July 21, 2013
Icefield Parkway (South), AB
After our long trip up the true summit of Rundle, Mike and I were demotivated and tired so a shorter ascent made the most sense. My preference was still a “difficult scramble” since many peaks had already come in shape. Dolomite Peak seemed to be the perfect choice. This is one of the more eye-catching objectives along the Icefield Parkway as it appears like a series of jagged pinnacles. While most of the towers require rock climbing the two highest (towers 3 and 4) are non-technical making this peak an aesthetic scrambling ascent.
We managed to start from the Helen Creek trail-head by 5:45 am as we’d like to get back home early, if possible. The trail goes up steeply on the left side of Helen Creek over a hill, and levels out while turning climber’s left. After about 20 minutes or so we crossed the creek using a couple unstable boulders. We kept following the trail for another 10 minutes or so to the big avalanche path that Kane’s book mentions. From here our goal was simply going up. There wasn’t much to say about this, but the views were gorgeous while looking back. Well, it’s always a good idea to start early if you want good views. For this peak, I’d highly recommend an early start. You’ll be on the west facing slope for all day and in the morning, this slope will be in the shade. I never needed to put sunscreen on for the entire day simply because the sun would not hit me on this slope.
Towards the end of this foreshortened slope, we would traverse climber’s left aiming towards the gully between tower 3 and 4 (tower 4 is the true summit). Rockfall is a real hazard in this gully but the scrambling was mostly moderate with a couple odd difficult steps (on good rock). Compared to what we just did the day before, this is really nothing. There were also a couple cairns marking the way and it’s near impossible to get lost. The summit view was gorgeous. This is probably one of the best viewpoint of Mount Hector.
We also went up a sub-summit to check out the views. It’s worthy to go up there since you’ll get more impressive views of the other side. We didn’t bother to go up tower 3 though. On the way down we took our time not knocking a ton of rocks to each other, and once through the major gully, we went straight down looking for good screes. We made a mistake traversing skier’s left at the lower cliff bands and got cliffed out. We backtracked a bit and went down its skier’s right side and followed the slope back to treeline. There was a flower field to hike through which added to the fun. Once back to the trail, it’s merely a simple hike back to our car. Our round trip time was just under 6 hours.