Door Jamb Mountain

January 26, 2014

1980m

Kananaskis – Exshaw / Bow Valley, AB

It was hard to come up with an objective for this day. The weather was pretty bad and Eric and I were very tired after 2 days in a roll of skiing. Normally I’d prefer just heading home after waking up seeing blizzard condition outside. However, due to a miserable failure the day before, I was keen to tag a summit on this day, even the smallest. Door Jamb Mountain, that’s it… This is essentially the first bump on the south ridge of Goat Mountain near Mt. Yamuska. It’s part of the classic Goat Mountain Traverse (Alpine 5.3). I’d wish to do that traverse for quite a while already, and I was kinda “saving” Door Jamb and Loder in order to bag all three peaks in one day. But winter usually gives a totally different experiences so I wouldn’t mind ascending the two smaller peaks separately.

Door Jamb Mountain standard route

Door Jamb Mountain standard route

I should say that I underestimated this objective. Speaking the terrain it’s very similar to Heart Mountain just across Bow Valley. They both have lots of slabs to work on, and that can get very tricky at the time right after a snow storm. Apparently there was lots of snow fallen the night before, but we decided to leave many gears behind. There’s no “approach” for this mountain and the ascent started easily. After a steep grind the ridge got flatter. At this point we were following a set of old boot tracks that’s possibly from the day before. But soon Eric discovered that he’d lost his cell phone somewhere. We could have continue on and try to pick it up on our way down but it was snowing. If the phone got covered by snow then it would be nearly impossible to find it. We figured that it’s probably not worth to take extra risks on this since a cell phone is pretty expansive, so Eric gave up the attempt and went down to hopefully find his phone. The weather was pretty bad anyway so he didn’t miss much.

A view of Bow Valley

A view of Bow Valley

Exshaw Mountain. A treed bump but has more than 400 vertical meters to gain.

Exshaw Mountain. A treed bump but has more than 400 vertical meters to gain.

Looking up the ascent ridge

Looking up the ascent ridge

Looking south across Bow Valley

Looking south across Bow Valley

Eric ascending the typical terrain

Eric ascending the typical terrain

At this point we were still able to follow this faint trail up

At this point we were still able to follow this faint trail up

Higher up the ridge got steeper and slabbier. The slabs were covered by the layer of snow fallen from the night before and it was nearly impossible to traverse any of the sections that’s more than 1 step wide… I also lost the old tracks and I thought those guys had turned around. I struggled a long time route finding but couldn’t find a way from climber’s left side. So I backtracked and found a spot that just gave me enough traction to regain the ridge crest. Further up I encountered more of this problem. I must have backtracked for at least 5 times. I almost wanted to give up and I was making a last attempt at climber’s right of the ridge where the snow was thigh deep. I post holed for quite a while and all the sudden miracle happened. I rejoined the old up tracks!! Oh well, continuing up following these tracks up I saved a lot of energy. I paid close attention not losing this “trail” and made to the summit without any more problem. It was white out on the top.

Traversing snow covered slabs...

Traversing snow covered slabs…

Finally found a way to regain the ridge crest

Finally found a way to regain the ridge crest

Temporary inversion scenery.

Temporary inversion scenery.

Rimwall

Rimwall

Wind Mountain and Mt. Lougheed

Wind Mountain and Mt. Lougheed

More slabs. I spent a long time route-finding through this section

More slabs. I spent a long time route-finding through this section

Terrain like this requires lots of caution

Terrain like this requires lots of caution

Make sure don't slip onto slabs like this...

Make sure don’t slip onto slabs like this…

Near the top. Minimal views.

Near the top. Minimal views.

White-out on the summit

White-out on the summit

Due to time constraint, the bad weather and lack of motivation I didn’t want to traverse to Loder Peak. I already wasted at least half an hour lower down on that slabby section and I certainly didn’t want Eric to wait for me too long so I immediately started the descent. With my foot prints guiding it was very easy. I went down as fast as I could and the entire descent took me only 50 minutes. Overall this is not a mountain I’d recommend in winter and I didn’t really enjoy it. I’m just glad I made to its top and that’s enough for peaks like this…

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