Ship’s Prow Mountain

June 16, 2012

2636m

Canmore, AB

Ship’s Prow Mountain isn’t an exciting objective. It’s a mere unofficial name of the high point behind “Ship’s Prow”, a steep wall comparable to “Rimwall” or “Canmore Wall” when looking from the Bow Valley. The summit is also referred as the south peak of Mt. Lawrence Grassi by some folks. The ascent route is very similar to Mt. Lawrence Grassi’s, except for there’s a difficult down-climb near the summit that must be negotiated. My mom and I felt adventurous and decided to combine Mt. Lawrence Grassi and Ship’s Prow in one day.

Ship's Prow Mountain scramble route

Ship’s Prow Mountain scramble route

There might be a scramble route to directly connect Mt. Lawrence Grassi with Ship’s Prow by staying on, or close to the ridge, but as of 2012 I hadn’t read any trip report saying that’d go. The guaranteed way was to drop all the way back to near the valley floor, cross the major drainage that separates the two peaks and re-ascend all the way back to treeline. That’s exactly what we did but it also felt like doing two separate ascents rather than a “traverse”. The forested slope on Ship’s Prow was similar to Lawrence Grassi’s, but with bushwhacking this time. There was no trail at all on this treed slope. It was steep and had lots of dead falls. Mom waited for me at treeline again even though the scree slope above treeline was gentler by comparison. With a positive attitude, I didn’t have a problem to get to the skyline ridge and followed it easily to the false summit.

The typical forest below treeline

The typical forest below treeline

Breaking the treeline on Ship's Prow

Breaking the treeline on Ship’s Prow

Mount Lawrence Grassi seen from just above treeline on Ship's Prow

Mount Lawrence Grassi seen from just above treeline on Ship’s Prow

The true summit seen from false summit

The true summit seen from false summit

Surprisingly there was a register on this false summit...

Surprisingly there was a register on this false summit…

By the point when I hit the false summit, the wind already picked up with some nasty gusts probably approaching 80 kph level. This mountain doesn’t have exposed section so I was not too concerned about wind. To get to the true summit there’s a difficult 15m down-climb. This appeared sketchy from the top but after committing to the climb it was very doable. I would rate this a difficult scramble. After this section, it’s just a walk up to the summit. There’s a cairn but no register on it. This summit gives you a much closer view of Three Sisters. Big Sister still looks snowy and is not in season yet.

An interesting pinnacle near the crux.

An interesting pinnacle near the crux.

The crux down-climb

The crux down-climb

Looking back at the crux. Route-finding isn't as hard as it looks from this photo.

Looking back at the crux. Route-finding isn’t as hard as it looks from this photo.

The crux down-climb

The crux down-climb

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size

Big Sister

Big Sister

Fairholme Range across Bow Valley

Fairholme Range across Bow Valley

My backpack on the summit. Note I still had the bear spray on this trip. I lost them very soon, and I hadn't bought a new one yet.

My backpack on the summit. Note I still had the bear spray on this trip. I lost them very soon, and I hadn’t bought a new one yet.

In the distance is Mount Townsend

In the distance is Mount Townsend

Climbing up the crux was less challenging than down-climbing it. By this point, the wind was howling even stronger. I had to lean sideways to balance, but thankfully, the ridge walk was mostly done. I soon rejoined mom at treeline again and we bushwhacked down the same way we came up.

Back to the reservoir

Back to the reservoir

It was busy...

It was busy…

The total elevation gain of the day was about 1800 m for me, mostly on steep terrain. Although I had time, I didn’t do a 3rd mountain. I had a plan on Windtower to Rimwall with Neil and Andrea the next day (which turns out to be a more scenic day), so I had to rest and get ready.

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