Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

Home > Jasper / Hinton > Hawk Mountain

Hawk Mountain

One of the most serious winter ascents due to the extremely exhausting snow-whacking... However, in terms of views, this is one of my favourites. I've prepared for this mountain for a while, and I almost can remember the exact route without using Kane's book. But, I forgot one thing, that it, the route has a section of treed ridge, which often holds lots of snow.... BAD BAD BAD I didn't bring snowshoes with me.

You have to walk about 35min to approach this mountain, with some elevation gain and loss, then start to climb up. You have some dead falls to negotiate not far up, followed by some miserable ice, snow, dirt, scree, slabs, and vegetation covered ground, which leads you up angling right behind a small treed area. The higher you go, the more slippery it is. Not far up you will find that you are at the crux chimney. I came straight up the chimney, which definitely deserves the difficult rating, especially there was even some ice, but not exposed. The section above the chimney was terribly looooose. Again, its mainly slab with ice, snow, vegetation, dirt, clay, scree, and rubble on top. You mainly traverse on some ledges so better don't fall or slip. But if you are concentrating enough, it won't be a problem, at least for uphill.

When you top out on the main ridge, the crux section is done. Most parties can relax from here. But for me, damn the snow, what's waiting for me was, a 2-hour-knee-to-waist-deep post-holing. Come on man.. I knew retracing my steps down this section would be way faster according to my previous experience of post-holing, so after estimating the time, I set up my turn around time to 3:30, which gives me 3 hours to get down the crux section before dark. Fortunately the post-holing part stayed only for 2 hours. It definitely exhausted me, and after this section, I was only half way up the mountian.

Soon I topped out on a rock outcrop, which indicates the discontinuity of the ridge, ohh man.. There're more treed area to deal with. There's no way I gonna start another post-holing section. So I just decided to deviate from the proper scramble route and do some exposed slab scrambling on the west face (not too difficult though), to avoid most of the snow on the treed ridge backbone. It took me another 40min to finish this section and finally I'm out of the trees. Now I can see Morro Peak is getting smaller and smaller the farther up I go.

There're many many false summits to overcome. I saw several groups of bighorn sheep on this part. Good thing they’re not cougars... Once you can see Roche Miette topping out behind Jacques Range, you are getting closer to the final summit block. The final summit block is quite steep, and has elevation gain of 300m... I pushed myself up, almost without break except for taking pictures. It's mainly a moderate scramble to the top from here, but due to the snow, it's more like the easy side of difficult. Note some snow slopes are quite steep and do not have good run out zone. Ice axe is definitely mandatory here for safety. Eventually, after 5.5 hours trudging, I stand on the summit. The last ascent was back in Sept, 2011. I spent 15min or so on the summit, having energy break, soaking in the views and taking numerous panoramas, as well as, signing the ACME Register.

I basically retraced my steps on the way down. I had to down-climb those exposed slab ledges that I've mentioned above before getting into the real post-hole part. Coming down and retracing my steps the post-holing section is quite fast (30min) compared to coming up (2 hours). Coming down the loose area above and below the crux was actually slower than coming up (extremely loose). I bypassed the crux on the way down. This bypass is definitely easier, as I could face downhill all the time, but definitely more exposed. So it's a trade-off thing. The whole descend took me a bit more than 4 hours in total. So I spent 10 hours on this mountain.

Kane's book says it's 5-8 hours round trip time, while it's way too optimistic. Considering the previous three days' hard work, the winter condition, and the terrible post-holing, my round trip time seems like way too long. If I do this in summer in good condition, I might can finish in 7-8 hours. I guess the proper time would be 8-11 hours for most parties. If you gonna try this in winter, I would say starting at 8 and bring your snowshoes even though the entire route appears dry from Yellowhead Hwy. (I started at 9 and barely made back before using headlamp).

