"Carthew Minor"

February 14, 2010

Mountain height:         2327 m
Elevation gain:            700 m
Ascent time:                3:40
Descent time:              2:00

Solo snowshoe.

The original objective for the day was Summit Lake. My first visit to Summit Lake was a short stopover on the way to Mounts Alderson and Carthew, on my first trip in Waterton National Park. Because of the enormous variety of rocks, the Alderson/Carthew ascent is one of the most colourful trips you can do in the Rockies. Of course, a winter ascent precludes the enjoyment of those rock colours. However, last week’s repeat ascent of Mosquito Mountain was yet another shining example of how a winter and summer ascents of the same mountain are so different in so many respects, it’s like ascending two different mountains. I had no intention of making it to the summits of either Alderson or Carthew, but Summit Lake would provide a decent alternative.

Getting to Summit Lake was surprisingly easy. The view at the Lake was very nice, even with cloudy skies above. Since I still had plenty of time to spare and a decent amount of energy, I decided to look for a better viewpoint. Going to Carthew Summit (a minor peak between Alderson and Carthew) was out of the question because I was alone, but the outlier north of Summit Lake appeared to have all kinds of potential.

Ascending the outlier was thoroughly enjoyable. The decent view at Summit Lake turned into a magnificent one as I gained elevation on the outlier. Atmospheric lighting and interesting clouds made the already spectacular form of Mount Custer even more so. Snow-plastered Forum Peak and Akamina Ridge were likewise brilliant to look (and the weather wasn’t even perfect!)

My newly acquired MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes performed magnificently on the steep, hard snow making the ascent that much more gratifying – what a pleasant change from a host of recent energy-sucking, post-holing ordeals!

After a fairly lengthy summit stay, I tried an alternate descent route, but traversed back to my original descent route when the terrain became a little too dicey for my comfort level.

A very rewarding day.

Forum Peak (left) and the connecting ridge to Akamina Ridge

Mount Custer gets some early morning sun

Clouds above Summit Lake

Chapman Peak backdrops Summit Lake

Distinctive peaks in GNP

Same as above

A big block of red rock

Chapman Peak towers above Lake Wurdeman

Forum Peak (left) and Akamina Ridge to the right

A closer look at Forum Peak

More interesting rocks; Cameron Lake at the left

The summit of Mount Cleveland appears

Chief Mountain at the far left

Peaks to the west (don't know what they are)

Carthew (left of centre) and Alderson (right)

A partial summit panorama

Clouds and Custer

More atmospheric scenery

The connecting ridge to Carthew

A close-up


The false summit of Carthew, Alderson, and Carthew Minor at the far right

Mount Cleveland shrouded in clouds