Bertha Peak September 5, 2004

Mountain height:   2,440 m (8,005 ft)
Elevation gain:       1,150 m
Ascent time:           
Descent time:         

Solo scramble.

Strangely, I have to admit that I found this scramble to be one of the most enjoyable to date. Perhaps this was because, having heard very little about the trip, my expectations were not very high, or perhaps it was simply because it was a great little trip with beautiful scenery, stunning colours, good hands-on scrambling, a great deal of possible route variation, and a terrific summit view.

Having said all that, the 5.2 km hike to Bertha Lake was something less than thrilling, although a couple of scenic waterfalls provided some interest. I don’t know if I missed an obvious trail, but I found myself doing some fairly heavy bushwhacking (though very short-lived) behind the campground. From there, I ascended scree slopes to where the real scrambling starts. As Kane mentions, there are many possible routes to the col, but ascending one of the water-worn gullies proved to be the most fun. The scrambling was easy, hands-on, and the rock, was for the most part, solid. Along the way, the variety of rock colours was fantastic and near the top I came across a large outcrop of alternating strata of red and green argillite – stunning!

The hike from the col to summit was a little longer than expected, but the panorama improved with each step, and the summit view was terrific, with excellent views of most of the scrambles in Kane’s book, as well as many other beautiful peaks. I spent about 30 minutes at the summit, enjoying the scenery and trying to stay warm behind a very small rock shelter, before starting the descent. For the return trip I decided to descend alongside the waterfall. It made for a longer descent, requiring detours to the left to get around steeper sections of the waterfall, but the scenery was fantastic, making an already scenic day even more so. What a great trip and a great day!     

Interesting trees and roots at Bertha Lake


The ascent route of Bertha Peak; the waterfalls can be seen just left of centre


Looking back to Bertha Lake (right) and the Waterton lakes, with Vimy Ridge above


Interesting rock colours


More interesting rock


The alternating bands of red and green argillite


At the summit, looking towards the numerous colourful peaks of Waterton and Glacier National Parks and 10,000 foot + Mount Cleveland (just right of centre)


Great flower and waterfall scenery on the way down


The sun setting on Mount Cleveland


The same as above, with a dead and wind-blown tree on the shores of Upper Waterton Lake

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