This is a 4500’+/- total ascent day.
From the road pull out, hike north along the road for approximately 5 minutes looking for a cairn (2006) and/or a small clearing on your right. Break through this clearing to find a drainage that leads up to a waterfall that pours over the first cliff band on Mount Weed’s southwestern slopes. Ascend this drainage on the right bank until you are at the foot of this waterfall. Ascend the steep ground to the right of this waterfall. Do not ascend too high.
Once you are above the waterfall, you want to traverse left along the steep slope above the drainage to the right fork drainage (dry). You can ascend straight up the drainage which will involve some bushwhacking at first or you can ascend the right bank through the sparse trees. I ascended in the tree line to the right but used the rocky drainage for a quicker descent. Either way, you are looking for “rock city”. For a brief period, it will look like you are in southern Utah. Huge boulders the size of homes and cars and multi-colored rock litter this area. Contour to your left as you look for two very large boulders (photo) that mark the top of the drainage/gully close to tree line. In 2006 there was a cairn at the top of the gully.
A broad talus gully leads straight up to Mount Weed’s southern shoulder (col). This involves several thousand feet of uneventful mundane gain. You have a choice to split off to the left as you ascend through the steep summit cliffs. However the ground to the left presents somewhat of a terrain trap for rock fall as well as avalanches if snow filled.
It narrows considerably the further you ascend. The ground straight up is broader and you can stick to the right side for an easier ascent on larger talus and/or firm snow. This option leads to a small col on Mount Weed’s southern shoulder. As you gain this col, beware of any cornice. Conical Peak to the east comes into full view (photo).
Turn left and angle your way along loose ledges to the summit (photo). You have farther to go than you think you do at this point, at least another 500’.
The rock you see above you to the left from the col is not the summit. You want to continue to traverse left at all times, taking the easier ground up loose ledges. Eventually you will come to a short crux section that takes a few moves to gain and then the summit to the north comes into view. Traverse on over to the summit. The scree field below you is the top portion of the steeper option you had further down. There was a summit canister in 2006, but it lacked a logbook.
The views from the summit are extensive including the Snowbird Glacier and East Face, IV 5.6, of Mount Patterson right across the road that is in view during most of the Mount Weed’s ascent, the upper Northeast Buttress, V 5.8-A0, on Howse Peak, Mount Chephren’s East Face, V 5.9-A1 as well as the Wild Thing on Chephren, VI 5.9-A3-WI 4, White Pyramid’s tame East Ridge; and the ability to see Mount Assiniboine
to the east on a clear day. The Wapta
, Freshfield and Lyell Icefileds are clearly visible to the west. Mount Weed is just about the most centered scramble along the Icefields Parkway to take in the scenery and peaks south of the Columbia Icefield.
You can return the same or for a quicker ride, take the soft scree just south of the summit. First move left onto the ledges to avoid ice and a steep narrow gully to the right. Move down the ledges for a time until you can safely move back into the steep gully to the right below the narrow icy section. If not solo, rock fall would be an issue. Otherwise, zig zag your way down talus and scree looking for the soft spots, until you merge back with your ascent route. Return the same from there.
Helmet, Bear Spray, Hiking Poles, Gaiters, Alpine Ax if Snow Conditions, Possibly Crampons as well. I needed neither in late October. Heavy Boots to Protect against the Large Talus on Descent
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