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Mount Habel

Difficulty: 
Snowshoe Mountaineering
Elevation [m]: 
3089
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
28.6
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1155
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1649
Ascent Time: 
7:10
Bushwhackyness: 
None
Tripdate: 
Monday, March 25, 2013

Another trip up the Wapta with Steven. Like a few weeks ago we set out following the Bow Lake approach following the canyon up to Bow Hut, this time with our sights set on Mount Habel (or what used to be known as Mount Rhondda North). The route is largely the same as for Rhondda only you keep going further towards Peyto Lake, gaining the other side of the Habel/Rhondda gap.

It took around two hours to get up to Bow Hut which (like last trip) coincided nicely sunrise giving us a great view of the Wapta (pretty much not a cloud in the sky all day too!). After a quick break in the hut to grab some water and sort out our rope we set out onto the icefield heading pretty much straight for the lower slopes of Habel at a steady pace and soon enough crossed the ridge connecting Rhondda and Thompson seeing some neat exposed seracs beneath Rhondda's summit and large open crevasses further down towards Peyto Hut. There is no technical climbing up to the this part (just the normal threat of crevasses with any glacier travel and all that entails) but the great scenery makes the plodding along quite enjoyable. After regaining some elevation to get up to the summit ridge of Habel we started to shorten our rope a bit as terrain became more technical eventually gaining the false summit and getting a peak at the summit block. From previous trip reports we had known that the summit block is exposed and often covered in thin treacherous snow and today was no exception (just enough snow to make it easy to slide but not enough to kick into). After hanging around for a long while surveying our possible routes we decided to set up a belay station off a good rock horn (and backed up with a deadman anchor) and Steven headed up the 'middle' route (shown below). After gaining the summit Steven found a really solid rock on top which set up a top belay for me to follow upwards (we then reversed this process for descent with Steven rapping down). Great views all around from the summit, Rhondda looks oddly small even though they are pretty close in elevation! After going back down the summit block it was just a matter of reversing our tracks all the way down (with a quick water stop at Bow Hut). Another fabulous day on the Wapta.

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