Mount Townsend - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2015, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Default Mount Townsend

Another trip with a long approach to a remote peak. It takes about 10 km of hiking along Cougar Creek before you actually reach the base of the mountain, and by then you've gained almost half the total elevation. Cougar Creek is definitely one of the better creeks to hike in this area; most other creekbeds are full of jumbled logs and chockstones that have to be awkwardly negotiated (e.g. Mounts Inglismaldie and Girouard), but this creek is mostly free of such messy roadblocks. I followed the valley past the Canadian Forks to its upper section where it narrows and makes a sharp right turn, continuing eastward and then northeast to the SW slopes of Mount Townsend. These offer a fairly straightforward way up, first along huge steepish slabs of rock with good grip, then along a minor undulating ridge that eventually peters out in a broad slanted scree field that can easily be traversed northward to get to the base of the summit mass. From a distance, the summit mass looks awfully intimidating, with huge vertical cliffs separating an upward steepening smooth rock slope. However, as I got closer, things looked more manageable, at least as far as my immediate vision could tell. The lower rock band is easily overcome by scrambling up a ramp that leads to the upper summit slope. The rock is loose in places, but careful foot placement is all that's needed to scramble up here. After some easy scree, I then chose the central vertical crack that leads directly up to the summit (although this can be avoided by going around climber's right). This crack involved some moderate to difficult but fun scrambling on downsloping rock with relatively good holds and moderate exposure, and after about 20 minutes I was on top of Mount Townsend (2824 m). Gorgeous views all around: South Ghost Peak, Association, and Morrowmount to the east, Fable and the "Mythic Towers" immediately to the south, and Stenton Peak to the NW. Glancing down the summit towards Exshaw Pass, it looked like Mount Townsend can also be accessed (and perhaps this is an even easier ascent route) by going over the pass and circling around to the west to gain the north ridge, which seems fairly straightforward to follow up to the top.

On descent, I decided to veer around the vertical crack on skier's left and thereby avoided most of the steep slabs directly below the summit. This alternate descent route took me down easy rubble first, followed by a few short sections of moderate scrambling on slanted rock faces. The remainder of the way down was easy and fast - I mostly traced back my steps and then took the easiest way down back into the valley. Another 3.5 hours of bashing over boulders and pebbles to get back to the parking lot at the Iron Goat and my aching feet definitely had enough for today!

Round trip stats: 25 km, 11h, 1520 m total elevation gain.


Mount Townsend as seen from Cougar Peak (April 2015, with approximate ascent route in red, alternate descent in blue):




View of Mount Townsend and its SW slopes from the upper part of Cougar Creek below (June 2015, approx. route in red, alternate descent route in blue):


Looking back down the ascent ridge/slopes and the long approach from Canmore:


On ascent, steep cliffs can be seen guarding the narrow gully to the left:


Scree followed by a smooth steep rock face with a central crack lead right up to the summit:


Tackling the central crack - the rock is smooth but solid:


Half way up the crack, looking across the rock face to a cliff just north of the summit:


Summit views - last picture shows the possible ascent route up from Exshaw Creek (looking NNE):




Route map:
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 11:49 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Thanks for the report. It looks like you are exploring some interesting and little travelled peaks in the Fairholme Range. Well done!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 08:57 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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I tried to reach Mt. Townsend via Exshaw Pass yesterday. Had to turn back 30m vertical and 60m horizontal from the summit because it was NOT A SCRAMBLE anymore. When completely dry, it might be possible to bypass vertical cliff band guarding the summit on very very steep rubble and slabs, but not when there any snow on it.

It looks like there is an easy line while looking up from near Exshaw Pass or on GoogleEarth, but there is not.

Glancing down the summit towards Exshaw Pass, it looked like Mount Townsend can also be accessed (and perhaps this is an even easier ascent route) by going over the pass and circling around to the west to gain the north ridge, which seems fairly straightforward to follow up to the top.

Sorry, I deserted ClubTread since I hate the new platform. Just signed in briefly to warn everyone.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engor View Post
Glancing down the summit towards Exshaw Pass, it looked like Mount Townsend can also be accessed (and perhaps this is an even easier ascent route) by going over the pass and circling around to the west to gain the north ridge, which seems fairly straightforward to follow up to the top.
I wondered about that route, but couldn't get a view of the slope from any other TRs to check it out.

Good info, thanks!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 11:08 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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You are welcome.
This is how Townsend looks from North ridge:
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/129671591

At this point I was still pretty confident. Things get dicey near the very top. I turned back at 2790m, 30m from the summit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilR View Post
I wondered about that route, but couldn't get a view of the slope from any other TRs to check it out.

Good info, thanks!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 11:28 PM
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Thanks for this update. I was scoping out whether or not it was possible to scramble Townsend from Exshaw Pass just last week from Exshaw Ridge. Valuable info!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engor View Post
Sorry, I deserted ClubTread since I hate the new platform. Just signed in briefly to warn everyone.
That is a shame, because your contribution over the years was top notch, both from beta and photography perspective. btw photo of Townsend on Panoramio is awesome.

New platform is what it is; I actually think it is better, but tastes are different. It just takes a bit of getting used to.

Would be great to have you back, at least on some semi-regular basis.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 02:11 AM
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Awesome looking mountain, and formidable looking rock.

Barren landscape; great open views and looks a little cold.

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