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Carsons Peak and Mount McKirdy

Difficulty: 
Easy Scrambling
Elevation [m]: 
2593
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
17.0
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1100
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1800
Ascent Time: 
4:45
Tripdate: 
Sunday, August 24, 2014

For the second day of our Robson Park/Valemount adventure Eric, Steven, and I decided to have a more leisurely pace (compared to the 2300 m of gain on Cinnamon Peak the day before) wandering up Mount McKirdy. We were originally planning to follow a route across a network of official trails called the "Selwyn Traverse" starting at the valley bottom. The previous night we ran into Patricia Thoni and she gave us some beta on a much more pleasant route up Mount McKirdy which also ascended a prominent un-named peak "Carson's Peak" going through McKirdy meadows. This sounded like a much better plan and we changed our scheme accordingly.

The alternate route up Mount McKirdy starts off at the end of the '5 Mile Road' just outside (on the Eastern side) of Valemount. From the parking area a steep trail winds upwards towards the alpine. The trail is very well defined up until a junction with the YORA Swift Creek Cabin. At this point, the trail ascends climbers right and becomes less distinct in the wide open meadows. Thankfully, a steady sequence of orange and yellow flagging shows the most efficient way through. At the other side of the meadow the trail becomes obvious again and reascends grassy slopes up towards Carson's Peak. The route traverses below and to the right of a large rectangular rock formation (it will make sense when you see it) and then sticks to the ridge to the summit of Carson's Peak and all the way to Mount McKirdy. Summit views from Carson's Peak are quite excellent (especially for the relatively little amount of effort required to get up there), but was quite hazy on this particular day. To head up Mount McKirdy simply keep following the ridge, loosing some elevation to the Carson's/McKirdy col and then keep following the ridge up to the summit. Summit views are quite similar to Carson's Peak but still well worth the extra jont for the extra visibility another 100m of elevation grants. One thing to note, probably the only water on the route is just behind Jura Cabin so carry a lot on a hot day.

 

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