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Buckaroo

[TR] Canada Alpine - Road Trip, Castle Mtn. Eisenhower Tower, Canada 8/5/2008

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Trip: Canada Alpine - Road Trip, Castle Mtn. Eisenhower Tower, Canada

 

Date: 8/5/2008

 

Trip Report:

Photo TR of 2 week Canada Car Camping Road Trip. Summit on Castle Mountain, Eisenhower Tower via normal route.

 

(for some reason Firefox won't see half of this post on my PC, so try MS Explorer if you have the same problem.)

 

 

 

 

Big sky country at dawn at a rest stop just west of Spokane

01-BIG-SKY.jpg

 

 

 

 

Lake Columbia near the source of the Columbia River on hwy 93 in Canada.

02-COLUMBIA--LAKE.jpg

 

 

 

 

Peaks on the Radium hwy north of Radium Hot Springs with some scattered thundershowers.

02-RADIUM-HWY.jpg

 

 

 

A bridge at Castle Junction between Lake Louise and Banff. This Osprey nest has been here for several years.

03-OSPREY.jpg

 

 

 

Castle Mtn in a rainstorm, Eisenhower Tower on the right

04-CASTLE-RAIN.jpg

 

 

 

Black Bear in a roadside berry patch. Whenever you see several cars randomly parked by and on the road you can expect tourists with cameras and wildlife.

05-BLACK-BEAR-2.jpg

 

 

 

Castle Mountain in the sun. The hut is at the far left center edge of the photo, it's a little white/tan speck on the edge of the ledge at mid height of the mountain. Eisenhower Tower on the right with the Dragon's Back on the far right lower skyline. Brewers Buttress is at center on sun/shade line. Bass Buttress at left skyline of square topped tower on left.

06-CASTLE-SUN.jpg

 

 

 

Crux 5.4 25M pitch (diagonal left to right) at the start of the 1,000'(vert) climbers trail to the hut. 07-TRAIL-START.jpg

 

 

 

Exposed climbers trail to the hut, short technical sections, steep scree trails and rock gulleys, pretty well marked with cairns but would be hard in the dark. Hanging evergreen gardens and sheer rock cliffs. You can see the trail at the upper left in the photo at the top of a small scree/talus band.

08-TRAIL-UP.jpg

 

 

 

Looking down the hut trail with the Bow Valley below. You can see the trail faintly at center right of the photo.

11-TRAIL-DOWN.jpg

 

 

After gaining the ledge on the traverse to the hut.

12-HUT-TRAVERSE.jpg

 

 

 

6 person ACC hut 10 ft from the edge of a 1,000 ft cliff. Better not be drunk and wandering around outside in the dark to pee.

13-HUT.jpg

 

 

 

A shale stone 2 person love seat 3 ft from the edge of the cliff. A freight train is passing by in the Bow Valley below.

14-CLIFF-TRAIN.jpg

 

 

 

Looking back at the hut from the steep scree ledge trail that goes to the base of the routes. It's more than a 1/4 mile to the base of Eisenhower Tower from the hut. A light rain started about this time, about 10am. This scree ledge was about 50 to 100 ft wide and about 45 deg and the faint trail followed near the base of the cliffs above.

15-HUT-RAIN.jpg

 

 

 

 

Looking back near the end of the ledge approach as the rain increases. This may have been on the way back from the first early morning attempt which reached the top of the Dragons Back bypass gulley which is the normal descent of Eisenhower Tower. This was a 2 pitch 5.6 gulley with a nice little handcrack and some decoy and real rappel stations.

16-TRAVERSE-RAIN.jpg

The next day was better weather and I attempted the route again and got to within 2 pitches of the top on the right hand route version. Sustained 5.6 and a couple moves of 5.7. I got gripped when the rap anchors ran out and rain was on the horizon. That and not being sure of the descent made me turn around, in retrospect I should have gone because it never rained that day.

 

 

 

 

Back down the climbers trail from the hut, beautiful hanging evergreen banzai gardens. This was the best weather day of a 5 day forecast so I bailed back to the car to regroup. 09-HANGING-GARDEN.jpg

 

 

 

 

A little wildlife(elk) civilization interaction in the town of Banff. Went to the hotsprings to recoup and planned on trying Castle again on the next good weather day about 2 days later.

17-ELK.jpg

 

 

 

Some deer in town by the bus station, they were late to catch the bus to Jasper so didn't want to hold still for the photo.

18-DEER-2.jpg

 

 

 

Goat on the road to the ski valley (secret almost legal car camp) above Banff. He was really concerned about humans and only let me get within 2 ft of him to take his photo.

