Big Rim Ridge attempt December 16, 2007  

Mountain height:  approx 2700 m (came up about 70 vertical metres short)
Elevation gain:     900 m
Roundtrip time:    8:20

Scrambling and a little mountaineering with Mark.

Im sure by now my recently acquired methodology for unofficially naming unnamed peaks is becoming all-too transparent. This little gem of a peak lies between Big Sister and The Rimwall. We spotted it on two recent attempts of Smoat Peak (another unofficially named mountain across Spray Lake to the west). From Smoat Peak, the ascent appeared to relatively straightforward except for a couple of sections: a rockband about halfway up and an apparent narrowing of the ridge near the summit.   

The first section was as easy as predicted, although we were surprised at how slabby the terrain was. A summer trip might yield some very enjoyable slab scrambling. At the first highpoint, the aforementioned rockband became visible and looked quite daunting. Initially, the plan was to circumvent the entire block by going around the left side. That plan was quickly abandoned when the mountain ran out on the left side. The right side yielded far better results until, once again, the mountain just dropped away. The rock on this side was absolutely beautiful and looked to offer some very interesting climbing.

The only option now was to find a route up the rockface and then head straight up the ridge. Descending the right side, Mark found a feasible route, up a narrow crack. Cairns at the bottom and top of the crack gave us some feeling of comfort. Mark ascended the crack without his backpack (it was too narrow) and then belayed me up. A scree slog followed and then another rockband appeared. We tried the right side of this one and did find a potential scramble route. Unfortunately, the remaining snow and relatively cold temperatures precluded an attempt and we had to go back down. The left side was much easier and soon we were back on the ridge, hoping that the remainder of the ascent would be easy.

Just before we reached the summit, the ridge suddenly narrowed to an alarming degree. Though it was not knife-edged, it was snow-covered and the drop-offs on both sides of the ridge were severe. We continued, but soon came across terrain that was knife-edged and very snowy. This marked the end of the line for us, as an attempt would have required far more climbing gear than we had with us and snow-free conditions.  We backed down, with the promise to return in Spring or Summer. Despite not making the summit, a great day out on a surprisingly interesting and enjoyable mountain.   

Early morning light over Little Lougheed


Approaching the first rockband


Mark patiently waits for the sun to emerge from the behind the clouds; unfortunately it didn't 


Part of the Sundance Range


Mark assesses potential routes around the block


Looking west to Old Goat Mountain (left) and Smoat Peak (right)


Mark starts up


I follow


More of the approach to the first rockband


Trying to warm my hands


Spray Lake


Some of the cool rock on the south side of the block


Same as above


More geometrically-pleasing rock


More slabby rock 


Spray Lake again


More of the impressive walls 


Lots of big cracks here for climbing; Smoat Peak behind


More redundant photos, but this rock really was cool!


Mark ascends the weakness; he had to take his backpack off to squeeze into a crack to his right 


Approaching the second rockband


Looking for a weakness back up to the ridge


Mark tries the north side of the same rockband


Big Sister to the north


Clouds over The Rimwall and the first peak of Lougheed


The first peak and true summit of Lougheed


Big Sister again


Back on the ridge


Things looked promising at this point


Things looked interesting at this point


A little more interesting


Very interesting; the drop on the other side of the ridge was just as severe


Same as above


The end of the line, with the summit behind


Mark takes in the interesting scenery before we start down


A last look at The Rimwall