Mount Glasgow To Banded Peak Traverse
Lying between the Little Elbow and Elbow Rivers of Kananaskis Country, the four peaks--Mount Glasgow, Mount Cornwall, Outlaw Peak (unofficial name), and Banded Peak--that constitute the Mount Glasgow to Banded Peak Traverse are not technically challenging for experienced scramblers.  Nevertheless, the overall length, cumulative height gain (over 2100 metres), and logistical problems of the Traverse are a good test of endurance and will power.

Vern Dewit and I got together early on the morning of 25 September 2004 to do the Mount Glasgow to Banded Peak Traverse.  The sky was just beginning to brighten when we set off up the Little Elbow Trail on our mountain bikes at 7:00 AM.  It took us about 35 minutes to reach the cairn marking the entrance to the drainage northwest of Mount Glasgow.  After stashing our bikes, we started hiking up the drainage and soon encountered the narrow canyon mentioned in Alan Kane's scrambles guide.  Unfortunately, neither of us had brought along Kane's route description (I absent-mindedly left my photocopy in my car), and we made the mistake of heading up the slope to the right of the canyon.  This resulted in some needless bushwhacking, but we eventually worked our way back to the creek bed and started making better progress.  As we climbed up to the west ridge of Mount Glasgow, I became separated from Vern when I took a steeper and more direct line to the ridge while he opted to contour around further west.  My route selection slowed me down considerably as I had to contend with some very slippery treadmill scree.  By the time I gained the west ridge, Vern was already some 10 minutes ahead of me.  Vern would be ahead of me for most of the rest of the day.  What concerned me more was that I was already feeling weary even before bagging our first of four peaks.  That thought weighed heavily on my mind as I joined Vern on Mount Glasgow's summit at 10:54 AM.
Oh boy.  We've got a lot of work ahead of us... Vern looks up the rocky drainage toward Mount Glasgow.
Where's Vern? Vern climbs up the west ridge of Mount Glasgow.
Dueling register canisters. Sonny and Vern hold up a couple of register canisters at the 2935-metre summit of Mount Glasgow.
After a 15 minute break, Vern and I descended Mount Glasgow's south ridge which provided some modest challenges along the way.  After a lengthy scree bash, we reached the summit of Mount Cornwall about 1.5 hours after leaving the top of Mount Glasgow.  From the summit of Mount Cornwall, we had our first chance to survey the valley immediately to the west--our eventual exit route.  It looked exceedingly long.
Anybody got an Advil? Vern descends Mount Glasgow's south ridge on his way to Mount Cornwall (right).  The unofficially (and mistakenly) named Outlaw Peak is visible at left.
Look at how little Vern is carrying! After losing about 300 metres of elevation to reach the Glasgow/Cornwall col, Vern turns around to snap a photograph of Mount Glasgow.
It doesn't get any easier than this! Vern hikes up the summit ridge of Mount Cornwall.
No register here, but the inukshuk is pretty cool! Vern and Sonny crouch beside an inukshuk on the 2978-metre summit of Mount Cornwall.
Look at all them peaks, Ma! A veritable sea of peaks dominates the view westward from Mount Cornwall's summit.  The Opal Range is most evident.
Less than 10 minutes after reaching the summit of Mount Cornwall, Vern and I were on our way to Outlaw Peak.  For me, Outlaw Peak was the most enjoyable ascent of the day possibly because it entails the least height gain of the four peaks (about 200 metres from the Cornwall/Outlaw col).  The northwest ridge of Outlaw Peak also has a couple of cliff bands (easy to circumvent but more fun to tackle head on) to break up the monotony of all the scree.  We were on top of Outlaw Peak about 55 minutes after leaving Mount Cornwall's summit.  Although there was a register in the summit cairn, I was too exhausted to think of something that rhymes with "outlaw" for my usual limerick and simply signed my name.  Vern also signed the register, but I could hardly discern his name from what he scrawled.  Either he was tired too, or he has really bad penmanship (perhaps from typing on a computer everyday)!
Follow the yellow brick about the white snow cornice? Vern works his way down from the top of Mount Cornwall.  The elevation loss to the Cornwall/Outlaw col is about 210 metres.
You could probably land a small plane here! Vern walks across the Cornwall/Outlaw col toward Outlaw Peak.
