July 2, 2012
Castle Wilderness, AB
Spionkop Ridge is a scenic and relatively straightforward scramble in the south Rockies. Though the summit is completely in the East Castle area, the ascent is usually done from the Waterton side. Folks that still have plenty of energy after bagging the nearby lower Newman Peak should consider extending the trip further towards Spionkop Ridge and/or Avion Ridge, and this route is well documented in Andrew Nugara’s More Scrambles book.
Eric and I left our packs on the summit of Newman Peak because we had to return the same way, and started the descent to Spionkop Ridge. There’s nothing difficult/challenging but to get there but we had to lose about 200 m elevation (and never mind the elevation regain on the way back). On the way down to the col, we saw a couple of people descending from Spionkop Ridge. I told Eric that they would have been Jeff and Andrea as I knew exactly their plan for the weekend (I was even invited to join that trip but I chose not to). Indeed, they were Jeff, Andrea and their friend, Aga. They were surprised that I didn’t go to Jasper according to the original plan. The scree on Spionkop Ridge was very firm which helped a lot and the summit was reached at roughly 1:00 PM.
The next thing to do was to get back to the summit of Newman Peak, note the 200m elevation re-gain… We used more rocks on the way up that section. I managed to get back to Newman summit about 20 second after Jeff’s group left. Okay, the next thing I found out was the rocks in my pack… Thanks guys. Checking the map, I found that it might be possible to traverse to Mt. Glendowen from GR127513, therefore Eric and I carried our packs while ascending GR127513. It’s just a slog to get to this higher unnamed summit (2:10PM). Again, unnamed doesn’t mean not-worthy. This viewpoint is considerably higher than the surroundings including Newman Peak.We weren’t 100% sure about the possibility to get to Glendowan, but better safe than sorry, so we retraced by to Newman Peak. (This part is included in my Newman Peak trip report as this GR is more like a higher subpeak of Newman so I don’t want to claim it as a different summit). And our next objective was Avion Ridge.