Gap Peak

June 12, 2013

2440m

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.

Gap Peak to Mt. Fable traverse route

Gap Peak to Mt. Fable traverse route

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.

Exshaw Plant from Grotto Canyon Trail

Exshaw Plant from Grotto Canyon Trail

There were some morning fog patches but they lifted up soon

There were some morning fog patches but they lifted up soon

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 big scree slope leading to first rock band

The big scree slope leading to first rock band

Panorama of Bow Valley. Weather was much nicer than expected

Panorama of Bow Valley. Weather was much nicer than expected

The first band was quite impressive

The first band was quite impressive

Circumvent it on climber's right side

Circumvent it on climber’s right side

The second band

The second band

Gap Pond. The name of this peak got from here.

Gap Pond. The name of this peak got from here.

Circumvent the second band on climber's left side

Circumvent the second band on climber’s left side

There were quite a few false summits, and the summit might be higher than you expect

There were quite a few false summits, and the summit might be higher than you expect

This is the true summit. Finally in sight!

This is the true summit. Finally in sight!

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size

Mount Fable looks impressive. Well, it's an impressive mountain from all angles

Mount Fable looks impressive. Well, it’s an impressive mountain from all angles

The connecting ridge to Fable looks longer than it actually is

The connecting ridge to Fable looks longer than it actually is

Morrowmount is another objective in this area

Morrowmount is another objective in this area

Big Sister poking behind the shoulder of Grotto Mountain

Big Sister poking behind the shoulder of Grotto Mountain

This register was anchored to the summit

This register was anchored to the summit

My entry

My entry

The weather held nicely and I immediately started the traverse towards my second objective, Mount Fable.

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