BCP523 Bryant Lake
N50° 55.169’ W115° 00.725’
Well. That was a little harder than I thought it would be, maybe a lot harder! Sleepy hollow and I ended up covering about 17.3 kms with an elevation gain of over 1000 meters, including all the ups and downs of ridge walking as well as loss/gain done to overcome technical challenges. Those topo maps are so smoothed as opposed to reality.
We left the trailhead at 7:45AM and walked up the broad alluvial plain of Canyon Creek for a couple of kilometres before turning into the Canyon Creeks north canyon, the one that will eventually lead you to Bryant Lake. We marched up this canyon for 3 kms or so before picking a spot that would lead us up the ridge top on the east side (see map). The spot we picked was up the north side of drainage, the first one north of that used by the Southern Alberta Trail Maps. I don’t think it makes much difference which one is used, they are both steep with a lot of bushwacking required for the first few hundred meters. Soon we broke free of the trees and plodded up to the ridge top. Then the best part began with a long ridge walk including many technical challenges, none of which turned out as nasty as they first looked from a distance. We reached the highest part of our hike at about 11:30 where we stopped for a bite of lunch in the lee of the summit cairn. The summit log was badly weather damaged so SH replaced it with one of his own, I signed the new summit log as a “summitteer”, not a cacher. After that the ridge walk continued with one crux after another being overcome on one side or the other, up or down and back up, whatever it took we did and finally arrived at the pristine cap, not a scratch to be seen on that baby!
Now, we had originally intended on continuing along the ridge to a slope above Bryant Tarn and descend that slope. However, the weather closed in with high winds and increasing snow, so we retreated back along our approach until we could safely head down an incredibly long section of Banff Shale, mostly open but with some bad bushwacking. We eventually got down to Bryant Creek, which was running fast, making the required crossing a bit tricky, before hooking up with the Bryant Lake trail. After all that it was just a long walk down the various canyons to our parking spot on Powderface Road.
And now I get to say that I too have survived a classic mountain brass cap adventure with Sleepy hollow, thanks for the terrific hike and interesting conversation my friend, a good day indeed! And thanks for posting the cap ofth, its’ a good one that requires a lot of work to get.