Copper Mountain
After a successful ascent of Mount Shark the previous night, I had high hopes of bagging Copper Mountain in Banff National Park on 8 June 2006.  The trip started out well enough as I got off to a relatively early start (for me) and biked up Redearth Creek trail to Lost Horse Creek backcountry campground.  After ditching my bike, I headed to the campground's cooking area (wooden table here) and followed a beaten path which soon petered out at the bottom of an avalanche slope below the "huge pointy pinnacle" described by Alan Kane.  As I climbed up this slope, I began angling to the right through alternating stretches of trees and grass.  This is where things began to go awry.  Firstly, I was already feeling quite fatigued at this point probably because of a combination of the previous night's exertions, a lack of quality sleep, the lengthy uphill bike ride, and the energy-sapping heat of the day.  My pace slowed considerably.  Secondly, the foreshortened views from the myriad of ribs and gullies would be a big factor in my route-finding decisions.  Quite often, I felt paralyzed by my uncertainty about where I was on the mountain and where to go next.  Thirdly, I had forgotten to bring along Kane's route photo and description.  These may have saved me some time and trouble especially later during my descent.

I continued muddling my way up and right through some steep and unpleasant terrain.  In hindsight, I probably didn't go far enough right of the pinnacle.  As a result, I ended up climbing numerous difficult cliff bands before reaching the edge of a huge scree ramp which was flanked by some enormous rock walls (large enigmatic cairn here).  I had no doubts that I had been way off route as it had taken me a whopping 3.5 hours just to get to this point from the campground!  At the top of the ramp, the route became clearer, but I still had a long ways to go.  More hands-on scrambling and a long plod followed.  I was running on fumes by the time I reached the summit.

Because I could not remember where Kane's alternate descent routes went, I elected to return roughly the same way.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of continuing down the aforementioned scree ramp which ultimately cliffs out.  My only option then was to traverse over to the same difficult cliff bands I had ascended earlier.  Descending these same difficult cliff bands turned out to be quite harrowing as the rock was generally down-sloping and rotten.  At one point, I even had to jump down a two-metre drop-off!  Luckily the landing area was grassy, and I managed to get down the rest of this section physically unscathed but mentally frazzled.  Back on easier ground, I simply made a beeline for Redearth Creek before turning right and following game trails back to the campground.  The fast bike ride back to the trailhead (round trip time of 10 hours) somewhat made up for this generally miserable outing--a lesson in the dangers of getting off route.
Keep going right. Here is the pinnacle mentioned by Kane.
I hope to bag this one later this summer. A break in the trees grants this view of Mount Ball.
My camera is sitting on the infamous cairn that Dave Stephens spotted on his first attempt of this mountain. After some really tough climbing to get to this part, Sonny finds this ramp with an impressive wall of rock.
Rather eerie.  I felt like one of those apes from "2001: A Space Odyssey"! This is looking up the impressive wall of rock.
This ramp is NOT a good descent route!! Sonny climbs up the ramp.
I headed to the far right before scrambling up ledges to the ridge above. Different route variations are possible on the upper mountain.
Seeing the 'Boine was somewhat comforting to me on an otherwise cheerless grunt up Copper Mountain. Mount Assiniboine rises up prominently to the south.
Shades of Tangle Ridge...where the f**k is that summit cairn?!! The final approach is surprisingly broad and long.
I hate this mountain. Sonny finally reaches the 2794-metre summit of Copper Mountain.
I wonder if there's an easier slog route via the west ridge. This is the broad west ridge of Copper Mountain.  At left is Mount Ball, and at far right is Storm Mountain.
Another miserable ascent if you ask me. Pilot Mountain dominates the view to the southeast.
Not quite sure why people stack rocks inside the thing... This tripod is great for taking self-portraits at the summit.
Best of the 3 Kane scrambles in this far! This is the view of Mount Brett from the summit of Copper Mountain.
Looks like a horrible scree slog to bag this one! This unnamed outlier is located between Pilot Mountain and Mount Brett.
The start of a hellish descent for me... Here is a look at the upper mountain from just below the east side of the summit plateau.