ApproachThis is a 3800+/- ascent day. From the Tangle Falls parking lot, cross the road and gain the Wilcox Pass trail on the right side of the falls. This trail follows the road for a bit and then heads north into the forest. Follow this trail for approximately 30 minutes, passing an old log cabin site en route, until you are level with Tangle Creek on your left.
Route DescriptionYou are looking for a perpendicular, mostly dry, drainage on the other side of Tangle Creek that heads northwest up Tangle Ridge. In 2005, this juncture was well marked with a cairn. Follow this drainage northwesterly on the left bank. At first there is not much of a trail, eventually a light trail does form and was well marked with cairns in 2005. Proceed steeply up the left side of what is now turning into a well cut canyon that flanks Tangle Ridge’s east slope. Continue to ascend above tree line and into a beautiful high alpine setting. Now the broad scree/talus slope up to Tangle Ridge comes into full view. Any sign of a trail fades out, but at this point you are simply aiming for the ridge staying out of any corniced snow that remains on your right side.
After climbing over 100 mountains in the central Canadian Rockies, I have never found scree to be as pleasant to travel on as this. The soft ground and thin layer of loose shale make for firm footing as you ascend to the summit at almost 10,000’. Along the way you will find small pockets of thick moss seeping droplets of water like an oasis in the middle of the desert. This is also the first time I ever caught a bird of prey actually digging at a squirrel hole. She/he was so shocked of our presence, that it lost a feather on retreat.
Proceed to the summit, which has a solar powered repeater (no shelter, just a tower and tank). Now it becomes apparent why there were so many cairns built on the approach. This summit serves as a photographers dream. We had the summit to ourselves as dark clouds were the norm. Despite the cloud cover, views of Mts. Nigel, Wilcox, Kitchener, Snow Dome, Athabasca, Andromeda and Sunwapta filled the sky. Do not venture out onto the glacier to the north. There was no summit log in 2005.
On return, we chose to descend the summit due south. If you have visibility to the parkway, aim east of a road maintenance facility you can see before you approach tree line. We found the forest to be amiable (read not much bushwhacking) and found breaks through small rock bands when we needed them. We came out just skier’s right of Tangle Falls, at our parking lot.