KC = Kananaskis Country Confines of Cougar Creek - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 12Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default Confines of Cougar Creek

Deep gorge of Cougar creek, sandwiched between Mt. Grotto to the east and Lady MacDonald to the west is the place to explore. I go walking here regularly about once a week, but always find something new. During spring runoffs it is sometimes impassable and dangerous, while later in summer when creek has mostly vanished there is lots of trudging on debris from 2013 floods. But in winter I find the canyon at its best -- ice floor, snow caves and sounds of creek flowing below snow bridges you must cross. There are many options: Most popular, and shortest one, goes to Canadian forks - about 3km from the berm at the mouth near Lady Mac trailhead. Here is February pictorial from that part:

[Views back to Three Sisters near Lady Mac trailhead, just before the berm]

[Berm erected post 2013 floods; designed to stop debris that caused most damage. During the winter they lift bottom part of the fence for the hikers; otherwise there is bypass to the east side -- and it is well used too]

[Table explaining the berm logistics is fairly interesting read]

[First part of the canyon -- hoping left and right across small logs. If crossing on ice, be careful as there is creek flowing below]

About a kilometer past the berm canyon narrows significantly and this is the most challenging part to the forks. In summer you must scramble on the sides across boulders; in winters it is often just bare ice:


... which is why you need traction if you come here in winter:

[I am using these for 8 winters now and absolutely love them -- light, easy to put on/take off and work great]

[Mid-part of the canyon, past the narrows. The gorge widens significantly and snow sometimes vanishes reverting the hike back to gravel]



[Major attraction about 15 minutes before the forks: Large icefall on the left (west) side. "Cougar Peak" in the background]

[Close-up of the icefall]

There are some other attractions in this part -- large cave on east side as well as pictographs (which I still haven't found!). No signs of traffic on this day past the icefall; I continued to the forks, but going was more rough with plenty of postholing, in particular nearing the large cairn marking the forks.

Daffern has documented really well several other options past the forks in Vol 3 (orange), which I will add to this thread later on in the year.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	berm.jpg
Views:	1651
Size:	2.21 MB
ID:	117746  

Click image for larger version

Name:	bermtable.jpg
Views:	1456
Size:	2.04 MB
ID:	117754  

Click image for larger version

Name:	creeksnow.jpg
Views:	1383
Size:	1.59 MB
ID:	117762  

Click image for larger version

Name:	floorice.jpg
Views:	1409
Size:	1.91 MB
ID:	117770  

Click image for larger version

Name:	icefall.jpg
Views:	1410
Size:	2.13 MB
ID:	117778  

Click image for larger version

Name:	icefallforks.jpg
Views:	1431
Size:	2.21 MB
ID:	117786  

Click image for larger version

Name:	mid-canyon.jpg
Views:	1413
Size:	1.98 MB
ID:	117794  

Click image for larger version

Name:	sisters.jpg
Views:	9179
Size:	1.50 MB
ID:	117802  

Click image for larger version

Name:	spikes.jpg
Views:	1402
Size:	1.42 MB
ID:	117810  

Dac-van, vern.dewit, lobo and 2 others like this.
zeljkok is online now  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 03:05 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: , BC, Canada.
Posts: 2,463
Default

Beautiful place.

What are typical temperatures when you hike in the Rockies in the winter?
Steventy is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

Thanks!

Typical temps -- this winter is anything but typical. In fact there has been no winter to speak off. I am heading out with same gear as when I went to say Seymour or Cypress. Hard to believe, but this is Environment Canada forecast for Banff for next week:

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.27.59 AM.png
Views:	1224
Size:	42.8 KB
ID:	117818  

zeljkok is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 04:36 PM
Dru
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Climbing, a mountain, Canada.
Interest: climbing and spraying
Posts: 16,175
Default

There's a couple ice routes that are long enough to actually climb about an hour, hour and a half past Canadian Forks.
Dru is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

Conditions update late March '16
Much has changed in less than 2 months in Cougar creek. Mostly snow and ice free with water freely flowing. Odd white spot has slush on top of ice and you can walk safely even in running shoes



From the point where pic above was taken, was able to follow climber descent trail up the drainage gully coming from Grotto and then descent "Cougar ridge" trail. Everything in montane is almost bone dry; lower down trails are muddy from heavy mtn. biker use.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	cougar1.jpg
Views:	1182
Size:	1.94 MB
ID:	122377  

zeljkok is online now  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

mid-April trip

This time I continued for ~50 mins on left fork past Canadian forks. This brings you to steep drainage coming down "Cougar peak" (unofficial name). This is still infrequently done ascent -- for more details check out Spirko and Cornelius reports. Bottom part of this drainage is brutally steep; I found easier to ascent on climber left side through the woods; only minor bushwhack. It eases up, but then at treeline picks up again. Picture of lower part of the gully:



Above treeline it is just horrible scree bash. I hoped I'd be able to ascend in snow, but immediately started postholing up to my knees and was forced to exit back to scree. Picture of mid-part of the drainage:



Luckily there was a trickle coming down some slabs & I was able to refill water. Higher up some slabs help in upward propulsion, but it is still tedious going as there is lots of rubble. Eventually drainage splits; ignore first right fork and keep ascending, then when it splits again take wider right branch - as in this picture (much, much steeper than pic might suggest). Faded tracks in the snow indicate 1-2 weeks old ascent:


This is where I bailed out, maybe 300 vertical below summit. I just didn't like that snow I'd eventually have to ascend part of the gully -- although it is probably possible to avoid on the slabs on left side. Real reason is probably low energy - just didn't have it in me on this day.

