy and their reflections in Ptarmigan Lake

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Evening view of Redoubt Mountain

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More photos of Ptarmigan Lake

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A lonely Larch at lakeshore

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Almost back to Boulder Pass, looking back at the Lake.

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Looking back from Boulder Pass

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Evening view of Mount Temple

Our round trip time was 14.5 hours including all of the stops and detours. Overall, it was a very satisfying day in Skoki. I’ll sure do overnight trips in this area someday, maybe next year. Pipestone to Cyclone; Mt. Drummond is a perfect choice for a good weather long weekend. Tilted and Lychnis is another two-day trip.

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