Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Crowfoot Mountain

The temperature dropped to -19 degrees at night... Definitely the coldest night I've ever experienced in the Rockies. (Not to mention the next night is even colder)...

Since we slept in car and we didn't have stove or any heater thing, the crux of the day is to get everything start in the morning, including eating frozen food, drinking water ice mixture, and wearing snowshoes. I gonna briefly describe the route now. From the parking lot (the proper one, not the one near highway) walk about 100m down to Bow Lake. The Lake might be even colder than the parking lot. I've warned you! The lake crossing takes about 20min if you walk fast. It's further than it looks. Then follow the obvious route towards a narrow canyon (the 1st canyon). Do NOT venture into the canyon, instead start gaining elevation on the left in the trees. Before a huge avalanche path, moving right a bit then start losing elevation down to valley bottom. Now, go straight will lead you towards Bow Glacier Falls, and you should turn left into another canyon (the second canyon). Vulture Peak dominates the skyline from here. Note this canyon is definitely avalanche prone and you should move fast. It takes you 30-40min to completely out of the canyon. Now, watch carefully on your left. Just about getting out of the trees and losing elevation, turn sharply left into more trees (uphill). If you turn left later, you gonna have to deal with steeper slope. 10-20min later, you will see the entire huge slope leading you to the Crowfoot - Little Crowfoot col. The view is very foreshortened so be prepared for a long slog.

The ascent is straightforward, but Crowfoot Mountain does fall into the category of mountaineering because higher up towards the col, you are venturing onto a small glacier. In this season, the snow pack is about 3m thick and the crevasses are well bridged. I wouldn't say you must rope up but you should at lease carry a rope and be prepared. If white-out condition or no more visible skiers' track, you should rope up. From the col, it's still a long way to go. We followed skier's track zig-zagging up the huge slope. The weather is getting bad now. Mt. Balfour never shows up for us. Once topping out on the summit ridge, take off your snowshoes or skis and walk on scree to the summit. On a clear day, the summit view would be fantastic, but due to the clouds, we could only see the very nearby peaks. We waited about 1 hour but there was no sign of improving and we decided to head down... Snowshoeing downhill is definitely much slower than skiing down, but I would say it takes very little energy. The weather improved significantly one hour later, and I took lots of photos on the way back to the parking lot. It's time to rest and get ready for the ascent of Wapta the next day.

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Crowfoot Mountain
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Crowfoot Mountain
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Bow Glacier & Mt. Thompson
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Bow Glacier & Mt. Thompson
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Bow Glacier
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Bow Glacier
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Bow Peak
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Bow Peak
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Morning light over Bow Lake
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Morning light over Bow Lake
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Portal Peak & Mt. Thompson
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Portal Peak & Mt. Thompson
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Bow Glacier Falls
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Bow Glacier Falls
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Second Canyon
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Second Canyon
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Vulture Glacier
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Vulture Glacier
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Vulture Peak
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Vulture Peak
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St. Nicolas Peak
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St. Nicolas Peak
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Vulture Glacier
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Vulture Glacier
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Foreshortened view on the way to the col
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Foreshortened view on the way to the…
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The Onion and Wapta
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The Onion and Wapta
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St. Nicolas Peak
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St. Nicolas Peak
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16
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Mt. Thompson
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Mt. Thompson
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Mt. Thompson
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Mt. Thompson
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19
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20
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Part of Wapta Icefield
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Part of Wapta Icefield
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Little Crowfoot
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Little Crowfoot
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23
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24
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Cornices on summit ridge
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Cornices on summit ridge
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The summit ridge, looking back
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The summit ridge, looking back
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Bow Lake
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Bow Lake
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Summit view looking west
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Summit view looking west
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Mt. Olive behind Vulture Peak
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Mt. Olive behind Vulture Peak
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Summit cornice
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Summit cornice
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Me on the summit ridge
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Me on the summit ridge
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Me on the summit ridge
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Me on the summit ridge
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Zoomed-in towards Bow Hut
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Zoomed-in towards Bow Hut
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A perfect place for skiers
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A perfect place for skiers
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Looking back towards the col
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Looking back towards the col
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The Onion
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The Onion
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Back to the trees, looking towards the col
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Back to the trees, looking towards t…
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Vulture Glacier & Peak
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Vulture Glacier & Peak
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Mt. Jimmy Simpson
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Mt. Jimmy Simpson
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The second canyon
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The second canyon
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Me, entering the second canyon
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Me, entering the second canyon
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44
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45
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46
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47
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48
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49
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50
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51
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Back to Bow Lake
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Back to Bow Lake
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Subpeak of Crowfoot
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Subpeak of Crowfoot
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Subpeak of Crowfoot
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Subpeak of Crowfoot
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Bow Lake
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Bow Lake
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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
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Photos taken by Steven