Indefatigable Traverse -- Jul 8, 2006

Elevation Gain: 1000 meters (3280 feet)

Climbed by: me, Mark, Paul, Paula, John, Becky.

This was an Alpine Club Trip, led by Mark Lane. I hadn't met any of the other folks on this trip before today, since this was my first ACC outing ever!

Most people climb to the top of the outlier peak just to the east of the North Peak of Indefatigable, and call it a day. Our intrepid group climbed the North summit, and traversed to the South summit -- far, far more interesting!

Drive down the Kananaskis Highway (#40) til you get to King Creek, and hang a right into Peter Lougheed Park. Follow the road south, watching the signs.

Park in the North Interlakes parking lot. There are washrooms here. Looking toward the lakes, the mountain closest to the parking lot is Indefatigable. You can't see the ascent route to the North summit from here, but you do have a clear view of the south summit from the parking lot.

Cross the road that goes across the dam between the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes, and almost immediately on the other side you will see a well travelled trail to the right. Follow this up. Before too long you'll find yourself at the topmost viewpoint, where there is a bench to sit on while you eat a snack.

Just before you get to the bench, the trail veers off to the left. You want to follow that, as it goes further up the mountain and into the bowl between the north summit and the outlier peak with the weather and communications equipment on it. Stay on the trail, which goes around the right side of a pretty tarn which is apparently there year-round. Step over the stream, and head up toward the col. Watch for a faint trail leaving the main trail to the left, just as it starts to get steeper. We veered off that smaller trail well below the top of the col toward the base of the north summit ridge, though there does appear to be a fairly well trodden trail leading to the top of the col, then up to the base of the north summit ridge.

This is where it starts to get more interesting. There is a trail leading to a loose rock structure -- in places the trail is only a few inches wide, but the slope isn't straight down. Once you get to the srcambly bit, you'll know it. Put on your rock helmet to prevent getting beaned from a falling rock, and head up whatever way looks best to you. Once you reach the top of this scrambly bit (maybe 5-6 meters), you're at the North Summit!

We stopped here for lunch, consulted maps, stared through binocs, and chatted a bit. Then we began the traverse. There were some narrow bits, some of which you could go around, some of which had to be braved by all members of our party. We came to an imposing wall of rock, and Mark decided to see whether there was a route around it, which it turns out there wasn't. So up we went. It was far easier than it looked! A few hundred meters more, and we were at the South Summit! Just before that point, we watched a helicopter drop off a Ranger who performed a rescue of some poor sod who had wandered into an area he couldn't get out of. The helicopter pilot obviously knew what he was doing, performing a perfect hover just a hair above one of the ridges near where the hiker/sod got himself stuck. From where we were situated, it looked like the helicopter moved not an inch!

The walk down was quite straight forward. The trail intersected the ascent trail some way from the bottom, and we followed that down to the parking lot. It was a fairly long day, but fun, lots of good views and good people.

Indefatigable from the North Interlakes Parking Lot.
Lower Kananaskis Lake from not very far up.
Lower Kananaskis Lake from a bit higher up.
Both Upper (on the left) and Lower (on the right) Kananaskis Lakes. This photo was taken most of the way up to the viewpoint with the bench.
John and Becky admiring the view of Upper Kananaskis Lake.
The whole group at the upper viewpoint (note the bench). From left to right, there is Paula, Paul, John, Mark, and Becky.
Lower Kananaskis Lake from the upper viewpoint.
The outlier peak near the North Summit, from the upper viewpoint.
Nearing the col between the outlier and North Summit.
Looking back at the way we had come, past the tarn, and up the col. The traverse takes us along the ridge visible to the right of the photo.
Trudging up to the top of the col, trying not to step on any pretty flowers.
The weather/radio station on the outlier peak.
The view over the col into the next valley. Boy is it windy over there!
Mt. Invincible, a "simple" ridge walk away, if one were brave. Some of it looks tricky from way over here...
The view back from the top of the col.
The South Summit -- check out the tiny people at the top!
The North summit. I'm not sure who the curly-haired fellow is, but he stopped for a quick bite, and started the traverse well ahead of us.
The ridge we're about to traverse.
The view to the west.
Lower Kananakis Lake, from the summit.
Paula and Mark taking on the nasty ridge!
Becky (far) and Paula (close), on the ridge.
John on the ridge.
Waiting at the 'crux' of the traverse for Mark to find a way around. It turns out that upclimbing this rock was no problem for any of us!
A helicoptor flying around.
Another pass of the helicoptor. What's he up to?
Mark, Paul and Paula scrambling around a nice sheet of steeply-angled, exposed slab on the ridge.
Just past the South Summit. There wasn't much room for a group of people our size to lounge around, so we moved down a bit. You can see the South Summit cairn above.
The repeater station, complete with solar panels.
Our happy crew. Everyone survived the traverse, and everyone claimed to even enjoy it!
Back in the valley with the mud-coloured lake at the bottom, you can sort of see a nice waterfall back a kilometer or two. I'd like to visit that someday...
Coming down the South Summit, we look back to the north to see the tarn, the col, and the ridge leading to the North Summit.