Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

Home > Smith Dorrien / Spray > Mount Sparrowhawk

Mount Sparrowhawk

After finishing Norquay, Aylmer, Panorama, and Paget, I took a day off in Canmore to rest. During which I met Clayton (Candy Sack). We were planing on doing a scramble on Wednesday, and his objectives were either Cirque Peak or Mt Niblock. Cirque Peak is my first scramble in the Rockies and I don't have the interest to repeat it. If Niblock, I won't do it without doing Mt Whyte, and Niblock to Whyte sounds a perfect solo objective due to the amount of tourists on the trail. They will scare away the bears for me. Therefore, I threw out my objectives: how about doing Storm Mountain or Mount Inglismaldie, which are characterized by miserable bushwhacking and tedious scree bashing. Not to my surprise, he wasn't interested in these. So, Mount Sparrowhawk? Yes, that works for both of us.

I like the way of driving on Smith Dorrien road at 80kph. Well, Clayton has a truck so that's why. I usually just drive at 30-40...

We made a not-so-early start at 8:45AM, especially under the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms. However, Sparrowhawk is short and easy so it was okay. I suggest you not to follow Kane's description. Alan Kane says do not follow Read's Ridge trail as it leads to cliff bands... Oh man, there's no cliff bands at the end of Read's Ridge Trail (which we found out later)... His direction is always vague as by just following, people ascended Ship's Prow instead of Lawrence Grassi. Okay, after following Read's Ridge trail for about 15min, we started the bushwhacking, traverse towards climber's lift, trying to find the scream Kane mentions. The bush wasn't bad at all (well, having done bushwhacking on Barnaby Ridge, I will probably say any bushwhacking in this area isn't bad). We crossed the drainage and went up the ridge on the other side. Surprisingly, this eventually led us back to Read's Ridge. "Damn it... We should have just followed the trail then". At the base of Read's Tower, we found that there's no cliff bands at all.

After a quick break, we started the traverse diagonally up beneath Read's Tower. We should have just drop down a bit and ascend the bottom of the gully. By that way, we could avoid side-sloping on loose stuff. The snow in the gully helped us a lot. (I didn't even use an ice axe until near the summit, so the snow is easy). There's not much to say for the rest, as it's merely a simple slog on snow or occasionally, scree and slab. Be sure to look back at the impressive face of Read's Tower on the way up.

Near the summit block, we had to cross a steep snow slope. It was steep enough to take out my ice axe for security. A slide on that slope would send me down the other side of the mountain, where big cliff bands exist. After some tedious scree bashing, we stood on the summit, more than 3100m high. We stayed for almost 1 hour to soak in the views and to escape the heat. The register was in bad shape as it was wet.. I took several close shots of Mount Lougheed's alternate route (moderate route), and it's bone dry now.

Descending on scree and snow was really effortless. Except for a few isothermic sections, the whole way down to Read's Ridge was fast. Since I haven't done Read's Tower yet, I decided to give it a go as well. I made a promise of coming back in 1 hour. It took me 25min up, 5min summit stay, and 15min down. You can get a very good perspective of Mount Sparrowhawk from Read's Tower, so it's not that worthless as I thought. Instead of bushwhacking, we just decent via Read's Ridge trail, which was miserable. It's the type of just a loose layer on top of firm ground, so use caution here. Round Trip time 8 hours including all of the stops and detours.

At the end of the day, we enjoyed the cold water in Spray Lake. That was awesome, as the temperature was 31 degree in Canmore...

Print all photos for $6.60 | Slideshow
Me on the summit
1
Me on the summit
Order print
27 views
 
Spray Lake
2
Spray Lake
Order print
39 views
 
Spray Lake
3
Spray Lake
Order print
39 views
 
Spray Lake
4
Spray Lake
Order print
41 views
 
Mount Sparrowhawk
5
Mount Sparrowhawk
Order print
28 views
 
Mount Nestor
6
Mount Nestor
Order print
27 views
 
Old Goat Mountain
7
Old Goat Mountain
Order print
46 views
 
Big Sister
8
Big Sister
Order print
23 views
 
Up the gully
9
Up the gully
Order print
20 views
 
10
Order print
28 views
 
Clayton coming up the gully
11
Clayton coming up the gully
Order print
31 views
 
Read's Tower
12
Read's Tower
Order print
25 views
 
Read's Tower & Spray Lake
13
Read's Tower & Spray Lake
Order print
27 views
 
14
Order print
24 views
 
The summit block
15
The summit block
Order print
22 views
 
Ascending steep snow
16
Ascending steep snow
Order print
20 views
 
Ascending steep snow
17
Ascending steep snow
Order print
21 views
 
Near the summit
18
Near the summit
Order print
27 views
 
Big Sister & Lougheed
19
Big Sister & Lougheed
Order print
25 views
 
Mount Bogart
20
Mount Bogart
Order print
33 views
 
Spray Lake
21
Spray Lake
Order print
22 views
 
Mount Assiniboine
22
Mount Assiniboine
Order print
32 views
 
Old Goat Mountain
23
Old Goat Mountain
Order print
35 views
 
Ribbon Peak
24
Ribbon Peak
Order print
35 views
 
Summit register
25
Summit register
Order print
19 views
 
26
Order print
31 views
 
27
Order print
29 views
 
Wind Mountain
28
Wind Mountain
Order print
61 views
 
Mount Lougheed
29
Mount Lougheed
Order print
40 views
 
30
Order print
33 views
 
Ribbon & Kidd
31
Ribbon & Kidd
Order print
83 views
 
Bogart Tower
32
Bogart Tower
Order print
40 views
 
Spray Lake
33
Spray Lake
Order print
31 views
 
Three Sisters
34
Three Sisters
Order print
28 views
 
Kananaskis Range
35
Kananaskis Range
Order print
26 views
 
Birdwood & Smuts
36
Birdwood & Smuts
Order print
31 views
 
Mount Bogart
37
Mount Bogart
Order print
37 views
 
My backpack on the summit
38
My backpack on the summit
Order print
27 views
 
An outliar of Sparrowhawk
39
An outliar of Sparrowhawk
Order print
32 views
 
Looking back the summit block
40
Looking back the summit block
Order print
23 views
 
Boot skiing down the slope
41
Boot skiing down the slope
Order print
23 views
 
Boot skiing down the slope
42
Boot skiing down the slope
Order print
27 views
 
Back to Read's Ridge
43
Back to Read's Ridge
Order print
26 views
 
Photos taken by Steven