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Traverse of Yamnuska (2240 m)

Yamnuska is the obvious mountain on the north of the Trans-Canada highway when you enter the mountains with the impressive sheer face which faces the highway. It is quite an easy ascent up the backside, though. I did it with my Dad in mid-september 2000, on an unusually hot day (70 degrees farenheit at the top) considering we forgot all of the water and food! That was hiking at it's best! It's about a kilometer of elevation gain, which is nothing compared to Mount Stephen, and we did the traverse in 2.5 hours, but we could have done it faster. The book says 3-6 hours, but I think we took our time anyways. A great trip if you have limited energy, or for a warmup.

This is the picture from when you leave the trailhead. You can see the south face above me. You continue through the trees with the view of the praires on your side (kind of boring) until you reach the shoulder on the east (prairie) side of the mountain.

After you easily gain the ridge from the shoulder, continue along just below the ridge top over several bumps until you reach a 20 foot drop over which it's hard to detour. I decided just to downclimb this corner, while my Dad traversed around the outside of it. I still think my way was better. But it didn't stop there. After this, I decided to have some fun and head straight up the wall on the other side. This turned out to be a good choice, too. I stood there and sarcastically laughed at my Dad for not believing in me. It was one of the proudest moments of my life! Almost. After this, there is a nice short walk along the ridge top to the summit, where a large group of people should be awaiting you. Great views of the mountains to the west, but I'm not a big fan of prairie views, even though I live in them.

For the descent, we decided to try the other side. Amazingly, we were at the col on the west side in 10 minutes, and down to the car in 40, partially because we couldn't find the best spot to scree-ski down the world-famous Yamnuska scree. If you are extremely limited on time, do up the West Side and down the West Side, but I would recommend the traverse anyday. Great fun! back to scrambles page