2774m (according to my and Bob Spirko's GPS) or 2789m (according to peakfinder)
Moderate scramble. Some routefinding required on the ridge. Mild exposure. Ice-axe recommended in the early season.
12km one-way to the summit.
Bob Spirko: http://bobspirko.ca/OtherScrambles/B.../Bluerock.html
Sonny Bou: http://sonnybou.ca/ssbou2012/bluerock.html
My GPS track: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3kbo5a8hx...tain%20001.gpx
I don't have time these days to post long trip reports. Decided to make an exception for this one as I think Bluerock Mountain is undeservingly ignored. I was surprised I could find only Bob and Sonny's TRs when doing research for this mountain. I'm a big fan of long ridgewalks that Bluerock Mountain is known for, so I was glad to join Jeff jeffs78
and others on a club trip organized by Jeff.
It turned out a very pleasant outing. We followed South Ridge as described in G. Daffern's latest edition of "Kananaskis Trail Guide". Jeff brought the description. I had Bob Spirko's GPS track but it was not needed as routefinding was pretty easy. A broad equestrian trail (Bluerock Creek Trail) brought us quickly to the base of the mountain and above the treeline, thus eliminating any bushwhacking. The only difficulty was crossing Bluerock Creek on what was once a bridge. Some opted to get their feet wet.
Once we gained the summit ridge (what G. Daffern calls Kiska Mnoga Iyarhe
Mountain) we were treated with a pleasant and long ridgewalk on undulating summit ridge over a series of false summits. The only challenging part was getting through the 2nd false summit / cliff band, or the first one after Kiska Mnoga Iyarhe
. G. Daffern describes the route up and it's sort of obvious. There is only one gully on the left that offers a straightforward way through:
That gully was filled with snow. Nothing serious for competent scramblers but at least 2 less experienced members of our party had some problems ascending it. One of them slipped on wet rock and stepped on my finger.
Once above the narrow gully you can go either left or right. There is a large cairn on the left but that route looked pretty intense in the given condition. We had to cross a steep snow-covered slope right above a drop-off. When I was dealing with the pain shock and getting treatment to stop blood spilling from the crushed finger, Jeff and others found a much easier way up on the right. I obviously followed them once coming back to my senses.
The rest was a very enjoyable ridgewalk over a series of bumps. You can follow the ridgeline (moderate exposure) or avoid it altogether by dropping a bit left. Routefinding is fairly simple. If any difficulties encountered - look for an easier way on the left. The last bit to the summit after the 4th false summit is just a pleasant hike/easy scramble. The summit offers nice views over the foothills towards Mt. Ware, Forgetmenot Ridge and Moose Mnt. Rose and Threepoint Mnts are prominent in the north, while Burns, Cougar, and Banded-Glasgow group dominate in the west.
On the way back we dropped to Upper Bluerock Creek, then rejoined the equestrian trail (Bluerock Creek Trail) at the base of the mountain ("the bench"). This involved some tedious side-sloping that slowed us down a bit. It was a very good decision in the given conditions, as we saw menacing clouds approaching from the west and I heard the sound of thunder. We were also not certain that the less experienced members of the group would manage to descent that gully where I sacrificed my blood to nature
. For competent scramblers, and when the weather is nice, I recommend retracing steps to enjoy the glorious ridgewalk for the second time, instead of scree bashing.
We completed the trip in over 12 hours, but this included at least 2 hours waiting for slower members of the group. Anyone traveling at the moderate pace can do it easily in 10 hours, especially if coming back the same way.
Highly recommended outing for those who enjoy long ridgewalks, especially as an early/late season destination.