Tower of Babel

July 30, 2012

2360m

Lake Louise, AB

The clouds lifted once I got back to Lake Louise from Mount Niblock. I still had energy and time for another peak. Tower of Babel jumped into my mind. I quickly made my way to Moraine Lake. Probably because of the heavy thunderstorms, some tourists had already left so I could park easily. Usually, it’s hard to find a spot to park in Moraine Lake in a sunny afternoon… Speaking this objective itself, it’s easily the smallest and shortest ascent in Moraine Lake area. It is an interesting tower though as its steep faces boast some of the classic multi-pitch climbing routes in this area. But as a scrambler, the route I took is normally the climber’s descent route via a gigantic gully. From the tourist’s lookout above Moraine Lake I dropped down to the boulder field below, and traverse horizontally towards Tower of Babel. I directly aimed at the ascending gully and did some diagonal side-hilling traverses.

A not-so-common shot of Moraine Lake

A not-so-common shot of Moraine Lake

Tower of Babel, my objective

Tower of Babel, my objective

The wall is steep and impressive.

The wall is steep and impressive.

The next thing to do was simply slogging up the gully. The ground was loose but generally okay for ascending. It’s the type of terrain that does not feel annoying for both the ascent and the descent. However, rock fall is a real hazard in this gully, from the steep wall on climber’s left and from scramblers above. Luckily for me there’s no one in front of me. The gully was also foreshortened, so be prepared – pretty much all of the elevation gain will be done in this gully. Near the top the gully narrowed down and became a bit rocky. A few hands-on moves were required, but nothing overly tricky. I would still rate this as “easy” by Kane’s standard.

Afternoon sun made some nice contrasts of colours

Afternoon sun made some nice contrasts of colours

Looking down the gully

Looking down the gully

The steep wall.

The steep wall.

Higher up

Higher up

Near the end, there're a couple hands-on moves

Near the end, there’re a couple hands-on moves

Once topping out of the gully, the summit was only 5 min away. The summit is very flat, so you have to walk around the edge to soak in the views. There’re several large cairns (larger than yourself). I guess it’s because this mountain is so short so that people have time to enjoy the summit stay. Despite the low elevation, the summit view was awesome towards all direction. Due to the sun direction, I didn’t get a good view of the Ten Peaks, Larch Valley and Mt. Temple though.

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Consolation Lakes were already in shade

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Looking up to Mount Babel

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There are some giant cairns

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Wish I can relax here for hours

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An unnamed pond at the exit of Babel Creek

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Another giant cairn

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Skoki area in the background. Beautiful afternoon view.

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Bident Mountain

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Looking down to Moraine Lake

A little critter

A little critter

I forgot my jacket and it was a bit windy on the top, so I quickly made my way down. The gully offered a very fun scree run down. In no time I got back to the rock pile, and then it started to cloud over again… On the drive back to Canmore, I stopped at the classic Rundle / Vermilion Lakes viewpoint for some sunset scenery.

The classic shot of Vermillion Lakes, with Mt. Rundle in the background.

The classic shot of Vermilion Lakes, with Mt. Rundle in the background.

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