BOU AVENUE
Roche Miette
Late starts seem to be the norm for me on many of my scrambles, and my trip up Roche Miette in Jasper National Park on 2 April 2006 was no different.  After playing in a volleyball tournament the previous day and then partying late into the night (and losing an hour of sleep because of the changeover to Daylight Savings Time), I woke up at around 10:00 AM and briefly debated if I should go and scramble up Roche Miette (I was supposed to team up with Kelly Smith the week before to bag this peak, but a flat tire on my car forced me to cancel my trip; Kelly bagged the peak anyway with a friend of his).  Since there was nothing good on TV that day, I half-heartedly packed up my gear and left Calgary about an hour later and settled into a long but scenic drive to Jasper, Alberta.  Along the way, I gave a telemarker a short lift back to his car.  He had just completed the Dolomite Peak circuit, a popular backcountry ski trip.  It sounded like he had a great day out, and I began wondering why I wasn't out skiing as well.  A little later, I realized that, in my haste to leave my house, I had forgotten to pack my headlamp.  Fortunately, I always keep a small flashlight in my car's glove compartment; I immediately pulled the flashlight out just in case I forgot at the trail head.  After a short pit stop in the town of Jasper, I finally reached the Roche Miette trail head and began hiking at 4:30 PM.

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 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?
At 5:02 PM, I'm about half an hour into the scramble.  I really should be headed in the opposite direction at this late hour... Sonny hikes up the access trail to Roche Miette.
It's 6:01 PM.  Most normal people are having supper right now. The route continues up the open ridge at left.
If only I had more time to explore...it's 6:21 PM. The ridge has a lot of these interesting rock fins.
It's 6:30 PM, and the weather is quite mild and pleasant up here! Sonny trudges up alongside some of the rock fins.
Morning light would probably be better on this aspect than the light at 6:47 PM. This is the north face of Roche Miette.
It's 7:09 PM, and there is still a lot of snow on the route.  Crampons definitely required! The remainder of the scramble route looks a little daunting on this day.
At 7:43 PM, I have about an hour before the sun officially sets. Despite the approaching darkness, Sonny continues grinding his way up the mountain.
It's 8:01 PM.  Brings back memories of my descent in the dark on Roche  Perdrix. The last rays of sunshine for the day illuminate Roche Perdrix to the northeast.
It's now 8:02 PM.  Quit stalling and get a move on, Sonny! The route is quite steep just before the summit plateau.  There are numerous options here for surmounting the last rock band.
The wind begins to pick up here at 8:32 PM. From the summit plateau, this is looking toward the lower bumps at the northwest end of Roche Miette.
Still 8:32 PM.  Sigh.  That summit cairn looks awfully far away. The summit cairn is straight ahead to the south.
The sky is very colourful at 8:36 PM! The sun disappears behind the clouds to the west.
What the heck am I doing here at 8:50 PM?? Sonny reaches the 2315-metre summit of Roche Miette.
ACME?  Isn't that the same company that made all those horrible products for Wile E. Coyote??  It's 8:52 PM. This ACME register container is actually in pretty good shape.