Print all photos for $9.45 | Slideshow
Mt. Colin
1
Mt. Colin
Order print
37 views
 
Pyramid Mountain
2
Pyramid Mountain
Order print
43 views
 
The Whistler
3
The Whistler
Order print
44 views
 
Roche Miette
4
Roche Miette
Order print
45 views
 
Chetamon Mountain
5
Chetamon Mountain
Order print
36 views
 
Athabasca River Valley
6
Athabasca River Valley
Order print
56 views
 
Snaring River Valley
7
Snaring River Valley
Order print
43 views
 
The sun finally shines on me
8
The sun finally shines on me
Order print
39 views
 
Gargoyle Mountain
9
Gargoyle Mountain
Order print
38 views
 
Morro Peak
10
Morro Peak
Order print
39 views
 
Looking down to Athabasca River
11
Looking down to Athabasca River
Order print
44 views
 
This dead tree marks the crux chimney
12
This dead tree marks the crux chimne…
Order print
39 views
 
The Crux chimney
13
The Crux chimney
Order print
40 views
 
Pyramid Mountain
14
Pyramid Mountain
Order print
51 views
 
Consort & Snarning Mountain
15
Consort & Snarning Mountain
Order print
43 views
 
Typical terrain after the crux
16
Typical terrain after the crux
Order print
38 views
 
Halfway up by this point
17
Halfway up by this point
Order print
40 views
 
Athabasca River Valley
18
Athabasca River Valley
Order print
55 views
 
A bighorn sheep
19
A bighorn sheep
Order print
76 views
 
The first false summit of many
20
The first false summit of many
Order print
42 views
 
Morro Peak
21
Morro Peak
Order print
40 views
 
22
Order print
40 views
 
23
Order print
27 views
 
24
Order print
32 views
 
A group of sheep
25
A group of sheep
Order print
35 views
 
The major false summit
26
The major false summit
Order print
36 views
 
The summit block
27
The summit block
Order print
37 views
 
False summit
28
False summit
Order print
38 views
 
29
Order print
42 views
 
Start ascending the summit block
30
Start ascending the summit block
Order print
48 views
 
31
Order print
28 views
 
A snow slope that I had to ascend
32
A snow slope that I had to ascend
Order print
43 views
 
Another snow slope
33
Another snow slope
Order print
31 views
 
Jacques Range
34
Jacques Range
Order print
25 views
 
The last push
35
The last push
Order print
34 views
 
Me on the summit
36
Me on the summit
Order print
56 views
 
Mount Colin
37
Mount Colin
Order print
43 views
 
38
Order print
41 views
 
Mt. Colin
39
Mt. Colin
Order print
35 views
 
Emir Mountain
40
Emir Mountain
Order print
28 views
 
Athabasca River Valley
41
Athabasca River Valley
Order print
40 views
 
42
Order print
38 views
 
Roche De Smet
43
Roche De Smet
Order print
30 views
 
Cliff Mountain & Whitecap Mountain
44
Cliff Mountain & Whitecap Mountain
Order print
28 views
 
Snarning Mountain
45
Snarning Mountain
Order print
28 views
 
Pyramid Mountain & Mt. Zengel
46
Pyramid Mountain & Mt. Zengel
Order print
36 views
 
The Ramparts
47
The Ramparts
Order print
43 views
 
Fryatt & Edith Cavell
48
Fryatt & Edith Cavell
Order print
46 views
 
More of Colin Range
49
More of Colin Range
Order print
30 views
 
50
Order print
37 views
 
51
Order print
32 views
 
52
Order print
46 views
 
Edith Cavell & The Ramparts
53
Edith Cavell & The Ramparts
Order print
37 views
 
The Ramparts & Pyramid Mountain
54
The Ramparts & Pyramid Mountain
Order print
31 views
 
Steep section on summit block
55
Steep section on summit block
Order print
27 views
 
Looking back to the summit block
56
Looking back to the summit block
Order print
36 views
 
Mountain sheep
57
Mountain sheep
Order print
47 views
 
A group of sheep
58
A group of sheep
Order print
33 views
 
Looking back at the false summit.
59
Looking back at the false summit.
Order print
33 views
 
The bypass of the crux
60
The bypass of the crux
Order print
34 views
 
The crux chimney
61
The crux chimney
Order print
44 views
 
The field of deadfalls
62
The field of deadfalls
Order print
30 views
 
Photos taken by Steven