Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Grotto Mountain (2706 m)

I did Grotto Mountain on July 6th 2002 with my friend Dan Irwin and his Dad. It was perfect weather. I kept saying how lucky we were, but apparently they get this weather most all the time! For a shorter peak such as this, it has a decent elevation gain at 1425 meters. We were in no hurry, as we only had to be back down at 6:00, and we started off at 8:30. The ACC route (on the left) was our ascent route and we descended the direct route on the right for the complete traverse. I can't remember our exact round trip time but I believe it was around 7 hours summit break included.

It was a very early morning back at home. We woke up at 5:15 and started on the road right away. We ate at the Smitty's in Cochrane, and Mr. Irwin told me why he always calls it Shitty's. I won't get into that story! We started from the ACC clubhouse at 8:30 and soon later Dan found that his sausages from breakfast were coming back to haunt him! Mr. Irwin was coming off the flu, and Dad was suffering from nausea, so I was the only one completely healthy. We took our time up the trail, with great views of ever-growing Canmore under the cloudless sky. Mr. Irwin is the closer one in this picture. The other one is Dan.

Once we broke treeline we saw a group of 7 mountain goats. I rarely get to see them. After breaking treeline, the view is actually quite nice. Add to this that you get to follow this quite enjoyable ridge. It was lots of fun. You can see the summit pyramid at the right. The ridge is longer than views suggest, but that's just fine with me since it was such a great day. If I were to do it again, I would have ascended and descended this way, but the best way to go across this ridge is to always stay right on the crest. Otherwise you just lose time and the other half of the views.

Here is Mr. Irwin and Dan on top. In the picture you can see many peaks such as Assiniboine, the 3 sisters, and most of the peaks of the Canmore corridor. To the north we though we could see Temple, but it looked a bit too close. You could see for miles and miles. We could even see Calgary from the summit. I knew we had lots of time, so I decided to find a nice spot to nap, and proceeded in doing so, barefooted to air out the ol' socks. When I turned around there were quite a few people on top, and my clothes were spread everywhere on the summit. When Mr. Irwin said we were going it must have taken me 20 minutes just to get ready!

We chose to descend the Direct Route on the mountain, which stays south of the giant grotto. This is when we were re-entering treeline. Dan is the figure under the tree. After this the trail became quite steep. I mean very steep. I don't recommend descending this trail, or ascending it for that matter as it was so hard on the toes. The ACC trail was graded much better, and much more aesthetic. On the descent the small cliff bands were not a problem at all, though. The only problem was keeping on a trail near the bottom. Luckily Mr. Irwin knew these parts and guided us very well through the brush before finding the trail at the bottom.

back to scrambles page