Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Mt. McHarg & Worthington

We followed the Northover Ridge trail down to the valley north. Now I've done the alpine part of traverse, and this is definitely not a good choice for beginner hikers and backpackers. This involves scree, exposure, rubble, and some scrambling elements. It's like an easy scramble on a poorly defined trail. If you go for Cascade Mountain you'll find it's similar... Okay, once we got down, we had to pick up a line towards Worthington & McHarg. Obviously the ridge doesn't connect. We were not sure the terrain on the west side, so we decided to skirt around on the east side while hugging around treeline. However, by the time we got down to treeline, Grant decided to stay higher and side-slope. I followed treeline further down, which turned out to be a good call. Eventually Grant had to come down and join me as his line didn't work out..

We finally traversed to the big drainage and followed it up. It was foreshortened. I almost never get lured by foreshortened view as my reference is other mountains and elevation. I knew Mount Worthington is just slightly lower than Mount Northover... At least we had to get higher than Northover Ridge though. It was mainly a rubble and talus slog. Slog and slog, we made to the col. Turn right, without a break, we started a longer slog up the south slope. I decided to grab McHarg first as it's lower. By this time of the day, we were both beat and we went slowly. It also feels like 30 degree, and I was pretty dehydrated. I managed to eat snow though. There are 3-4 false summits on Mount McHarg so make sure you're mentally prepared... False summits are very discouraging...

I re-filled my water bottles with snow. We glissade and plunge-stepped down the mild glacier between McHarg and Worthington to save time and energy. It's not recommended to do this though, you should always try to avoid glacier travel by skirting around the edge. But for this one, we descended towards skier's right and I don't think there'll be any issue. We quickly made our way down to McHarg - Worthington col. From there, it was a 10min slog up the tedious rubble slope to Mount Worthington. The view down towards Three Isle Lake is the most attracting.

We took a long break on the summit. It was very discouraging to see the Upper Kananaskis Lake from the summit of Worthington, oh man, it's a long way home... Getting mentally ready, we started the descend down the rubble slope. I descended to McHarg - Worthington col first and managed to use snow for as much as possible. Grant joined me on the snow as well. We boot skied down for a short distance but it soon turned to rubble slog again. We took our time and made back to treeline.

We were too tired to try finding a trail or whatsoever. We just decided to bushwhack straight down the slope. The forest was pretty thick and there were 2 or 3 very steep sections involved. Again, nothing worse than the bushwhacking down Southfork Mountain, so I'm okay with that :) It feels like forever to finally break through the trees and re-joined the Northover Ridge traverse trail. We followed trail down to Three Isle Lake. This lake is also very pretty.

By this time, I was very beat. Considering this was my 4th day in a row of intense peak-bagging, it's understandable. Descending the steep headwall almost killed my knees... I had to descend step by step. What was more frustrating, there're tens of uphill sections involved. I think this trail has to be re-designed. Eventually we made down to the wider and more pleasant trail. This trail goes on forever, we passed Maude - Lawson Trail, Forks Campground, more up-and-downs, and finally joined by the Upper Kananaskis Lake Circuit trail. Another 2km brought us back to my car. Round Trip Time: 16 hours car to car. Overall, awesome climb, awesome views!!! I'm more comfortable and skillful on dry rock than steep snow, and that's why I say this is an exciting and enjoyable climb, not scary climb. This 3 peak traverse gave an awesome finish to my 4-day-bluebird-peak-bagging trip. I couldn't ask for better condition. And a big thank to Granticulus for accompanying!!

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Photos taken by Steven