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Grant McEwan Peak and "Twin Towers"

Difficulty: 
Moderate Scrambling With A Difficult Section
Elevation [m]: 
2310
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
12.8
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1037
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1450
Ascent Time: 
2:30
Bushwhackyness: 
Very Little
Tripdate: 
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Joined up with Steven Song (who oddly enough is in the same faculty/department as me at the U of A) for a day trip down to Kananaskis Country. With weather forecasts saying probable snow across the whole rockies region coming in from the West we went as far from the divide as we could hitting the front ranges of Kananaskis. Both of us had already been up Heart Mountain but had not done the extension to Grant McEwan Peak and the "Twin Towers" along the connecting ridge from Heart.

Setting out from the Heart Creek trailhead just after first light its only a short plod before elevation gains start (which in our case often consisted of a thin glaze of snow over slippery slabs). The path up to Heart Mountain was windblown enough to allow for a fairly consistent route up with thin snow, once at Heart and going on forested ground to Grant McEwan Peak the snow got deeper and post holing was the norm for a bit. The views up to this point were decent but snow clouds were moving in and by the time we descended from Grant McEwan towards the "Twin Towers" onto the crux downclimb visibility was pretty limited. The crux consisted of a several meter (depends where you start) downclimb of downsloping partially overhanging rocks which were particularly slippery with a thin layer of snow so we decided to rapell down (this was my first time rapelling in a not indoor environment and due to some crossed ropes I eneded up just going down 'Batman style' [Adam West era of course]). Past the crux the connecting ridge to "Twin Towers" required carefull footwork due to the slick conditions and a bit of exposure. Once across the ridge its a quick plod up some scree slopes onto the first of the Towers followed by a brief downclimb/reascent to the second tower. My GPS recorded the second tower as being slightly higher, but still within the error of the reading so statistically identical I suppose. We descended back the same way and by the time we got back to Grant McEwan Peak the snow stopped, clouds started to part and really awesome views were all around (we probably tacked on an extra 45 min on descent due to photo breaks!). All in all quite a solid trip.

 

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