June 30, 2012
Castle Wilderness, AB
Southfork Mountain is a mere bump in the “West Castle” region at the far northern end of Barnaby Ridge but since it’s officially named it’s on my “list” as a peak-bagger. Eric, Raff and I ascended it as the bonus objective after finishing the true summit of Barnaby Ridge earlier in the day.
There’s one unnamed peak between the true summit of Barnaby Ridge and Southfork Mountain. To traverse to Southfork Mountain we had to ascend up and over that unnamed peak. Getting to this unnamed peak was just a hike, albeit scenic, but involved quite a bit of elevation loss and regain.
There were some interesting moderate scrambling sections to get down GR907662, and we all enjoyed that. Despite the lower elevation, Southfork Mountain does offer great views down to Southfork Lakes which are not visible from GR907662. We also got a better view of Crowsnest Pass area, including Flathead Range and Crowsnest Mountain (our objective for the next day). There was a canister but no booklet inside…
During the traverse we took a note on an alternate descending gully, which could save us from re-ascending that unnamed GR. We stayed a bit longer on Southfork Mountain before heading down. The initial part of the alternate descent route was a fast scree run that ended at a boulder field. Lower down, we re-entered the thick bush… Following the drainage down, we encountered lots of avalanche debris (dead falls, etc) just about going into the forest. Negotiating dead falls and thick bush was the major theme for the next 1.5 hours and it was worse than our ascent gully. It was probably the worst bushwhacking I’ve ever done so far in my peak bagging career.
We enjoyed the water in West Castle River before getting back to car. Raff had other plans for the next two days. And Eric and I would drive to Crowsnest Pass for the next ascent in this trip.