Hike Camp and Travel
Helena Ridge 2862m/9390'

Scrambling with Ian Cameron

Area: Banff National Park
Height gain: 1373m/4505'
Ascent date: Aug 19, 2005
Ascent time: 4:15hrs One way
Comment: Moderate scramble

Helena Ridge
Ian Cameron first suggested to do Fable and Gap for this Friday's scramble. I thought, since that he's willing to take 11 hours off his time, I talked him into doing a 4-peak traverse in Banff instead.
This Banff trip was originally planned to scramble up Helena Ridge, a traverse to Stuart Knob, a traverse again to TV Peak, then a traverse back to Castle Mountain. I chose to do Castle Mountain last because Rockbound Lake trail would be more appropriate to hike back to the car just in case we lose the sunlight.
I prepared myself and encouraged Ian in the beginning of this trip to focus on finishing four summits, but I was the one who gave up. When I noticed Ian has been constantly waiting for me at the summit (20 mins on TV Peak), I realized I didn't have the energy anymore to continue. I've already used-up my last breath summiting TV Peak but Ian still got a smile on his face. I could charge this to Gap Mountain I did the day before, or to :)_s. Whatever the case might be, it's the reason why we didn't finish-up with Castle Mountain.
On this day we met a couple of scramblers. Chris, on our way to TV Peak and Blair Armstrong, at the summit of Stuart Knob. Blair scrambled up Stuart Knob... on flip-flops, and caught up with us on TV Peak taking a different route... on flip-flops. On our descent, the three of us took the alternate route and Blair led us to some fine bushwacking... not in flip-flops :-(.
Our overall roundtrip took 12:45hrs.
Start of trail Looking back to Tower Lake Gully to start the ascent
(2) This is looking back to Tower Lake, a part of an 8+km approach to our first objective.
(3) We went around the right side of Rockbound Lake to gain this gully to start the ascent, then followed the skyline to the left.
Rockbound Lake and the north face of Castle Mountain Closing-in on Helena Ridge Helena Ridge (right) and Stuart Knob
(1) This is Rockbound Lake and the north face of Castle Mountain.
(2) Here's when Ian boosted-up his energy and left me behind. He went straight to the ridge and followed it to the summit. I tried to zig-zag my way up directly to the summit to catch-up with him but he's already finished his lunch when I got there.
Face to face with Castle Mountain On highest point of Helena Ridge Leaving Helena Ridge to Stuart Knob
(2) 4:15hrs up to top of Helena Ridge. The top has a complete 360 panorama with warm, full sun and a gentle breeze. We took a faster(?) and easier(?) way down to the west ridge of Helena for our next target.
(3) Here's Ian traversing the ridge to Stuart Knob, leaving Helena Ridge.
Trevor Boyce 2013/08/18 22:57:00 EDT Reply
Did Helena, Knob, TV, Castle yesterday (Aug 17,2013) in cool drizzly weather. It took me 14:45 hours solo. Only saw one other human all day. Started at 5am. I understand about the exhaustion! Worst part was traverse to TV. No wait - the INTERMINABLE trail back to the car.

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Updated: January 9, 2014 Author: Kajtek S