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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-06-2021, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Default Peechee Shoulder

This is first of a kind, not just on CT but anywhere, printed or electronic -- except for single website I used for beta and I will quote at end of this TR. Mt. Peechee is prominent Fairholme Range peak at north side of Bow Valley. With Inglismaldie and Girouard it forms often seen backdrop from Lake Minnewanka lakeshore trail. While later 2 have well documented scramble route up, there is virtually no info on Peechee. That, in addition to desire to take aerial look up Carrot Creek drainage prompted me to go exploring. Parking is fairly inconspicuous: ~2km west of Banff East Gate at Harvie Heights there is unsigned road on right side; it soon ends at fence with plenty of parking space. This was probably used at Carrot Creek trailhead before floods, as there is no biking sign and even old outhouse. Approach hike is ~3km of delightful open meadow hiking on what seems to be old wagon trail:

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[Looking east towards Canmore area peaks under the Chinook arch]

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[Looking north: Princess Margaret right, Peechee left showing ascent route. Carrot creek drainage in between]

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[Looking at Peechee ascent ridge; it is worth studying this as there is no trail beyond Carrot Creek and route-finding is non-trivial. P - Peechee main summit, PS - Peechee Shoulder, LR - Lower Ridge, MR - Main Ridge]

Trail eventually dips in forest and becomes overgrown single track, with several deadfall areas. Carrot creek is reached within ~45min from parking; small cairn is here and it is critical to be able to locate it on return. It all looks similar & I actually used GPS to find it coming back. Easiest crossing is bit upstream of this cairn; it was an easy rock hop, but in couple of weeks it might not be feasible

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[Carrot Creek crossing at easiest place]

Elevation gain starts as you climb lower ridge; going is relatively easy but there is some deadfall to contend with

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[Small cairn on lower ridge, also quite important to spot on return for easiest trash down to Carrot Creek]

Lower ridge does not connect and one must make traverse right across intervening valley; pick your spot, but don't start too early as there is much deadfall and considerable elevation loss; however going too far on lower ridge would also force you to backtrack as cliffs peel of main ridge higher up. I picked up spot that looked good & generally had no issues - use my GPS track (download link will be provided at bottom of report) "2 - Lower Ridge" "3 - Main Ridge" are end points of this traverse. Despite lack of trail Main ridge is fairly straightforward; steady elevation gain, but except for one section not too steep. Views across Carrot Creek east to Princess Margaret and Charles Stewart are awesome; I stopped for photo break (but also picked up a tick along the way).

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[Length of Carrot Creek; before 2013 floods this was feasible way for Bow Valley - Lake Minnewanka crossing]

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[Princess Margaret right, Charles Stewart left. CS is feasible as scramble approached from Cougar creek, but Margaret is technical because of 5m class 5 downclimb just before summit that requires rope]

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[South Ghost Pass with Carrot Peak left of center]

After about an hour of steady climb you reach treeline and cliffs; this is now scrambling territory. It gets progressively more difficult the further you go, going into stiff 3rd / 4th class, but reaching prominent buttress ("Peechee Shoulder") is feasible if dry. Beyond is strictly technical territory and I could find absolutely no info if anyone climbed main Peechee summit this way:
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[Start of scrambling; Peechee Shoulder is upper center and you stay on exposed ridge most of the way]

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[Higher up; 10-15 min from here]

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[Looking back at scramble ridge near the "summit"]

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[Bow Pano and Rundle Range with sun setting over Banff right of photo; ascent ridge left]

Return is the same way, and again you must look for easiest way to cross over from Main Ridge to Lower Ridge. Resist temptation to descend to Carrot creek any other way as you will get into trouble. Final walk back to parking was under headlamp, with starry sky above.

My time was 6hr return, with ~900m vertical and 13km. Map and Elevation profile:
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This is exploratory trip suitable only for experienced people comfortable with route-finding, creek fording and exposed rock ridges. Finally this is link to (only) reference I had; beta here was invaluable & worked like a charm.

Full trip report with GPS download link on personal site here
martin, solo75 and ColdBrook like this.

Last edited by zeljkok; 05-09-2021 at 12:41 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-07-2021, 11:18 PM
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Great TR and photos, as usual.

Has a wild vibe, despite being between Ban** and Canm***.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2021, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks IceTitan; lots of these ridges on sunny side of valley are quite inviting. Last yr I had great hike up "Tibitts Ridge" (just west of former Tit), and next one just east of Princess Margaret can likely be scrambled too at least to some point. I'd also be curious how far one can get up Carrot Creek when water is low
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-11-2021, 07:56 PM
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The deadfall on hillside in image after creek crossing is quite impressive.
You are very generous with beta on lesser-known or undescribed routes -- thank you.
Such beauteous mountain ranges!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-11-2021, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ColdBrook View Post
The deadfall on hillside in image after creek crossing is quite impressive

Carrot creek was raging in historic 2013 floods; even Trans-Canada had to be repaired, as seen on this image from Calgary Herald

Kinda hard to reconcile that innocent little creek from pic in trip report with this
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