June 8, 2013
Crowsnest Pass, BC
Mt. Erickson was our primary objective in this weekend. Probably because it’s located in the BC side of Crowsnest Pass area, it’d been largely ignored by most scramblers. Therefore when Wietse suggested this objective everyone got interested in. Mike, Ben and I from Edmonton would drive down south to join Vern, Wietse, Raff and Andrea from Calgary, and we agreed to meet at trailhead by 9:30am. Having the entire morning ahead, we hiked up Saskatoon Mountain for some morning photography, but still, we were almost 3 hours ahead of schedule. We killed some time in the Tim Hortons before driving to Crowsnest Lake killing the rest of the hours. Another interesting fact for this trip was that I’d hit my 200th on the summit of Mt. Erickson together with Wietse, who was also on his 199th.
Everybody showed up at the supposed parking area just short of 7 km west of AB/BC boarder. There are two parking areas on the south side of Highway 3 adjacent to each other, and we parked at the first one. There’s little to describe the route since it essentially follows the obvious ridgeline all the way to the summit. However, at the bottom part, it’s easy to get confused. There’re two treed ribs separated by a small drainage that goes up. All possible lines work, as long as you’re constantly moving uphill. We picked the right hand side rib, but stayed somehow on the left side of the rib crest. Some boulder hoping and some light bushwhacking was involved but nothing major. We briefly lost Vern in the trees, but we regrouped together at treeline. The view from here was already great, with rarely seen peaks showing up on the west, as well as the familiar Flathead Range and High Rock Range towards south and east. The false summit looked quite impressive from this angle.
A short section of enjoyable downhill ridge walk brought us to its base, and then it was an easy slog up talus and then foreshortened grassy slopes. There’s a giant “BC green tower” on the false summit. The only part that can qualify as scrambling was between false and true summit. There’s brief exposure on climber’s right, and the footings were bit loose. We caught up a solo scrambler on the summit, who turned out to be Dave Salahab. Rarely seen peaks towards west including Mt. Bisaro in Fernie area and Mt. Washburn west of Sparwood were impressive, but what actually stole the show was the giant open pit mine on the nearby Baldy Mountain. It’s impressive but ugly at the same time.
We took a long break on the summit before going down. It was a rare non-windy day in the Crowsnest. There’s not much to say about the descent except for it being hard on the knees. There were a couple snow patches to help but that’s it.
Mike, Ben, and I were originally keen on another objective, but now we were all short on motivation especially since it was getting cloudier, so we decided to drive home earlier to make the day less tiresome.