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Scramble up to Wasootch Peak

Turner Valley, Alberta


Added by James Hueser

Distance: 11 km (~ 7 miles) round trip. Duration: 6-8 hours. Elevation gain: 915 m ( 3000 feet). An exciting scramble up to the best views from 2300 m (7545 ft). Suitable for shoulder seasons.

Wasootch Peak is for people who's inner scrambler is screaming to push on when they're on Wasootch Ridge. This description will be focusing on the trail to the summit from the main cairn on Wasootch Ridge. For an excellent description on how to get to that cairn, check out Hike to the Top of Wasootch Ridge by Andrew Lunt!

The cairn is quite obvious - a few feet wide, looks like a small make-shift bivy. At that point, as you look south you'll see Wasootch Peak and how the ridge continues up to it. The steeply dipping limestone (>65°!) that makes of the few metre wide ridge is a pretty neat sight to behold - better take a picture now, it's a rocky path ahead!

The most important thing to know about summiting Wasootch Peak is that there are so many paths you can take, with different obstacles and difficulties. Hopefully this description lists the options clearly so that everyone will know what they're getting into in order to have the best experience possible.

The first route is to stay on the ridge all the way to the summit. Pretty straightforward: stay on the ridge. A few hundred metres past the cairn, there's about a 15 foot downclimb. The slope below is steep enough that jumping/falling off of the downclimb isn't recommended. It's also a bit tricky to downclimb something without climbing up it first. The rest of the way includes some hands on scrambling up to the summit, but nothing extreme.

The other routes make use of a traverse skirting below the ridge. The ridge can be gained at any time depending on your scrambling ability. One scrambling route makes use of a chimney for about 150 feet - exciting, but difficult if there's ice. To find this route, keep following the traverse route until the trail thins out/disappears and you can't see any part of the mountain since it's blocked by the slabs. Falling as you ascend the chimney could potentially cause serious injury. If you take this route, you'll notice that once you're at the top of the chimney, the true summit is still a ways away and there's a much easier - and much less dangerous - route available.

Instead of taking the chimney, keep walking along the scree slope to the south - keep to the base of the slabs as much as possible. By doing this, you'd bypass the steep scramble and just have a moderately steep scree slope to slog up to the summit. For anyone not comfortable with significant scrambling or downclimbing, this is the route that makes the summit attainable for everyone.

This is a perfect introductory scramble as it involves many different paths with different opportunities to push your limits. It's only a 2300 masl level peak, but the view looking north as the ridge shrinks back down and diminishes at the base of Mount Lorette is just something that needs to be witnessed with your own eyes. Mount McDougall is the mountain to the immediate east, but Mount Sparrowhawk and Wind Tower are visible from the summit.

This hike is one of my absolute favourites - the unassuming ridge that progresses into a peak that makes you feel like you're on top of the world.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Picnic Area

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