On May 21, we summited Mount Sparrowhawk. That's six peaks of the goal for 20 Peaks in 2023 completed. Sparrowhawk was the most challenging scramble so far this year for a couple reasons.
First, although this scramble had a little less height gain than Grotto, a lot of the height gain on this scramble was through scree, talus and deep snow. Grotto had trails. Even through scree, there was always a nice trail to follow. Sparrowhawk required some route finding and, despite our best efforts to find easy ways around the challenging terrain, there was a lot of churning up scree and post-holing through the deep snow.
Second, Sparrowhawk is more remote and less travelled than Grotto. This led to the lack of well defined trail and the need for more route finding. It also made it feel more adventurous. We were the only people on this peak even though it was Sunday of May long weekend.
This mountain is just south of Little Lougheed, a smaller summit we did a four weeks earlier. We saw Sparrowhawk from the top of Little Lougheed and wondered if there was a scramble route on it. When we found it in our guide books, we decided to go for it.
A gentle start up a beautiful trail through the forest. This part of the trail was constructed to access the High Rockies Trail from the road. The High Rockies Trail was made for mountain bikes and can be ridden as a multi day "bike pack". It is also part of the Trans Canada Trail.
Uma stops to rest at the benches where the trail meets up with the main High Rockies Trail. Our trail continues up the hill, away from the road.
The trail continues up through forest.
Here the trail splits. We take the left side heading up to Mount Sparrowhawk and Read's Tower.
Blue ribbons tied to trees show where the trail goes. Not that it's hard to spot!
This lovely ridge across the valley from our trail is called Red Ridge.
out and back
Park on the Smith Dorrien / Spray Lakes Road. The trail starts across the road from the Sparrowhawk picnic area.
Our path up to the summit and back down recorded on the FATMAP app on my phone.
A Kananskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at the trailhead. Buy one here https://conservationpass.alberta.ca/kcp
Dan and Uma head down after a great day on the summit.
That's six peaks done now. Only 14 more and I'll achieve my goal! Next weekend we are thinking of going up the west end of Mount Rundle. This is a popular summit near the town of Banff. We drive past it often but have never climbed it.