On Saturday, I finally climbed Mt. Remus after a previous failed attempt. This trip was a fun one however, because it wasn’t a solo trek, but I had hooked up other members of a (unofficial) webboard group called "RMB Peakbaggers". Essentially, the Peakbaggers is an informal group of people interested in scrambling and climbing activities. Often, people post their most recent adventures in local and distant area mountains. I read this webboard from time to time to get new ideas on hiking in the area. This time it was pitched that we get a group together to do a fall season scramble. Having met a few people at a pre-scramble sushi dinner the night before, I was pretty excited to try a scramble with people who had similar outdoor interests.
Anyway, on to the hike. Mt. Remus is located in the Elbow River and Kananaskis Valley area, about a 40 minute drive from Calgary and part of Kananaskis Country. We (Dave, Vern, Linda, Frank, Gary, Bill, Raff, Jason and I) started the trip with an early morning bike ride of about 6.5kms to our beginning slopes ahead of Remus. Thankfully (!) the temperature was a balmy 3 celsius and made the stream crossing (of glacier water) very interesting. The scramble itself follows a couple of drainage slopes and scree rock to the ridgeline. As we got higher, the wind picked up a fair bit and we began to see scattered bits of snow along our ascent. Upon reaching the ridge, the summit was evident, although not without crossing over a couple of rocky ridgetops and descents. The wind was incredible, but everyone slogged on toward the top. Thankfully, the snow and ice were manageable.
Once reaching the final approach to the summit, we had an interesting climb through foot and a half snow to reach the chimney, a steep rocky climb between cracks in the rock. I knew the chimney would be difficult, and possibly more than my current ability — so before hand, I had resigned that I may just not climb the final 5-10 metres before the summit ridge. However, with some help from the other onlooking members of the group, I made it up to the top. If you want to imagine what it’s like, think climbing a snowy icy rock ladder on three sides of you (see small picture on right). This type of spot is accomplished normally using ropes, but it was actually made easier by the heavy snow and ice which filled in most of the chimney. It was a bit hair-raising for the first time, but absolutely exhilarating. I had rented some crampons for this part of the scramble, they worked like a charm. Upon reaching the summit, we were blasted with high winds and cold, making it a short stay at the top. (If you’re wondering about the biking helmet… I didn’t have a climbing helmet, so the bike helmet did fine for the chimney section.) The return trip was quick and fun, as we bounded down the scree to the river and our bikes. Overall, just under an eight hour biking and scrambling trip, it was certainly a good time. Check out flickr for some more photos of the day.
addendum: A couple of links to photos of me, courtesy of others in the group: http://dave-stephens.com/temp/Remus/remus%20018.jpg