BCP476 Gibralter Mountain
Posted N50° 35.348 W114° 49.793
GPSr N50° 35.351 W114° 49.796
Another very memorable brass cap hike that tops the one up Crownsest Mountain as far as personal accomplishments go. As Sleepy_hollow mentioned in his great summary, the selected route was to hike the Mist Ridge loop and add on a detour up Gibraltar (correct sp.) Mountain. Our total trek ended up being 32km in horizontal distance with a cumulative elevation gain of almost 2400m. Given the net gain was just over 1000m, it is obvious there were some pretty major downs and ups along the way. The most challenging was the loss of 300m and gain of 500m at the 12km mark that had to be tackled again on the return trip off of Gibraltar Mountain. We departed the car at just before 6AM and returned to the car in the dark at just before 12:30AM for an 18.5hr journey. We had expected to complete the task a couple of hours earlier but there were a few challenges that slowed us down. Most involved, as SH mentioned, route finding issues which resulted in some backtracking and significant downclimbing and ascending. The most memorable challenge was the onset of the significant thunderstorm that hit the area at 8PM after great weather all day. At this time SH and I were 75m vertically from the north summit of Mist Ridge after returning from Gibraltar. When the thunder and lightning started, we elected to take cover at a small rock alcove and wait out the storm which came on us quickly. When a break in the thunder appeared we elected to complete the ridge ascent and get down the backside as soon as we could. Just after cresting the ridge lightning hit the area again and before we could react a bolt hit with simultaneous thunder that was close enough for static to shock a couple of fingers that were on my trekking pole. The sound was deafening and the light intense. We tossed our poles and hit the ground were we were hit with hail for about 15 minutes before it finally passed. All that remained was a 13km trek off the ridge and along the Mist Creek in the valley. Sun had set with 9km to go and the last few hours involed hiking at a very quick pace with headlamps along the water soaked trails in the rain.
It really was a fantastic outing (now that we're home ) and SH was a great hiking partner who provided me with lots of encouragement, great conversation and taught me more scrambling skills. To anyone who plans to tackle this cap in the future, I would suggest looking into taking a route that follows the Sheep River and then ascend to the col west of Gibraltar Mountain. There appeared to be a trail that crossed the col heading NW/SE towards the river. Bypassing the Mist Ridge portion of our hike (which is a great hike on its own) would cut the distance and elevation gain considerably. Ascending the ridge as soon as possible is also the best way to go.
Thanks for another great cap outing OFTH. I won't soon forget this one.