Tombstone South
On 23 September 2006, Rafal (Raff) Kazmierczak and Wietse Bylsma joined me for an ascent of unofficially-named Tombstone South in Kananaskis Country.  Given the abundance of snow near the trailhead and on the surrounding peaks, a successful summit bid did not look promising as we hiked briskly to Elbow Lake.  At the lake, we ran into another trio who were planning on bagging something entirely different--trophy sheep.  After facetiously advising the hunters not to shoot at anything wearing a helmet or a colourful wind jacket, we continued around the lake and hiked further along the trail until it looked feasible to bushwhack to the base of Tombstone South.  Scrambling up the south ridge was initially easy despite the snow cover, but higher up, the climb took on a more serious complexion.  Although we tried to stay on the ridge crest as much as possible, several knife-edged sections proved to be quite challenging.  We eventually angled across west-facing slopes and bypassed the false summit before regaining the ridge.  The snow was surprisingly deep in places, and while it was ideal for kicking in steps, breaking trail was nevertheless a tiring endeavour.  Near the top, Raff did a great job of leading us slowly but carefully over the final gendarme.  We spent about 25 minutes on the tiny summit before heading down the alternate descent route described by Alan Kane.  The deep snow allowed us to easily plunge-step much of the upper mountain, and although some careful route-finding was required lower down, we descended to Piper Creek without any problems.  While we were bushwhacking back to the trail to Elbow Lake, we heard several gunshots ring out across the valley.  It appeared that scramblers and hunters alike all managed to bag something on this day.  Raff, Wietse and I safely made it back to the trailhead after a round-trip time of over 10 hours.

Be sure to check out Wietse's and Raff's pictures.
Hmmm...there's an awful lot of snow up there... This is Tombstone South as seen from the approach trail.
Not bad so far... Raff and Wietse hike up snow-covered rubble.
This is starting to look serious. Raff looks up the south ridge.
The snow made the footing dangerously slippery. Raff carefully crosses a knife-edged section of the ridge.  Behind him is Mount Rae and the Rae Glacier.
If you look closely, you can also spot Elbow Lake. Raff and Wietse follow Sonny's footsteps up the snow slope.  Mount Tyrwhitt is visible at upper right.
That reminds me...does anyone remember "El Kabong" from the Quick Draw McGraw cartoons? Elpoca Mountain looks impressive across the valley to the southwest.
I'm not so sure that this qualifies as a "scramble" anymore! Raff and Wietse continue to follow Sonny's footsteps higher up the ridge.
Not the best route selection on my part. Wietse watches as Raff negotiates a tricky spot on the ridge.
I wonder if this would be easier or harder without the snow. Here is a more complete view of the scene from the previous photograph.
It would still take us another 40 minutes to reach the true summit from here! Wietse and Raff regain the ridge just past the false summit.  The true summit is ahead.
And that's Mount Prince Albert on the right. Clearing skies reveal Mount King George to the west.
Raff would eventually lead us up a shallow chimney to the skyline ridge on the right. Raff and Wietse approach the final gendarme before the summit.
That Waka Nambe sure sticks out like a sore thumb! Here is a close-up view of Warrior Mountain and Waka Nambe.
Potential cover for the 2nd Edition of "A Hiker's Guide to Scrambling Safely"? Raff climbs up a shallow chimney.
We were very conscious of the huge drop-off on the right. Raff and Wietse take the last few steps before the summit.
Although Kane gives Tombstone South an elevation of 3000 metres, it can't possibly be more than 2950 metres according to my topo map. Wietse, Raff and Sonny stand on the summit of Tombstone South (over 2925 metres).
The summit of Tombstone South is not very spacious. This is looking back at the summit from just a little further north along the ridge.  To the left are some of the peaks at the north end of the Highwood Range.
Those peaks might actually be easier to climb with snow on them! To the northeast are Mount Cornwall, "Outlaw Peak" and Banded Peak.
A bicycle is handy for all three peaks. Fisher Peak, Mount Romulus and Mount Remus can be seen to the north.
Years ago, I visited these lakes on a side trip while biking the Elbow Loop. Tombstone Lakes are nearly 750 metres below the summit of Tombstone South.
Doesn't look feasible as a scramble from this angle... This is looking northwest at the real Tombstone Mountain (3035 metres).
Raff thought that Rae, with all the snow on it, looked a lot like Everest! Mount Rae dominates the view to the south.
I bet the wind is just howling up there right now! This is a zoomed-in view of Mount Joffre to the southwest.
Kinda looks like they're climbing up! Wietse and Raff descend a steep snow gully near the summit.
The snow was generally too soft for glissading though.  Perhaps after a few more freeze-thaw cycles... The snow makes plunge-stepping easy.
I tried to stick to the snow as much as possible as the slabs were often steep and down-sloping. Raff and Wietse work their way down a mix of snow and rock slabs.
A good place to get over to skier's right while descending the drainage lower down. Wietse watches Raff slide down a short but nasty dirt slope.
Raff and I both felt that the outlier on the left should have its own name. Here is a view of Mount Rae (right of centre) from the lower slopes of Tombstone South.
Wow.  I can't believe we descended all that! This is looking back up Kane's alternate descent route.  The summit is visible at upper right.
It's definitely the cat's meow! At the head of Piper Creek valley is this spectacular formation unofficially known as "Cats Ears".