Mount Allan IIDecember 29, 2006       

Mountain height:           2819 m
Elevation gain:              1350 m 
Ascent time:                  4:45
Descent time:                3:10

Solo hike.

On a quasi nostalgic/sentimental whim I decided to give Mount Allan another go. Exactly five years ago to the day, Mark and I had completed an ascent of the mountain and even to this day that trip remains one of our favourites – the weather was perfect and included a couple of unique meteorological phenomena (low-lying clouds beneath us, and the appearance of ice crystals in the air) and there was an inversion (it was about 15 oC warmer at the summit than at the parking lot). As well, the scenery throughout was fantastic, especially the striking pinnacles just before the summit. We were also witness to a pack of wolves stalking a deer – very entertaining. 

The chances of a repeat experience were second to none, but I couldn’t think of anything better to do, so what the heck – up I went! All started off quite well. The skies were clear and above tree line the scenery was beautiful, especially covered in a fresh layer of snow. Unfortunately, there were no visible ice crystals in the air and no low-lying clouds. There was, however, a ton of wildlife on the slopes: a herd of deer down low and several large groups of sheep above me. I did my best to avoid them, side-sloping to get around the animals, but at one point I popped up over a small rise to find a group of 5 or 6 big-horn sheep not more than 10 metres away. I was startled, but they didn’t seem too concerned and slowly moved away. 

Higher on the ridge, the wind picked up a little, but nothing too alarming. Nearing the pinnacles, the wind picked up a little more and out came every layer of clothing I had. At the pinnacles, the wind unleashed bloody hell on the mountain (and me, of course) and conditions were absolutely brutal. It took me over three hours to negotiate the long ridge and most of it while being pummeled by the relentless wind and an enormous amount of blowing snow.

I was completely wiped out by the time I made the summit, but only stayed for about two minutes – it was simply too cold be standing still, even for a couple of minutes. As well, the sky had clouded over and the view not as good as on our previous trip on the mountain.

I didn’t think for a second that the descent could be any more draining the ascent, but it was. The wind increased in strength even more and several times I had to stop to brace myself, in fear of being blown over (a few more Quarter-Pounders with cheese per week might help there!). It also lasted until I was well below tree line.

A very different experience than our ascent five years ago, but definitely a trip that is worthwhile to repeat.   

The north and east faces of Mount Kidd 


Same as above



Mount Kidd again, with The Wedge at the left



Approaching tree line


Rocks with snow


Two deer (right side) spot me as I ascend the lower slopes; Ribbon Peak to the left


A group of big-horn sheep traverse the side of the mountain; note the multiple sets of animal tracks on the slopes - obviously why this trail is closed for lambing in April, May, and June


Approaching the first highpoint of the day


More rocks with snow


The first obstacle of the day, circumvented on the right side



A young ram - an unfortunate remainder that the St. Louis Rams failed to make the playoffs this season


Approaching the first obstacle



More wildlife



At Olympic Summit, with the true summit to the right and Wind Mountain to the left


The best view of the day is always in the direction of Wind Mountain;
Lougheed's true summit is on the right


Sparrowhawk (left) and Wind (right)


Looking back along the ridge


Approaching the pinnacles, the wind picks up; true summit in the centre


Sparrowhawk (left), Wind (centre), Lougheed (just right of centre), and the pinnacles



A closer look at two of the bigger pinnacles


Same as above, from a different angle


One of the more striking pinnacles


Strong winds and blowing snow near the summit


A small powder avalanche, seen on descent


More blowing snow and dark clouds, as I descend the wrong ridge


"Old Baldy Mountain" at GR356417


Sunset over "Wasootch Peak"



Sunset over "Skogan Peak" and Mount Lorette (right)



  Sunset over Mount Collembola