Mount Saskatchewan Junior II and Big Bend Peak II

July 27, 2016

Mountain heights:        2850 m, 2814 m
Total elevation gain:     way too much!
Ascent time:                 way too long!
Descent time:               even longer than “way too long”!

Solo scramble.

I ended up ascending everything but the true objective on this somewhat haphazard day. The North Towers of Mount Saskatchewan was the mountain I set out to ascend. Mark and I had come up about 50 m short of the summit in May of 2009 (still one of my favourite trips of all time) and I vowed to return on a perfect weather day to complete the task.

Unfortunately, as I proceeded up the valley on the way to the North Towers, it became obvious that a perfect weather day was not on the planetary agenda! But instead of cutting my loses and going directly up Big Bend Peak or Mount Saskatchewan Junior, I wandered, somewhat aimlessly, up the valley, eventually ending up near the southeast end of the North Towers. For a few seconds, I was tempted to attempt the South Tower from this side. However, my stubbornness for perfect weather won that battle very quickly. Or did it??!!

Instead, I settled for another ascent of Mount Saskatchewan Junior (MSJ) and started north, towards that objective. Or did I? Before I knew it, I found myself at the North Towers/Saskatchewan Junior col, having turned west and ascended a deceivingly steep scree slope, alongside the glacier.  

At this point, I was so close to the North Towers that an attempt was pretty much obligatory. To my utter surprise, I immediately decided against it, due to the cloudy weather and reverted back to MSJ. This turned out to be a good decision. Even better was the decision to traverse to the seemingly lower summit northwest of MSJ. In fact, as depicted on the topo, this summit was slightly higher than MSJ (I will call it MSJ II) and provided an outstanding view – perhaps slightly better than that of MSJ.

On descent (or did I?), I ended up ascending Big Bend Peak – just because I had nothing better to do!!!

Perhaps the most random day I’ve ever had in the mountains, but that's certainly better than “no” day at all in the mountains!

Approaching the south end of the North Towers, MSJ is way in the distance, with the Sun on it. Big Bend Peak at the far right.

At the Towers/MSJ col, looking towards MSJ (centre). MSJ II to the left and Big Bend to the right.

The summit view from MSJ.

The summit view from MSJ II.

Back at MSJ. While the weather was "less than perfect", it certainly wasn't all that bad...excpet at the left side of the photo!

Heading home....until I decided to ascend the peak at the left (Big Bend)

A good view of the considerable length of Spine Peak, with Mount Saskatchewan to the right.

Spine Peak is the summit just right of centre, the highest point of the ridge lies to the right of Spine.

Summit view from Big Bend. The view was a little less satisfying than on our first ascent.

Now that's more menacing weather!