June 12, 2013
Kananaskis – Exshaw / Bow Valley, AB
With the possibility of rain and afternoon thunderstorms nobody felt motivated to go out this weekend but I was still keen on tagging at least a few more peaks. Gap Peak and Mt. Fable are the remaining two “Kane’s scrambles” that I still haven’t done yet near the small mine site Exshaw, along Bow Valley corridor. The two peaks are often done as a traverse and if weather could hold better than the forecasted then I could tag them both, but at least Gap Peak itself should be in the bag.
I felt overly tired from the driving so slept in till about 7:30 am. That wasn’t really the early start I was planning, but since I was there already and the rain had stopped I just had to give it a go. For those of you not familiar with Gap Peak’s direct route (more pleasant than the route described in Kane’s scramble book), Bob Spirko has a great trip report illustrating this route. After travelling about 10 minutes on the popular Grotto Canyon trail I started the bushwhack up the forested slope. It really doesn’t matter where you leave the trail, as long as you’re on the correct ridge.
The next 1.5 hours was a boring slog in the forest. Even though there were only faint trails here and there, the bush was far from thick. It’s a lot more pleasant than the recent Jasper bushwhacking I did in the past few weeks. The slope took me longer than expected, and once breaking through the trees I was facing at a big scree slope leading to the first rock band. I ascended to its base and a trail/path led me circumventing on its climber’s right side. Once the rock wall gave way to scree on my left side, I immediately cut left to regain the ridge crest, and then I was looking at the second band. For this one, the correct route goes on its climber’s left side. After circumventing this obstacle I slogged back to ridge crest on some tedious scree, and then it was a pleasant ridge walk all the way to summit. There were some minor bands on the way but nothing troublesome.
The weather held nicely and I immediately started the traverse towards my second objective, Mount Fable.