Mount Henry MacLeod

July 24, 2013

3315m

Brazeau Icefield, AB

After summitting Mount Brazeau, and then Valad Peak, Shaun, Clayton and I were on our way to the last objective of this trip, namely Mount Henry MacLeod. Being near the more famous 11,000ers, both Valad and Henry MacLeod are often overlooked. However, they’re both very high on elevation. Henry MacLeod is just shy to be another 11,000er by 30 meters… This is also an awesome looking mountain from the approach valley, or from other side (Coronet Mountain side), and definitely deserves more attention.

Brazeau to Valad to Henry MacLeod traverse route

Brazeau to Valad to Henry MacLeod traverse route

Getting to Henry MacLeod from Valad is merely a hike on scree and occasionally snow. The descent from Valad Peak was a enjoyable scree run and up the other side we stayed more on snow. Note that Henry MacLeod is higher than Valad so you need to gain all of the elevation that you just lost and plus some extra. The summit view was awesome though a bit of haze started to roll in. I was very glad to get up Brazeau before the haze rolling in.

Henry MacLeod seen from Valad Peak

Henry MacLeod seen from Valad Peak

The summit ahead

The summit ahead

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

Front range peaks

Front range peaks

Poboktan Mountain

Poboktan Mountain

Familiar peaks on the Columbia Icefield area

Familiar peaks on the Columbia Icefield area

Clememceau, et al.

Clememceau, et al.

Catacombs, Fryatt, and so on.

Catacombs, Fryatt, and so on.

Mary Vaux, Llysfran, Unwin, Charlton

Mary Vaux, Llysfran, Unwin, Charlton

Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

Warren

Warren

Brazeau

Brazeau

Coronet

Coronet

Me on the summit

Me on the summit

On the way back we backtracked to Valad/Henry MacLeod col, and then contoured around Valad Peak on its gentler side. This added some extra distance but given the softened snow pack we wanted to stay on the easy slopes. It was very hot by now with all the sun baking around. I was leading on the way back and I did get surprised by quite a few all-the-sudden knee-deep-postholing. I thought I was falling into a crevasse, but thankfully I wasn’t. Overall despite the heat we didn’t get much post-holing issue. We couldn’t use our uptracks because simply we didn’t leave any uptracks, and it involved a bit of guess work to get back to the critical spot where we gained the icefield in the morning. This would be near impossible in a white-out condition without accurate GPS tracks.

One last panorama before setting on the glacier again.

One last panorama before setting on the glacier again.

Panorama of front range peaks from the icefield

Panorama of front range peaks from the icefield

Looking back

Looking back

Mt. Henry MacLeod

Mt. Henry MacLeod

Travelling down the dry glacier part was very scenic. Even though I’ve done many glaciated peaks, I think it was my first time on a dry glacier other than the SnowCoach tour on Athabasca Glacier. After ropping off it was a scenic hike back to our campsite. I especially like the serac view, but we had to go through that section quickly since we saw fresh serac debris.

Clayton and Shaun descending the last bit on the main icefield

Clayton and Shaun descending the last bit on the main icefield

Crevasses

Crevasses

Looking down to a couple glacial lakes

Looking down to a couple glacial lakes

From where we unroped

From where we unroped

Seracs

Seracs

One of the ice debris

One of the ice debris

Panorama from the lower glacial tongue

Panorama from the lower glacial tongue

We had to cross this

We had to cross this

Almost back to our bivy site. Panorama view of the glacier

Almost back to our bivy site. Panorama view of the glacier

A zoomed-in view

A zoomed-in view

Back to campsite

Back to campsite

It was at about 2pm only and we had the entire afternoon ahead. We wasn’t on a rush to get back home early so we just took our time enjoying the experience. It was too hot to just simply lying on my bivy sack though. After a long time I went up the highpoint nearby for sunset photography and it was needless to say, awesome.

Going up an unnamed highpoint for sunset

Going up an unnamed highpoint for sunset

Almost there

Almost there

An interesting looking summit ahead

An interesting looking summit ahead

Panorama from the unnamed highpoint

Panorama from the unnamed highpoint

Sunwapta Peak on left, Mt. Alberta on right

Sunwapta Peak on left, Mt. Alberta on right

Orange colours on horizon due to the low angled sun

Orange colours on horizon due to the low angled sun

Coronet Mountain looks big from here

Coronet Mountain looks big from here

Panorama of the unnamed front range peaks

Panorama of the unnamed front range peaks

More unnamed front range peaks

More unnamed front range peaks

Sunset over Coronet Glacier

Sunset over Coronet Glacier

Another photo showing Coronet Mountain

Another photo showing Coronet Mountain

Now it's getting reddish

Now it’s getting reddish

Evening glow

Evening glow

Time to go down

Time to go down

One last look at Poboktan Mountain

One last look at Poboktan Mountain

The next day we woke up at 7 and started our return at 7:30 in the morning. The descent on scree wasn’t fun neither but at least it was faster than slogging up it. Once into the trees we managed to find the trail to avoid unnecessary bushwhacking, and then it was mostly a relaxing, but long walk back to our cars.

Almost sunrise. I accidently woke up without the alarm just for the views...

Almost sunrise. I accidently woke up without the alarm just for the views…

Alpenglow on Mount Alberta, from my bivy sack

Alpenglow on Mount Alberta, from my bivy sack

Now it's sunrise

Now it’s sunrise

Heading home...

Heading home…

Down to the creek bed

Down to the creek bed

Into the bush

Into the bush

Back down to the meadow field, the hanging valley

Back down to the meadow field, the hanging valley

Water is crystal clear in these streams

Water is crystal clear in these streams

I love this tarn

I love this tarn

Shaun on the other side

Shaun on the other side

Refection of part of Coronet on this tarn

Refection of part of Coronet on this tarn

Same as above

Same as above

Flowers on the way back

Flowers on the way back

More flowers

More flowers

There wasn’t any surprise waiting for us at the last bit which was good (if you know what I’m talking about). Overall, it was an awesome trip out with awesome peaks bagged.

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Comments
  1. Oscar merino says:

    Hi Steve, would it be technically easier to do these peaks in the reverse order that you did?

    • Steven Song says:

      Mm, hard to tell but I don’t think there’ll be a huge advantage of reversing the traverse. Usually you aim for the main objective (Brazeau) first just so in case weather rolls in or for whatever reasons it’s better to leave Henry Macleod behind than not doing the biggest prize.

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