Wow.  Look how far we've come! This is the view of Mount Cornwall and Mount Glasgow from the top of Outlaw Peak.
Anybody know what rhymes with 'outlaw'? Vern holds up the register canister at the 2970-metre summit of Outlaw Peak.
After a pregnant 10-minute pause, Vern and I headed off to bag our last summit of the day--Banded Peak.  By this time, the whole game of losing and regaining elevation was wearing pretty thin, but strangely enough, I was getting used to it despite my fatigue.  While ascending the endless rubble slopes of Banded Peak, I felt more focused than on the previous three peaks.  Perhaps knowing that this would be the last peak of the day gave me a psychological lift.  About 1 hour and 10 minutes after leaving Outlaw Peak's summit, we were on top of Banded Peak.  Although we felt a deep sense of satisfaction, it was sobering to realize that, in terms of distance, we were only halfway through our trip.
I'm starting to get used to this up-and-down business! Vern descends Outlaw Peak's southeast slope.  The elevation loss to the Outlaw/Banded col is about 330 metres.
Look for a good beaten path to the right higher up! This is the view of Banded Peak from the Outlaw/Banded col.
Welcome to the four-peaks-per-day club! On the 2934-metre summit of Banded Peak, Vern looks for more peaks to bag.
On the Rocky Mountain Books WebForum, a fellow by the name of Steve Parkins had previously suggested an alternate descent from Banded Peak that would essentially loop back to the Little Elbow Trail thereby taking full advantage of a bike approach to Mount Glasgow.  This alternate descent, however, entails a pretty miserable side-hill bash up to a high col southwest of Outlaw Peak, an exposed descent through a difficult cliff band, some tricky route-finding to get down to the aforementioned valley west of Mount Cornwall, and a rather long and mundane march along an excessively undulating trail (hiker's and equestrian's access to Talus Lake).

The ascent to the high col was the most miserable part of the whole day.  Although the height gain is modest (about 120 metres from the Banded/Outlaw col), the footing is terrible the entire way up (1 hour 22 minutes from Banded Peak's summit).  On the other side of the col, we followed a beaten path down to a break in the cliffs where we had to downclimb a short but exposed wall.  Further down, we bypassed several spectacular canyons before reaching the creek bed at valley bottom.  At one point, we spotted the hiker/equestrian trail and followed it briefly into the trees until it started to climb steeply uphill.  Reluctant to gain any further height, we stuck to the creek bed only to find that it was becoming increasingly tedious to follow (lots of annoying drop-offs and big, awkward boulders).  When we spotted the trail again on a high bank a little later, we decided to follow it with all its annoying ups and downs the rest of the way back to the Little Elbow Trail.  Another three kilometres of walking brought us back to our bikes.  At this point, the sun was long gone, and it was getting pretty dark out.  I had brought a bike headlight with me, but I forgot that my headlight mount was on my other bike at home!  Doh!  Vern had his LED headlamp which, though weaker and somewhat limited in range, was still better than nothing.  Fortunately, the sky was clear, and the moon provided enough illumination to at least see the road.  Nasty boulders and even nastier horse droppings were a little more difficult to make out though, and I nearly passed out on a couple of the short uphill sections on the return ride.  We made it back to the trailhead at 8:34 PM (round-trip time of about 13.5 hours) and celebrated by treating ourselves to dinner at the Subway in Bragg Creek.
Some miserable side-hill bashing to come later... Vern heads back down to the Banded/Outlaw col.  He and Sonny would eventually angle up to the high col southwest of Outlaw Peak (shown).'s gonna be a long walk back to our bikes. From the high col southwest of Outlaw Peak, this is the view of the valley west of Mount Cornwall.  Visible at upper right are Fisher Peak and Mount Romulus.
The unlikely crux of the entire trip. Vern downclimbs a tricky rock band guarding the north side of Outlaw Peak's southwest ridge.
The valley that never ends... It's a long, tedious hike down the valley to get back to the Little Elbow Trail.  In the hazy distance is Mount Romulus.
It's 8:00 PM.  Ever try mountain biking in the dark? Vern gets ready to ride back to the trailhead in the dark!
Be sure to check out Vern's photos of our traverse of Mount Glasgow, Mount Cornwall, Outlaw Peak, and Banded Peak!