Mt. Bogart Early Season Snowclimb / Scramble

Mt. Bogart Early Season Snowclimb / Scramble

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 15, 2008
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring
Finally, the day I have been waiting for so long, has come. It does not rain and it is not +28 C in Banff but somewhere in between; the mountains have decent snow cover and the night skies are clear. Looks like it only happens once a year in the Canadian Rockies. Or I just work on all the other days...

Off I go on my mountain bike toward Mt. Bogart at 6:11 am. The pack is heavy so I push it at times. The campground is a bit surprising and Ribbon Falls are gorgeous in the morning sun. Although I could start the steep part on hard snow in a gully I know I'll have enough snow higher up so I opt for rock. Some unpleasant rubble covered slabs, a bit scary.

After more trouble than anticipated I reach the upper bowl for almost unspoiled winter scenery. Mt. Bogart seems to be strikingly close, big, and real, but it is still 800 m gain to the top. Two passages seem possible through the prominent rock band and I pick a straight line to one of them. The snow is softer then ideal in the bowl but on the face it's mostly supportive and I make good progress with minimal postholing on the way.

I attempt the passage I eyeballed from below but after negotiating two icy options I retreat. I waste too much time with it, and the snow already softens. Can I make it to the summit in thigh deep slush? Would any cornice fail somewhere above me and take me down with a loose slide? My heart rushes as I try the other option as fast as I can. Pretty steep (45°) but not too icy and clear as it was swept out yesterday by a point avalanche. The heat is on but the snow doesn't move on the surrounding faces either.

Then the swimming part. Why did I make that wrong choice first? I would have just walked on hard crust an hour earlier. Closer to the summit: am I still on the mountain or just hanging out on a cornice?

Here is the summit, I made it! I calm down slowly. It is time to enjoy the views and the light breeze. And maybe to find the summit cairn. Some reluctant probing with the axe doesn't reveal it. Would be nice to see the last entry in the register but I don't have a snowplow with me today. Impressive amount of snow on all three summit ridges.

Some exciting downclimbing of the crux followed by snow wading, and then finally some fun glissades put me back to the bowl. If only I didn't have this much avalanche deposit at the bottom to wade... My boots are soaked but my spirits are high until the next downclimb part next to rushing waterfalls. It is ugly but I had enough snow higher up, so I rather scramble the rock band here.

Finally, down at Ribbon Falls, an exhiliarating bike ride awaits. I only catapult once after losing my balance with my still heavy backpack. I just laugh at myself, I'm sure I looked very comic.

Back at the car after 10h 37min I still have time to enjoy the warm June sunlight and the green summer scenery in the gorgeous Kananaskis Valley. Now if only my family wasn't upset that I ruined their Father's Day plans... but you know, the weather was too tempting.



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