BCP396 Mount Rae
N50° 37.389 W114° 58.503
SH and I got our usual early start to tackle this peak. We reached the parking lot at about 7:30 AM. First car there! We were soon on our way up the Ptarmigan Cirque trail. And what a nice trail it is. We were the only ones on it at the time, although there would be many more a little later. In no time we reached the end of the marked trail. A giant cairn greeted us at the beginning of the trail around to the back. We hid from the wind for a couple minutes to grab a bite before moving on. Then the relentless scree started. It wasn't that bad, although a well placed kick could certainly send a rock flying all the way down the gully. We chose the easiest route up and I followed some slabs to avoid more scree. Eventually we reached the col. On the north side of the col we saw a BUNCH of snow and ice, including the nearby glacier.
We started up the ridge and the going was fine. A little windy and cold though, so I put on all of my layers and my thick gloves. We traversed around following a couple trails. There was a little bit of snow but it didn't come up to my gaiters. After traversing for a while we gained the summit ridge. This ridge was sketchy to say the least given the exposure, wind and snow. But we took our time and it was fine.
We ran into another fellow that caught up to us and he said to just follow the ridge all the way to the summit. This looked VERY sketchy, and I opted to drop down and clamber up some scree. Not ideal, but it was a smarter choice I think. Finally I regained the summit ridge, performed a few exposed scrambling moves on the ridge and ended up on the summit! Whoo hoo!
There was a mountain guide and a 70 year old man who were at the summit. I shook their hands as congratulations and they left shortly after. They spent about 2 minutes at the summit, if that. No point staying if there's no view I suppose.
Normally I would take my camera out to take pictures of the "view". Well, turns out my camera froze a little on the way up! So I had to put it in my coat for a little while to warm it up. I snapped some pictures, found the cache and signed in, found the brass cap and called it. We were frozen up on that darned summit!
The way down was "fun" to say the least, given the snow and slippery conditions. But eventually we made it back to the Ptarmigan Cirque trail. Several tourists greeted us. Then it was an easy trek back to the car.
It was about 8 kilometers in total with about 1000 meters of elevation gain to reach the highest peak I have ever climbed: 3225 meters.
Thanks to SH for the fine company and conversation, as usual, and thank you for placing this cap!