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Shark Scramble

 
Shark Scramble

Page Type: Route

Location: Alberta, Canada, North America

Lat/Lon: 50.82780°N / 115.4083°W

Object Title: Shark Scramble

Route Type: Scrambling

Season: Summer

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes
 

 

Page By: Dow Williams

Created/Edited: May 26, 2005 / Oct 10, 2006

Object ID: 165222

Hits: 1678 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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Approach

This is a 3500+/- ascent. It took me 5 hours round trip solo, but the attached scrambles book says 6-9 hours.

TAKE YOUR BIKE! Bike in 4 km on a wide ski trail to a trail on your left that proceeds down to Watridge Lake. I have seen a large black bear on this trail. Park your bike at the lake and proceed on your approach 1.2 km up to Karst Springs. Upon reaching where the springs originate from underground, there will be no further trail.

Route Description

Ascend straight up through the tree line. In May the bushwhacking was tolerable. Later in the year, it probably is quite irritating. As you begin to break out of tree line you will see the ridge, due south of Watridge Lake. This reading is good to know on return as you do not want to end up on the east side of Karst Springs (where it comes out of the mountain).

Once you gain the ridge, you will be rewarded with decent limestone slabs. However, the ridge will narrow and you will find yourself traversing back and forth from time to time. Although a short climb, this ridge gives you three false summits. Trust your altimeter. The second false summit has some well built cairns on it. According to the summit register, I was the first to summit Mount Shark in 2005. However, I suspect these cairns were built early season and somebody called it a day.

I was getting snowed on in May and the ridge and summit were still well lined with cornices. It would be a foolish mistake to pick the wrong line here, but I have seen it done, so be alert. The biggest danger regarding these cornices is when you come across small rock moves to get up and over several problems. The issue is that if you did slip, you could slide onto and off the cornice. Also, because the last false summit leans heavily to the north, your perception of the flow of gravity could be easily tainted. I noticed this as snow and ice kicked free from my steps, it raced off the cornice vs down the ridge. So your angles, when hands on climbing on the hard pack particularly, need to be adjusted accordingly.

The views give way to Assiniboine, Gloria and Eon to the West, Lougheed and company to the north, Sir Douglas and company to the south and Fortress, Chester, etc back east.

On descent, above tree line, I recommend you return the ridge. I tried to glissade on some snow, but it was isothermal and followed water worn rock down. It also led me too far to the right and into trouble, so stay on the ridge from whence you came. Below tree line, keep north zero degrees and listen well for Karst Springs. Don’t be led off by animal trials. It is a true bushwhack.

Essential Gear

Ice Axe, Helmut, Bike, Gaiters, Compass, Bear Spray

Images

Best Mount Shark summit view...The ridge of Mount Shark is...On the 2nd False Summit...