Mount Bryant – October 9, 2006           

Mountain height:   2629 m
Elevation gain:      900 m
Ascent time:          3:25
Traverse time:       1:00
Descent time:        2:05

Solo scramble.

Following in the footsteps of Kevin Barton, who did this route a week earlier, I set off to try Mount Bryant, not expecting too much from the trip. Initially, I thought it might be nice to do Kevin’s route in reverse, by going up the east ridge, then over to the true summit and out via the tarn below the mountain. Upon arriving at the base of the mountain, however, I decided the remaining snow on the east ridge might turn the difficult scramble into mountaineering, which would preclude an attempt as a solo ascent.  

The hike along a tributary and around the base of the mountain was more enjoyable than expected, especially given the initial signs of winter all around - snow, ice forming, and the general beauty of the scenery. The second pleasant surprise of the day came when I reached the crystal clear, greenish waters of the tarn.

From the tarn, the remainder of the ascent involved a 500 vertical metre slog up very tedious rubble and scree. One band a short distance up provided some entertainment, but it was over almost immediately and the foreshortened slog continued. Fortunately, at one point, while trying to catch my breath, I turned around to see the four peaks of Lougheed just rising above the unnamed peak to the west of the tarn. Fresh covered in a little snow, they were stunning. A few metres later, I again turned around to see another group of familiar peaks suddenly appear. This pattern continued all the way to the summit. By the time I finally reached the top, the panorama had opened up to what I would call one of the most breath-taking views I’d ever seen. Perhaps my delight in the view was a combination of the recent snow, the enormous amount of recognizable and distinctive peaks in every direction, and the fact that I wasn’t at all expecting a view of this magnitude.

After a significant bout of picture-snapping and a thoroughly enjoyable summit stay, I decided to attempt the traverse. Though the north side of the peak was still plastered in snow, the south side was clear and it appeared the route would take me onto that side if things got tricky. The ridge provide an enjoyable traverse until the mountain suddenly seemed to drop away on both sides. A few moves of cautious downclimbing and I was able to circumvent the first serious obstacle.

Unfortunately, the second obstacle was a far more serious undertaking, as a deep notch appeared along the ridge. Getting around this section required an elevation loss and a little bit of route-finding, but the vertical rock scenery, now above me, was splendid. Once around this rock, the lower east summit was only a few minutes away and again sported a terrific panorama.

There appeared to be a number of potential descent routes from the east summit that would lead quickly down to Canyon Creek, but I chose to take Kevin’s suggestion and follow the east ridge down. This turned out to be a wonderful route, with yet more cool rock scenery and some easy scrambling. Eventually, the ridge forked to the northeast and southeast. I took the southeast ridge, with the intention of descending a striking slope of reddish brown scree that looked like it might grant some good surfing – it did. As a matter of fact it was fantastic surfing and enabled me to lose a huge amount of elevation in several minutes.

The last and more than pleasant surprise of the day was a spectacular cliff band near the bottom of the slope. After that, a 2.5 km hike back along Canyon Creek completed an absolutely fantastic day on a wonderful mountain. Great route Kevin – thanks!           

Mount Bryant from Canyon Creek


The fading moon


Frozen water


More frozen water


Still more frozen water


Two of many unnamed peaks northwest of Bryant


The west side of Bryant


The tarn


An air bubble under the ice


The only scrambling of the west slopes; steep, but big holds


Looking down at the tarn


The four peaks of Lougheed (Wind Mountain is the fourth peak at the far left) 


Bogart, Sparrowhawk, and Lougheed are now all visible


More impressive views to the southwest; Fisher Peak just right of centre



Looking south again


The east ridge of Bryant


Same as above


Looking back at the downclimb


More of the east ridge, with the east summit in the centre


Looking back to the true summit (right)


The final section of the east ridge


Traversing scree slopes below the ridge


The impressive block before the east summit


Descending the east ridge


More good rock scenery on the ridge


The southeast ridge, with Compression Ridge at the right


Looking back along the ridge; true summit in the centre



The impressive cliff band, low on the descent route