Little Galatea

April 22, 2012

2675m

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien Valley, AB

The “standard” route up Little Galatea is from Chester Lake via a huge avalanche gully described in Andrew Nugara’s Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies. The route we took is from Rummel Lake via an interesting ridge. I have to thank Marko for exploring it out and sharing his trip report on ClubTread. This is a considerably safer route comparing to Andrew Nugara’s south facing gully, but still involves a few trickier sections along the summit ridge.

Rummel Ridge and Little Galatea snowshoeing ascent route

Rummel Ridge and Little Galatea snowshoeing ascent route

I decided to tick off Little Galatea after finishing Rummel Ridge in the morning and mom would follow me from behind. We worked our way through the open trees and chose the least steep line up Little Galatea’s broad NW Ridge. At a few sections the terrain got too steep for snowshoeing straight up and I had to make a couple switchbacks. It was much steeper than Rummel Ridge and mom was having some trouble with the increasingly steep terrain. While struggling up she made the decision to stop at treeline and wait for me to tag the summit. The section above treeline was blown bare by the wind so travelling was fast for a while. I ditched snowshoes and started scrambling. The ridge was mostly straightforward except for two steep rolls that I must ascend head-on. I was glad to have an ice axe for these sections and the cornices on climber’s left side was quite big too. But soon enough I reached the summit.

Mom sloggin' up the treed slope. There are a couple open areas that will cause avi concern in afternoon.

Mom sloggin’ up the treed slope. There are a couple open areas that will cause avi concern in afternoon.

Now I topped out on summit ridge, this is looking towards the summit (left)

Now I topped out on summit ridge, this is looking towards the summit (left)

There were some big cornices

There were some big cornices

Looking back at the same cornices

Looking back at the same cornices

Steep slope towards false summit

Steep slope towards false summit

Looking south towards Chester from the summit.

Looking south towards Chester from the summit.

Familiar peaks across Smith Dorrien valley.

Familiar peaks across Smith Dorrien valley.

Looking NW towards Assiniboine (left) and Spray Lake (right)

Looking NW towards Assiniboine (left) and Spray Lake (right)

The Tower, with Rummel Ridge being the little bump on bottom left corner.

The Tower, with Rummel Ridge being the little bump on bottom left corner.

Looking up the west ridge of Galatea.You cannot reach the summit from this route.

Looking up the west ridge of Galatea.You cannot reach the summit from this route.

Mount Birdwood

Mount Birdwood

Mount Smuts and The Fist

Mount Smuts and The Fist

Smith-Dorrien, Robertson, Sir Douglas

Smith-Dorrien, Robertson, Sir Douglas

Looking south over the summit of Little Chester

Looking south over the summit of Little Chester

The avalanche gully from the north side. The ascent route up Little Chester is pretty similar to this one. Wow...

The avalanche gully from the north side. The ascent route up Little Chester is pretty similar to this one. Wow…

It is also possible to scramble up the west ridge of Mt. Galatea to the next high point, but again, you cannot reach the summit from this side. I wasn’t feeling overly motivated for the exploring plus my mom was still down by treeline so I didn’t linger any longer than necessary. My mom was patiently waiting for me at treeline and we had no further issue following our tracks back to the main Rummel Creek trail. The rest of the descent was uneventful but did feel longer than what I remembered from the ascent in the morning.

Looking back to my tracks from the descent

Looking back to my tracks from the descent

Summit of Mt. Galatea on right.

Summit of Mt. Galatea on right.

The Tower

The Tower

Mom coming down an open slope.

Mom coming down an open slope.

Mount Galatea

Mount Galatea

Back to Rummel Lake Trail, looking towards the south end of Spray Lake. Nestor on right.

Back to Rummel Lake Trail, looking towards the south end of Spray Lake. Nestor on right.

Looking up towards The Tower, with Rummel Ridge being the treed bump on right. I would never consider doing this bump if not because of following Nugara snowshoeing list.

Looking up towards The Tower, with Rummel Ridge being the treed bump on right. I would never consider doing this bump if not because of following Nugara snowshoeing list.

At the end of the day I also briefly considered soloin’ Read’s Tower. But the slushy snow immediately turned be around. I drove to the base of Ha Ling and enjoyed some beautiful view of open water. It’s really nice to see blueish lake after the everlasting winter in the Rockies.

Nice to finally see summer colours..

Nice to finally see summer colours..

Another view of this 'man-made' lake

Another view of this ‘man-made’ lake

Ha Ling Peak

Ha Ling Peak

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