Lougheed 2 and 3

Lougheed 1 and lunch

Lougheed 1 and lunch


Mount Lougheed is a series of four summits in a northwest-to-southeast line south of Canmore. While the second summit is the highest, the northernmost summit is the most challenging, and a traverse of the four summits is a popular 5.4 scramble. I had originally thought of doing the traverse, but when Bob, who I had met on Temple, expressed interest in doing an easier route on the second and third peaks, I decided to do that instead. It would be the last good day of climbing before an unseasonable summer snowstorm.

Finger-deep forest carpet

Finger-deep forest carpet

After dinner at the Grizzly Paw Pub in Canmore, we drove up to the Goat Creek parking area to sleep in our respective cars, then carpooled up to Spencer Creek the next morning. While shuffling gear, we were joined by a man with a rifle and pit bull, out “hunting” in the sense of going for an armed stroll in the woods. We quickly left him behind, following a well-worn trail through a surprisingly lush, mossy forest. The trail continues through the woods above the left side of the creek, eventually emerging in a grassy bowl between Lougheed and Sparrowhawk.

Lougheed from grassy bowl

Lougheed from grassy bowl

Here the trail briefly disappears, but the route up Lougheed 2 to the north is obvious. After making our way up the grassy slope, we rejoined a climbers’ trail up the long scree slope. The softball-sized scree was relatively stable, and the trail made things even easier.

Booting up upper face

Booting up upper face

Near a rock band, we followed a boot-pack across some snow to the right, passing over a small ridge at a well-cairned notch to access the next slab/scree bowl over. Here we climbed a mixture of snow and scree, following some boot-pack and some fainter bits of use trail. I tried to stick to the rock in my running shoes, while Bob took advantage of the snow in his boots. The route more or less follows the path of least resistance through scree and slabs, heading up and right toward the obvious summit ridge. Reaching the ridge, we continued a couple hundred yards along the snowy ridge to the summit.

Lougheed 1 from 2

Lougheed 1 from 2

Though there was some wind, the summit was fairly pleasant. Looking northwest, I could see a faint trail leading to Lougheed 1, the slightly shorter but more challenging summit. Enough snow remained to make the traverse less than appealing in trail runners. To the southeast, Lougheed 3 looked like an easy walk, Lougheed 4 an intimidatingly steep and wet scramble. With good weather and plenty of daylight, we chose to return via Lougheed 3.

Lougheed 2 from 3

Lougheed 2 from 3

After descending a bit of unpleasantly loose scree, I resigned myself to having cold, wet feet, plunge-stepping down ankle- to calf-deep snow to the saddle. This side of Lougheed 3 is also quite loose, so I followed patches of wind-packed snow where I could, the lugs on my trail runners gripping admirably. From the unremarkable summit, it looked like the route up Lougheed 4 might follow a gully right of the ridge, which was currently half-filled with snow, making it more of an undertaking than we were equipped to handle.

Lougheed 3

Lougheed 3

Heading down left of the saddle with Lougheed 2, we found some surprisingly skiable scree. From where we reached the gully, it was a long side-hill back to our ascent route. Somewhat surprisingly so late in the day, we passed two men headed up: an old-timer looking a bit like the gyro captain in “Mad Max 2,” and a younger man carrying an enormous quantity of camera. Farther down, we again met the man with the gun and dog, returning empty-handed as he had predicted. Apparently our peak-bagging was just as incomprehensible to him as his armed hiking with a huge external frame pack was to me.

4 responses to “Lougheed 2 and 3

  1. That’s a nice looking lunch, looks better than taco bell sauce, canned fish, and a tortilla! You’ve been absolutely tearing it up this summer. I’m glad you were able to branch out a bit, try to save some energy to do some weaker climbs with me this fall/winter when you get back down south.

    • Yes, this year was definitely better than last. Hopefully the half-foot of snow (a normal occurence, according to the Starbucks guy) here in Canmore will melt quickly, and I’ll be able to enjoy a bit more Canadia before heading south.

  2. Sean! Thank you for sharing your adventures. Whew!!! I almost break out in a sweat just imagining what you are doing. Sincerely, I pray you stay healthy and free from any injury. Our world needs more men like you who will adventure forward and encourage the rest of us to our own adventures, while you take on the difficult 5.+ moments of trekking. There are other places where we all need the courage to do 5.+ things with our lives. I hope you don’t mind me sounding like a dad or uncle for a moment…but stay safe, and keep tackling the impossible. So glad we met a few days ago. Eager for the next installment………..

  3. Hi Sean, It was a pleasure hiking with you last weekend up to Lougheed II and III. Contrary to your blog, I believe the Lougheed traverse is an unpopular scramble, more involved than the average scrambler can handle. I hope that we can bag more peaks together in the future. Keep it up and stay safe!
    Bob

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