Yesterday my roommate Tim & I decided to climb Mt. Wilcox. This mountain sits directly behind the staff accommodation we live at out here in the Canadian Rockies. We have both wanted to climb to the summit since we got here, but we had to wait for there to be less snow, and the weather to play along too.
So yesterday was the day...we set off around noon with our destination being the summit of 2884m. We packed our bag with the necessities: Hats, sunscreen, something warm for wind, water, hiking snacks an of course...camera & beers.
The weather was sunny and amazing, blue skies and not too many clouds. As we began our hike we had a great pace, absolutely smashing the start of the hike. We reach our first checkpoint, the Wilcox Red Chairs (335m elevation gain) in under 30mins.
After the Red Chairs, we made our way up the mountain a little higher until we were able to make our way across to the ridge line. From the ridge line we had an amazing view of where we live, the Icefield and the entire valley.
Bottom left green roof: Ice Palace (where I live)
Top Right: Athabasca Glacier (where I work)
There were a few people at this point taking photos as it is a popular spot. Tim & I had taken a bit of a backtrack until this point so we had barely seen any other hikers. These two people looked at us with surprise & doubt when we mentioned we were heading right to the summit. Even though they doubted us, they did me a favour by sitting down to have a snack and unknowingly pose for this photo.
^ We stopped at this point for a few photos before continuing our journey to the base of the summit. About the middle left of this image where the green fades to brown is where we began the hard part of our climb along the ridge line.
< This photo is taken from the same point as the previous photo, just facing towards our summit destination.
As you can see, the sky was gorgeous and the weather was perfect!
The climb from here on in was much more intense. The ground became very loose rock & shale which was very slippery and made our accent a little more challenging.
For some reason, I really enjoy climbs like this, loose rock and struggling to find something strong enough to hold onto, forever looking for the next place to put your feet. So...I loved the entire way from this point to the summit. As we got close to the top is was just about vertical rock climbing. Now usually that wouldn't be so bad, but I had a backpack full of water, beers & camera gear. Vertical climbing with just over 5kgs on your back does tend to make you a little unstable, but that just made it more challenging!
On our way up we found a lone Mountain Goat which was enjoying a tasty afternoon snack up near the summit. Upon seeing us, he bailed and decided that he didn't want to hang out with us. He ran down the opposite vertical side of the mountain and disappeared without hesitation.
From this point on it was all about careful footing and hand placement so we didn't slide down the side of the mountain. It was a struggle sometimes but it was so much fun!
We reached the summit (2884m) around 3:35pm, basically beer o'clock, so we sat down, cracked a couple cold one and cheers'd to our epic hike! This was my first proper summit and I was so impressed with myself & Tim as well as Mother Nature for putting on this incredible weather for us.
The hike on the way down was much faster, we basically scree skied down the back (almost vertical) side of the mountain. A storm looked like it was closing in, hence the rush. A few hikers on their way up stopped and watched us head down the scree, very confused as to what we were doing as there was no path to follow and the rock was incredibly loose and was was constantly giving way from under our feet. We made it to the bottom and our knees were aching, but we'd gotten down in record time!
The return to camp was a struggle, with dead legs and sore knees we stumbled back like a pair of drunken zombies. All in all, an fantastic hike, amazing views and one to remember that's for sure!
Now...as per usual, a gallery of epic shots from the hike!