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Sirdar Mountain

Difficulty: 
Easy Winter Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
2797
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
31.3
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1400
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1750
Ascent Time: 
6:45
Bushwhackyness: 
Not that dense, slippery when wet/snowy
Tripdate: 
Friday, October 24, 2014

 

As the summer finally wound down, Steven and I were hard pressed to decide upon what type of objective to aim for.  After looking at the forecast we saw that Friday around Jasper looked much nicer than the rest of the weekend for pretty much anywhere so decided on something around Jasper and after consulting out 'to do list: Jasper edition' planned for Sirdar Mountain.

Sirdar Mountain is a prominent peak in the Colin Range located near Jacques Lake.  Due to the well maintained trail to Jacques Lake we reckoned that it should be pretty straightforward to hike up the trail then set off into the bush to get to what seemed from distant images to be a nicely ascendable scree slope.  Our plans were complicated somewhat by a significant (10-15cm) of fresh snow that had fallen overnight while we were driving in.  The transformed the trek from 'a farewell to shoulder-season plod' into an easy winter scramble, not that much of a problem except I didn't have my wintery scrambling boots!

Leaving the Jacques Lake trailhead parking lot (about 1/2 way up the Maligne Lake Road) we set out around 9:30 (a not very alpine start, as our motivation was lessened by the inaccurate forecast likely stifling summit views) at a brisk pace.  The trail is in pretty fabulous shape and we made easy progress past the first lake, and then the second, and quickly enough reached our turn-off spot to head up the valley towards Sirdar (just over 2 hours from the trailhead).

Setting out from a snowier than expected parking lot.

Steven along the wide part of the Jacques Lake trail.

Looking up at the unnamed peaks on the ridge East of the trail.

A wide view of the ridge from the first lake.

Neat looking peaks on the west of the trail too.

The trail gets considerably narrower after passing the end of the first lake.

Our first glimpse of Sirdar looming in the distance.

Looking up at the promiment north end of the ridge east of the approach trail.

A zoomed in view.

 

Leaving the trail things got slippery and wet.  We followed a line up the valley which would have a nice balance of minimized distance/elevation staying left of the prominent creek.  Based on the contour lines the other side of the creek may have allowed for more pleasant travel conditions but crossing over seemed needlessly complicated.  After three or so hours of slogging through the bush we emerged into the bowl below Sirdar and were pleased to see nothing more than an easy scramble between us and the summit.  Once out of the bush things got windy and chilly very quickly, and the rest of the ascent was a 'move quick to stay warm' sort of affair.  It took us a little under 2 hours to get up the snowy scree/moss and reach the summit.  From the summit visibility was minimal but we could see the occasional glimpse of peaks to the south.  Not wanting to linger too long we took a few pictures and started the trek back down.

 

Looking over at unnamed peaks to the west from the approach valley after leaving the trail.

For a time we followed the edge of a creek, at least we wouldn't run out of water!

Looking up at the eastern edge of Sidar.

Me trudging through snowy bush, at least it is not steep and slippery at this point!  Photo by Steven Song.

Steven (bottom left) about to enter dense snowy bush.

Me almost at the end of the bush.  Photo by Steven Song.

Onwards up the snowy slope towards the summit.  Photo by Steven Song.

Steven on the summit ridge of SIrdar Mountain.

Me on the summit of Sirdar Mountain.  Photo by Steven Song.

 

Descent was uncomplicated.  We chose a slightly different line taking a prominent snow gully to speed up our way back to the trees and after that followed our tracks back to the trail.  Once on the trail our pace picked up considerably (averaging around 6km/hr) as the last glimmers of daylight faded to a perfectly clear star filled night.  Overall a longer day then I originally expected, but still good to get our for some fresh air.  Have to see some of the nearby peaks for clearer weather to make up for the views!

 

Below the summit the clouds started to lift a bit.

A closer look towards the peaks around Jacques Lake.

Looking back up at the summit.

Down at the base of the scree slope looking south as daylight starts to fade.

Back on the wide part of the trail with many stars above.

Longer than expected.  Too bad no summit viwes, have to save Mount Merlin for a bluebird day!

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