I will say though that "Cougar Peak" is mother of all slogs. I can't actually remember worse. 2 hours (1-way) of Cougar canyon which now, that snow is gone, is very tedious going, followed by very steep scree bash. Technically I'd probably put it in moderate area. I don't know if it is going to make in new edition of Kane scrambles, but if it doesn't -- it is no big loss really.

Finally, I have a question:


This pic is looking across west to other side. I was studying upper Cougar drainage and direction of red arrow. I think this is what Daffern calls "Carrot - Cougar col, trip 70C in orange book. Has anyone gone this way, and how long does it take? I'd very much like to get up that very inviting ridge to the right of Charles Stewart. Also, buttress on right side -- marked with "?" -- is this just an outlier of Mt. Townsend?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	carrot-cougar-signs.jpg
Views:	995
Size:	1.81 MB
ID:	127401  

Click image for larger version

Name:	cp_lowergully.jpg
Views:	1008
Size:	1.80 MB
ID:	127409  

Click image for larger version

Name:	cp_midgully.jpg
Views:	956
Size:	1.70 MB
ID:	127417  

Click image for larger version

Name:	cp_uppergully.jpg
Views:	982
Size:	1.68 MB
ID:	127425  

lobo likes this.
zeljkok is online now  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 09:46 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1
Default

That peak you're asking about looks like Squaw's Tit. If you think Cougar Creek is a slog, try Exshaw Creek to Mount Fable.
Seanith is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanith View Post
That peak you're asking about looks like Squaw's Tit. If you think Cougar Creek is a slog, try Exshaw Creek to Mount Fable.
no, ST is way on the other side (out of picture, left). On the maps I can see only Townsend and Stenton in that direction, but this is in-between. PhilR or Granticulus will know for sure,

Agreed on Exshaw / Fable though
zeljkok is online now  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 12:39 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
PhilR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canmore, AB
Interest: Being outside! Hiking, Scrambling, Trail running
Posts: 312
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
no, ST is way on the other side (out of picture, left). On the maps I can see only Townsend and Stenton in that direction, but this is in-between. PhilR or Granticulus will know for sure
It is, as far as I know, unnamed. Below is a view of it from the other side. It is much more dramatic than I had given it credit for based on too maps. Also below is an annotated screenshot from google earth.


View of Unnamed Peak from descent from Mythic Tower


Google earth image with peak circled
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1207.jpg
Views:	176
Size:	355.6 KB
ID:	127793  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Unnamed Peak.jpg
Views:	885
Size:	641.2 KB
ID:	127801  

Trail Talk likes this.

Last edited by PhilR; 04-20-2016 at 12:42 AM.
PhilR is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 01:05 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
PhilR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canmore, AB
Interest: Being outside! Hiking, Scrambling, Trail running
Posts: 312
Default

What would be neat to explore is this nice little block up the valley that you highlighted. I've stared at that on google earth many times and wondered what it would be like to climb up there and enjoy the little plateau.


Neat block
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Island .jpg
Views:	1147
Size:	1.04 MB
ID:	127849  

PhilR is offline  
post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 01:10 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Edmonton, AB, .
Posts: 217
Default

Here are a couple of photos that I took from the top of Mount Charles Stewart South (aka Buffalo Point) in 2014



If I'm not mistaken, this one shows the cliff near your red arrow on the Carrot/Cougar route





This one is of the meadows on the way to Stenton Lake. My daughter backpacked along this route after the flood.
She said that there was quite a bit of clambering up boulders and that the good trail along it was gone.
That was some time ago so things may have improved.
Attached Images
  
Semi Awesome is offline  
post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilR View Post
What would be neat to explore is this nice little block up the valley that you highlighted. I've stared at that on google earth many times and wondered what it would be like to climb up there and enjoy the little plateau.


Neat block
Right on. This would be terrific trip, Carrot/Cougar route to col, turn west & ridgewalk --- can Charles Stewart (not Buffalo Point) be ascended? looks like a walk-up on Google Earth --- Then round back and on return explore your block.

Would be a long day though, for me at least. 2 hrs of Cougar creek, then 2 hrs to Carrot/Cougar col. Not much faster back -- that's already 7-8 hrs. So 11-12 hrs day. Maybe next spring; right now I had enough slogging on flood debris for awhile =)
zeljkok is online now  
post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,696
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Semi Awesome View Post




This one is of the meadows on the way to Stenton Lake. My daughter backpacked along this route after the flood.
Very neat!
What's that upper right -- Aylmer?
zeljkok is online now  
post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 12:13 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Edmonton, AB, .
Posts: 217
Default

I think that is Mount Costigan on the other side of Lake Minnewanka.
Semi Awesome is offline  
post #15 of (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 06:48 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: canmore, alberta, Canada.
Interest: scrambles, climbing, water, fastpacking,
Posts: 130
Default

They updated the microspikes.fit better and hurt feet less than before.
forestwalker is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1