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Mount Hardisty

Moderate Winter Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
Ascent Time: 
Quite Dense For The Approach
Saturday, May 19, 2012

I've had my eye on going up Hardisty for some time (if only to get some images of the backside of Mt. Kerkeslin to see if there is a 'scramble-able' route up it) and today it finally panned out! I couldn't find any published information abouts routes though there were a few cairns in (seemingly random) locations above the treeline suggesting that it does see some traffic.

In any case, my route started at a pullout beside a creek just beneath Mt. Hardisty and Mt. Kerkeslin on the parkway near Jasper. After leaving my car at 4am (ideally keep more stable snow) and bashing through trees for a couple hours in the direction of the low point of Hardisty's ridge (beside Kerkeslin) and then angling back up the ridge I finally came out of the trees and got a look at the great views of Kerkeslin and surrounding summits. Once out of the trees the route is straighforward (up!) and passes three sets of major false summits before topping out. At least in the wintery conditions that I had there could be serious cornice/avalanche hazard after the 3'rd false summit. I assume in dry conditions this is straighforward but having no knowledge of the ridge-structure I kicked in steps and traversed as quick as I could. That being said despite a good overnight freeze, high temps and a fierce sun were making conditions really sketchy, I ran up tagged the summit and scooted back across the cornice area as quick as I could (good timing to as when the clouds started to clear my steps/ice axe holds were already starting to weaken).

For an alternate descent I tried to angle towards the road as quick as possible and find a weak point in the ridge rock rather than following my ascent route and eventually I found a good place right above a large boulder field (it would probably make a good ascent route too!). Not sure how this would play out in dry conditions but an abundance of snow certainly gives the route some sassyness.

I put together a time lapse video of Kerkeslin after leaving a camera in place near the treeline, here it is.

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