Sep 052012
 
Wasootch Peak scramble

In hindsight I think it was a bit foolish to try this peak. Normally, it’d not be challenge, but for this trip I was dealing with a problem – pain, stiffness and soreness. You see some six weeks prior, Connie and I were involved in a serious accident after retuning from a hike. We were rear ended while stopped in heavy traffic, the impact being so hard it pushed the trunk into the back seat, put a visible bend in the car, and propelled us several hundred metres from the point of impact.

Fast forward and after considerable therapy, I am feeling pretty good this August day. There is a little discomfort in my back, as there is every day, but nothing unmanageable. And over the previous weeks, we have continued to hike, albeit on flatter trails. In spite of the accident we have not altered our lifestyle much and overall things seem to be going very well for both of us.

With that in mind, I feel it’s time to do something a little more challenging. A scramble, say something easy like Wasootch Peak. I have been eyeing this mountain up for some time. I’ll give it a try, solo in this case.

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Initially things start off well. From the parking spot there is a minimal approach and it’s a steady uphill all the way. The trail is steep at times and has some loose sections. And as you reach a spine, there is some non-technical hands-on parts.

All the while gaining elevation, I am feeling pretty good and up and up I go. I’ve having fun, my body is working well…then with no warning it starts. Within minutes I go from being strong and capable to being weak as a kitten. The lower back pain starts and I double over with stiffness. So my trip quickly ends in disappointment. I can see the summit of Wasootch Peak, it’s within reach, but it will have to wait for another day.

I turn around and slooooowly and carefully make my way down, bent over the whole time. Before that however, I take a small amount of time to take in the views. Across the valley Mt Kidd can be seen and beside it is the Nakiska Ski Hill on Mt Allan. Below those peaks is the Kananaskis Village complex. To the north Barrier Lake can be seen, as can Yates Mountain/McConnell Ridge, with the Barrier Lake Lookout perched on top.

Upon reaching home, I arrange a barrage of therapy. Fortunately that seems to fix things up very quickly and before long I am back to my normal self. I’m feeling fairly strong, with just a little background pain (my normal state since the accident). And having learned a lesson, I vow that I’ll quit being so ambitious.

A year later, and we are much as we were when this trip was done. We hike and get out, get therapy and continue to deal with a constant low level pain and soreness. And since we have not done a single scramble, and instead for summits we’ve been keeping to gentler lower ridge walks. We’ll see those higher summits soon though! Hopefully.

Wasootch Peak is not to be confused with the nearby and similarly named Wasootch Ridge. They sit opposite each other, being separated by Wasootch Creek. From their respective summits, you can see one from the other.

The name Wasootch Peak is not an official name and I’ve heard it refers to as The G8 Summits – so named for the 2002 G8 summit meetings held at Kananaskis Village right across the valley. It’s also been called Winnipeg Peak, Peak 336454 (for it’s location on the the grid) and perhaps some others.

To see some other places we did not quite make it to, follow these links…
Volcano Ridge (almost).
Blackrock Mountain.

If you wish more information on this trail, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: August 2011.
Location: Kananaskis, Nakiska Ski Hill area.
Distance: 5km return from my turn around point.,
Height gain from start: 700m from my turn around point.
Height gain cumulative: 700m
Technical bits: Loose scree.
Notes: I shall return.
Reference: Bob Spirko’s Road Not Taken Wasootch Peak.

Wasootch Peak

Wasootch Peak from the starting point.

Mt Kidd Kananaskis

Mt Kidd in the west.

Nakiska Ski Hill

Nakiska Ski Hill pokes out from the trees.

Wasootch Peak trail

The rocky trail up.

Wasootch Peak scramble

Higher up, we break out of the trees.

Wasootch Peak Kananaskis

Steep terrain to the north.

Scramble Wasootch Peak

The rocky spine up.

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