Carthew Minor II, Mount Carthew II and The Carthew Lakes
August 5, 2014
2330 m, 2630 m
Ascent time to Carthew Minor: 2:20
time to Mount Carthew: 1:10
My first trip up this minor outlier of
Mount Carthew was a thoroughly enjoyable winter snowshoe trip, in 2010. Curious
to see how the trip would unfold without snow, I set out on the Summit Lake trail. After
visiting the lake and then leaving the trail to bushwhack to the base on the ascent ridge, I scrambled
over an interesting field of massive, red argillite boulders to gain the ridge.
This section was very cool, but nothing compared to what awaited.
I stayed near the ridge. However, there appeared to be some interesting blocks
of more red rock to the left and that’s where I ended up – in the “Garden of
Red Argillite” – a name I applied to this small, but stunning area of stacked
blocks of the colourful rock. After a lengthy exploration of the Garden, I made
my way easily to the summit, a short distance away.
relatively clear skies, the summit view was awesome – in some ways superior to
that of much taller Mount Carthew. This is due to the fact that the view from
Minor includes several lakes that disappear from sight as you approach the
summit of Carthew.
I thought this to be the end of the line, as the downclimb to the col between
Carthew Minor and the false summit of Mount Carthew appeared to be way beyond scrambling.
Closer inspection, however, revealed a potential route down and in fact the
downclimb turned out to be moderate scrambling only, with some exposure. And of
course the red argillite rock was superb throughout!
down, a thoroughly enjoyable traverse over to the false summit and then to the true
summit of Mount Carthew ensued. This was a rather nostalgic part of the trip, Carthew
and Alderson being my first scrambles in Waterton, back in 2004. I finished the
day with a little side-trip to the magnificent Carthew Lakes. Unfortunately, returning
via Cameron Lake was my only way to get back and so I opted out of going all
the way down to equally scenic Alderson Lake.
or summer, a wonderfully scenic and interesting route to a magnificent
several months after the trip I discovered that Alan Kane does briefly mention
this route to Carthew Minor and then to Mount Carthew in his Scrambles book.
Carthew Minor doesn't look that impressive from afar
The initial boulder field
The Garden of Red Argillite
Cameron Lake makes an appearance. Mounts Kintla and Kinnerly in Glacier National Park are the distant peaks in the centre
Back on the ridge and enjoying more red argillite scenery. The traverse to the false summit of Carthew at the right
The summit of Carthew Minor
Some of the great scenery from the downclimb
Looking back at Carthew Minor and the downclimb
Onward to the false summit of Mount Carthew
Mount Carthew from the false summit
Carthew Minor (middle left) suddenly looks quite small
The traverse from the false summit to the true summit is super scenic, because of the Carthew Lakes and Mount Alderson (far right)
From near the summit, Mount Alderson looks incredible
Heading down to The Carthew Lakes
Returning to Carthew Summit (the low col between the false summit of Mount Carthew and a slightly higher point to the south)
A last look at the amazing rock colours of Alderson