19-MALE-GOAT.jpg

 

 

 

Banff from the ski valley road at night. 20-BANFF-NIGHT.jpg

 

 

 

Climbed back up to the hut with better weather. Mt Temple at dawn.

20-TEMPLE-SUNRISE.jpg

 

 

 

Eisenhower tower from the base. Dragons Back in the foreground. The regular route goes to the scree bowl at half height and then follows the left skyline. The right side variation follows the ridge up the right side of the scree bowl. The Dragons Back was a fairyland affair, very exposed with only one route and very circuituitous. It had one place with a mandatory ascent of a 12 ft spire and down the other side and across a 5 ft rock bridge over the abyss.

21-EISENHOWER.jpg

 

 

 

Above the Dragons Back, the 5.6-5.7 85deg sustained full pitch to the base of the scree bowl. Right hand route straight above. This photo was on the rap descent.

22-RAP.jpg

 

 

 

A 50 ft rock spire to the left of the pitch above the Dragons Back. Radium hwy and Castle Junction below. 24-SPIRE-2.jpg

 

 

 

 

Looking up the regular route from the base of the scree bowl, roughly follows the skyline. A bit easier than the right hand route with some 5.5 on the top 2 pitches. Since I'd already done most of the harder right hand variation decided to do the regular route.

23-UP-REGULAR.jpg

 

 

 

One of the summit cairns (about 6 ft high) with Assiniboine(?) behind.

25-CAIRN.JPG

 

 

 

Rockbound Lake from the summit. A still mountain lake viewed from above is a portal to another sky.

26-ROCKBOUND-LAKE.jpg

 

 

 

Brewers Buttress from above.

27-BREWERS.jpg

 

 

 

 

Looking down the righthand route, Dragons Back below.

28-DOWN-RIGHT.jpg

 

 

 

Looking down the regular route from the top.

29-DOWN-RAP.jpg

 

 

 

Looking up the 2 pitch bypass gulley. Normal descent from the top of the Dragons Back.

30-DETOUR-CHIMNEY.jpg

 

 

 

Going back down the hut trail after a successful summit.

10-HANGING-GARDEN-2.jpg

Emailed Raphael and he said that Mt Alberta was full of snow and wet. So the Japanese route will have to wait until another season.

 

 

 

 

A side trip to Moraine Lake and Ten Peaks. Rented a canoe and paddled around the lake, pretty interesting soloing with a wind. This place was very crowded compared to 14 years ago.

31-MORAINE-LAKE.jpg

 

 

 

Mt Temple East Ridge (50 classics) from Moraine Lake. Big step and Black Towers clearly visible. The base is hella close to the road.

32-EAST-RIDGE-TEMPLE.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

WARNING Snaffle blood and guts ALERT.

DO NOT VIEW IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not a crow it's a HUGE RAVEN and he's about 18 in long.

33-RAVEN.jpg

 

 

 

North face of Temple in evening storm light.

34-TEMPLE-NORTH.jpg

Mt Louis by Banff was next on the tick list. The Kain route looks like a good solo so copied the guide book pages and signed in with the rangers and went to the base and recond a mile or so up the trail. It looked like a go with a partly cloudy day, no rain for the next day. Woke up in the morning and it was raining so headed back home.

 

 

 

 

Three Sisters at dawn above Canmore on the detour way home.

35-THREE-SISTERS.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Trango S Evo's

one 50M Twin rope, raps fixed ring bolts at 25M (10 raps + downclimbing)

HB carbonfiber helmet

ultra lite alpine harness, bugette rap device

rain gear, puff jacket, ultralite bivy sack, go-lite day pack.

14 packs GU

2 qts water

 

Approach Notes:

13 hour drive Seattle to Castle Junction of Hwy 1 between Lake Louise and Banff.

 

2-3 hrs trailhead to hut on steep 5.4 climbers trail. 45 min hut to base of route on steep scree traverse. 2 hrs climb(solo) base to summit on Eisenhower Tower regular route.

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Nice pics of that area. I've been wanting to get on Brewer's Buttress since I hiked up to the hut a few years ago. Nice job on Eisenhower. That scree trail looks gnarly, man...one mistep and its a big ride.

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Right on :tup: Eisenhower looks cool.

 

I did the complete Brewer Buttress on Castle a long time ago. I recommend it. We may have gotten a FA when we were off route on the lower buttress. It was some rad 5.10 stuff.

 

Mt Louise is another good one. The Kane Route is fun, and there are a few other good looking routes there too. I think we saw a wolf when we descended to the car at the end of the day.

 

Nice pictures.

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Yeah when Gene and I did Brewere Buttress, we looked over and a party was topping out on Eisenhower. The route and position looked great!

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