April 22, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.