Cross the bridge and follow Exshaw Creek for about one hour. The trail will turn west (left) into a major subsidiary valley that passes underneath the south side of the mountain. Follow this up to the base of the south ridge.
Route DescriptionI combined the Alpine II 5.4 South Ridge climb with the Fable-Gab Traverse. Both of these routes make a fine long day outing, but are located in two separate guide books which I included to the left.
From the base of the south ridge, you will observe a series of limestone slabs. Ascend the second to last slab and follow it on solid water-worn limestone to where it ends. Traverse left into an obvious gully and up to a horizontal ledge system. Then climb a 30 meter (5.4) diagonal crack to the ridge just below the summit. Proceed to the summit.
Descend west to the col above the drainage (8200'). Start your long ridge climb over to Gap Peak. You must transcend the inside slope of a peak directly west at 8600' and turn south. You will switch back and forth from east to west several times on this ridge route. You spend tons of quality time on top enjoying 360' views. As you start your ascent on Gap Peak, the ridge becomes moderate to difficult at times. It took me 3 hours from Fable's summit to reach Gap Peak.
On descent, I took the water worn canyon south of Gap Peak. I wouldn't normally take such a route, but met a young man on Gap Peak's summit who had just ascended Gap Peak from the opposite direction. He was concerned his partner got lost in the canyon, so we paired up and had a great time working several smaller problems on smooth water worn rock and even had one 5.7 down climb to the side.
It took us 2 hours to descend this route which landed us right at Grotto Pond. It is longer, but definitely fun! This is a difficult descent.
The normal descent is via open slopes below the summit that lead easily to upper Grotto Creek and is straightforward. Once you emerge from Grotto Canyon, proceed east to Grotto Pond (and your bike if you stashed it there, otherwise hitch back to Exshaw).
This was a 4300' +/- elevation day.
This was a solo climb for me, but if paired, I advise taking a short rope and a few runners using natural pro if desired. I don't believe any rack is needed, but to each his own. A helmet is an absolute for me. Good hiking boots or lite alpine boots are adequate. Always take gaiters for scree in case you encounter any. And remember this is a ridge climb, so be liberal with the sun screen and camera.