Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Exshaw Mountain

The weather has been bad for a month, and it's only gonna getting worse. It was forecasted rain everywhere... The main reason why I still headed south was to buy a pair of mountaineering boots that were selling at a price of 70$, but to grab them I had to drive to Calgary. But if I'm driving to Calgary, I gonna go bag a few peaks regardless the weather. And it turns out to be, I successfully got 6 peaks over 2.1 days, with decent summit panorama for 4 of those. If the weather can cooperate in July and August, I think I might gonna get 100+ summits in year 2012 (47 summits so far).

I started the drive after lunch on Saturday, June 23, and got to Calgary by 3pm, and then I realized something went wrong... I soon found the location according to the direction I got from google map. (I copied and pasted the address to google map and got the direction). There was no such a building lol.... Thank god I brought a Calgary map got from CAA with me. Checking the map, I was at the NW area, and the correct address is in the SW... Damn! In either Vancouver or Edmonton, you don't need to worry about the NW / SW thing. Just by finding the straight name you can get to the place.... Oh well. To get to SW section, I had to cross the downtown Calgary where I had never been to. Just like Vancouver downtown, the traffic pattern is much more complicated than Edmonton. But anyway, I made to the destination and got the boots. I didn't linger any longer and started the drive towards the Rockies.

It was raining hard on the drive in, and I couldn't even see Mt Yamuska's face until almost arrived Highway 1A junction. The rain ceased a bit and I thought I might just had enough time for a quick ascent of Exshaw Mountain. I wouldn't think about doing this mountain if it's not named. The summit is heavily treed (more treed than Tunnel and Stony Squaw), and there's even no trail up (at least, extremely hard to find), while, you still have more than 400m elevation gain which is about half of Mt Lawrence Grassi, so don't think it's just a cake walk that everybody can do just like Tunnel Mountain...

Anyway, I started the ascent at about 6:30pm, under light rain. Anybody that has done bushwhacking while raining knows what's gonna happen. I didn't even bother to use the waterproof boots nor gaitors because I didn't have the experience of dealing with bad weather. I paid for the consequence, my boots and pants got completely soaked literally after 2 minute of bushwhacking. I did get some descent view of the Exshaw Plant and Lac des Arcs at the beginning, but most of the mountains were covered in clouds. What's funny about this mountain is, the higher you go, the less view you can get. Eventually I hit the summit (basically bushwhacking entirely up), and 99% of the view was just trees, with the exception of a glimpse of Loder Peak and Door Jamb Mountain. After taking a shot of the summit cairn, I bushwhacked down. I tried to find a trail but couldn't. Except for obtaining this named summit, I didn't enjoy any part of this ascent though. And getting my boots soaked (I brought an extra pair so it was okay).

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Photos taken by Steven