Bob Spirko's trip report details some of the confusion--namely two cairned access trails--at the start of the scramble up Roche Miette. The second access trail (more northerly of the two) is the correct one for scramblers and leads without fuss to the top of the peak's north ridge. As I climbed higher up this ridge, I began to feel tired and dehydrated. The long drive certainly took its toll on me, but more importantly, I had not anticipated the warm weather and was going through my supply of liquids alarmingly fast. Furthermore, my relatively new climbing boots were starting to give me blisters even though they had been problem-free on a previous trip. I slowed down considerably, and given the lateness of the day, I was becoming increasingly dispirited. Still, I pushed on.
At the saddle between the north ridge and the main mass of the mountain, I stopped to don my crampons before continuing up the snowy slope. The consistency of the snow was a real mixed bag ranging from soft powder to hard ice. Sometimes, I was post-holing up to my thighs while at other times, I was barely gripping the surface of the snow with the front points of my crampons. With some difficulty, I eventually hauled myself onto the undulating summit plateau. I saw a cairn off to my right, but it was on a bump that was obviously lower than where I stood. Looking left, I saw another cairn on a higher bump, but it looked dishearteningly far away. With the impending darkness (the sun had already set), I knew that I didn't have the time or energy to visit both cairns; thus, I decided, at the very least, that I would tag the higher cairn. As I plodded across the summit plateau, the wind picked up considerably, making walking difficult and chilling me to the bone. When I reached the cairn, I found an Alberta Centennial Mountain Expedition (ACME) register canister tucked behind a rock. Both the canister and the register were in excellent condition.
Retracing my steps, I carefully down-climbed the steep, icy section
just below the summit plateau before plunge-stepping most of the way back
down to the saddle. There, I took off my crampons and breathed a
little easier knowing that the rest of the descent would merely be
hiking. Moonlight was sufficient to guide me down most of the upper
ridge, but my flashlight proved to be invaluable in the trees. I
made it back to my car just before midnight (round-trip time of 7.5
hours). The real crux of this trip though was the long and lonely
drive back to Calgary in the middle of the night. Unlike my
enchanting drive home after scrambling Roche à
Perdrix, this one felt like a nightmare that would never end.
Somehow, I finally got home at about 5:45 AM and crawled into bed.
About 2.5 hours later, I dragged myself out of bed and went to work.
How's that for making the most of my weekends?
|Sonny hikes up the access trail to Roche Miette.|
|The route continues up the open ridge at left.|
|The ridge has a lot of these interesting rock fins.|
|Sonny trudges up alongside some of the rock fins.|
|This is the north face of Roche Miette.|
|The remainder of the scramble route looks a little daunting on this day.|
|Despite the approaching darkness, Sonny continues grinding his way up the mountain.|
|The last rays of sunshine for the day illuminate Roche à Perdrix to the northeast.|
|The route is quite steep just before the summit plateau. There are numerous options here for surmounting the last rock band.|
|From the summit plateau, this is looking toward the lower bumps at the northwest end of Roche Miette.|
|The summit cairn is straight ahead to the south.|
|The sun disappears behind the clouds to the west.|
|Sonny reaches the 2315-metre summit of Roche Miette.|
|This ACME register container is actually in pretty good shape.|