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SW Ridge

SW Ridge

SW Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Alberta, Canada, North America

Lat/Lon: 51.20830°N / 115.8833°W

Object Title: SW Ridge

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Moderate Scramble

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Dow Williams

Created/Edited: Aug 25, 2005 / Feb 21, 2006

Object ID: 166462

Hits: 2439 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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This is a 4700+ ascent day. I said in my old notes that this would go down as the wettest August (2004) on record in Alberta, but as I type, I believe this August (2005) will surpass it. Therefore, you can assume I had somewhat of a stormy ascent. Trying my darnedest to get out despite the rain, thunderstorms and snow, I chose Copper because it was a moderate objective, but by days end it was a difficult outing. To start with, the description of the route in the local guidebook is considerably lacking (sounds like a broken record). You do start at Redearth Creek Trailhead. You do hike or bike in 7.2k to Lost Horse Creek campsite. After that, the following are my observations.

Route Description

Your main landmark will be the pinnacle hovering to the north of Lost Horse Creek campsite. You need to follow animal trails back northeast along the creek through several avalanche slopes, angling up left and contouring around the east side of the pinnacle. I proceeded straight up from there which led to more difficult hands on scrambling, but enjoyable no doubt if not wet.

One can continue on east to easier approach routes to the summit. However, if you proceed straight up to the eastern corner of the pinnacle you will land on a small ridge that leads up to the base of the pinnacle's summit wall (impressive). From here, proceed up a chimney-gully on the right hand side. This route involved a 5th class move up and over a large boulder and then hands on scrambling to the south ridge of Copper. The ridge probably should be rated a difficult scramble from here over to the broad summit plateau, but it went for me straight away. You will find a large cairn and old tripod (yes, you heard me right) set up for summit photos. Rather unusual for such a nondescript mountain.

On descent, there appears to be a deep scree gully on the right side of the south ridge, but due to poor visibility and strong winds, I could not risk exploring this descent. In lieu of such, I bailed off the east side (left) of the ridge before the most difficult notch. This down climbing proved to be easier then the before mentioned chimney-gully I ascended. Once back on the ridge below the pinnacle wall, I descended one gully east of where I came up, but suggest one of two scree slopes on either side of the pinnacle if you have visibility and dry weather in which to navigate. Once back on my bike, it was a fast and dirty mud ride back to the trailhead.

Essential Gear

Alpine Ax (if snow prevails), Helmet, Bear Spray, Gaiters (for descent), Mountain Bike


Copper Mountain from the...The face of the pinnacle you...The optional difficult ascent...Copper Mountain from the...A few visible moments on the...The south descent on shaley...