Mount Ptolemy
Located on the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia (BC), Mount Ptolemy is the highest peak in the vicinity of Crowsnest Pass.  I was naturally curious to find an easy route to the summit, but information about this relatively obscure mountain is frustratingly limited.  After studying a topographical map of the area, I considered the possibility of approaching via a logging road along Andy Good Creek and ascending Mount Ptolemy's southern slopes.  On 11 September 2008, I drove through Crowsnest Pass and turned south onto the highway that leads to the mining community of Corbin, BC.  Just before the highway crosses Andy Good Creek, I turned east onto a rough logging road and drove for a few kilometres trying to find a feasible route up the southern slopes.  There is a small pullout at one of the first breaks in the trees which allows a clear view of the upper slopes.  This looked like a promising access point, but I continued driving to see if there was anything better.  Further east, a talus slope coming from the big basin south of the mountain nearly reaches the road.  Although there would be little bushwhacking here, the initial part of the slope looked uncomfortably steep.  After driving a little further, I turned around and returned to the aforementioned pullout.  By the time I finally started hiking, it was already 12:35 PM--not a particularly good start!  Right off the bat, I came across a rocky drainage and followed it to a mossy headwall.  I then bushwhacked up the steep and loose slope to climber's left before settling into a long but easy climb up the forested ridge.  When I eventually gained the crest of Mount Ptolemy's southwest ridge, I had my first look at the true summit, and what I saw was not very reassuring.  The connecting ridge to the summit looked incredibly daunting, and the summit itself seemed far away.  Despite growing doubts, I continued up the southwest ridge toward a false summit.  There are several drop-offs along this ridge which require circumventing or some exposed down-climbing, and consequently, ascending this ridge was quite time-consuming.  I also spooked a few goats here and was amazed at how quickly and effortlessly they were able to scoot across the slope and disappear behind the mountain.  When I reached the false summit at 4:25 PM, the connecting ridge did not look any better, and I was beginning to lose heart.  I started down-climbing from the false summit, but stopped short of the bottom at a seemingly impossible drop-off.  I looked around briefly and noticed a possible detour with some elevation loss, but seeing what was ahead on the connecting ridge and given the lateness of the day, I decided to give up.  Dejectedly, I climbed back up to the false summit and took a break.  The views from the false summit were still good enough to warrant a lot of picture taking, but my eyes and thoughts were constantly drawn back to the connecting ridge and the true summit.  I began asking myself if I had truly given my best shot (the answer to that question would manifest itself a few days later on my epic trip up Mount Inflexible).  Before leaving the false summit to return to my car, I spotted a couple of goats wandering along the connecting ridge, and that seemed to lift my spirit a little.  On descent, I headed for the same drainage I had hiked up at the beginning of the trip, but to get around the headwall, I veered onto the forested ridge to skier's left (or climber's right) of the drainage.  I was back at my car by 7:22 PM.
The exact location is Zone 11 U 669364mE. 5488918mN.  Starting elevation is 1448 metres.  The false summit is visible from the small pullout.
Still a long way to go, baby! Sonny ascends the forested ridge to climber's left of the gully.  The false summit looks a little closer.
Hmmm...looks rather challenging... This is Sonny's first view of the true summit (left) from the southwest ridge.
If you look closely, you can spot a herd of goats going over the opposite ridge. Following the southwest ridge to the false summit is not as easy as it looks as there are a few drop-offs that have to be negotiated.
Looks just as bad from this angle! This is the connecting ridge to the true summit as viewed from the false summit.
And if you're really sharp, you might be able to spot Castle Peak, Mount Blakiston and Mount Cleveland! This is looking south from the false summit.
Kinda reminds me of the ancient Egyptians building the Great Pyramids. Coal Mountain and the mining community of Corbin are a stark reminder of human impact on the environment.
Looks like a tough climb. Here is a closer look at Mount McGladrey.
Looks like an even tougher climb! Here is a closer look at Mount Darrah.
Gould Dome completely hides Tornado Mountain from this angle. The High Rock Range stretches away to the north with Gould Dome (centre) rising high above the intervening peaks.
Doesn't Seven Sisters Mountain resemble Dolomite Peak? Seven Sisters Mountain and Crowsnest Mountain are also visible to the north.
It doesn't feel clammy! There are many fossils strewn across the slopes below the false summit.
I'll be back... The moon rises over Mount Darrah at the end of the day.
After putting Mount Ptolemy on the back burner for a couple of weeks, I returned on 28 September 2008 with renewed determination to reach the summit or at least to make an honest attempt on the connecting ridge.  Joining me this time were Linda Breton, Bob Parr, and Antri Zhu.  Starting from the same pullout, we crossed the rocky drainage and immediately climbed up the forested ridge to climber's right.  A lengthy but otherwise pleasant climb to the false summit ensued.  After taking a well-deserved break at the false summit, we began one of the most intense and sustained stretches of difficult scrambling I have ever experienced.  Our first test was getting down from the false summit to a col on the connecting ridge.  One six-foot drop was particularly intimidating, but Bob and I managed to down-climb it while Linda and Antri found an easier detour to skier's right.  From the col, we hiked up a nice ledge parallel to the ridge before tackling a series of pinnacles and cliff bands that seemed to get successively more difficult the higher we climbed.  Linda and Antri eventually had enough and stopped at a short but uncomfortably exposed down-climb made all the more slippery by a light dusting of snow.  While Bob and I pressed on, we were constantly expecting to get stymied by an impossible drop-off after each rise, but there was always a way down or around each difficulty.  The last big notch in the connecting ridge forced us to descend a loose and slippery gully on climber's right.  We then traversed a scree-covered ledge below some large cliff bands before scrambling up steep slabs to regain the ridge.  After this, I remarked to Bob that this was the first time I actually felt confident that we could make the summit, and as it turned out, we encountered no further problems.  After a brief stay at the summit, Bob and I retraced our steps back along the connecting ridge.  Not surprisingly, climbing back up all the drop-offs was easier, and it took us only half as long to return to the false summit.  Linda and Antri, who had waited patiently for Bob and me on the connecting ridge, had begun heading down once they saw us returning from the summit.  Bob and I caught up to them on the rubble slope below the false summit, and together, we descended uneventfully to my car (round-trip time of 11 hours).  Dinner at The Rum Runner in Coleman, Alberta capped off a long but satisfying day.
Here we go again! Antri, Linda and Bob start out from the car.
Steep but pleasant hiking so far. Andy Good Creek is visible far below the ridge.
Just a small taste of things to come... Linda photographs Antri down-climbing a short rock band.
Because of foreshortening, the false summit is much farther away than it looks. Bob ascends a slabby section en route to the false summit.
Nice of them to line up for a photo! A herd of goats prance along the southwest ridge.
Not really as steep as it looks here! Bob continues up more slabs and scree.
Bob showed no signs of slowing down even after taking a year off from scrambling! Bob pauses for a breath on his way up.  Mount Darrah is visible in the hazy distance.
So far so good... Bob stands on the false summit.
Piece of cake, right?? Here is a closer look at the true summit.
Actually, he was checking out the down-climb before coming back for a break. Bob starts descending to the col.
This is actually the easy section! Getting to the col from the false summit involves some tricky down-climbing.
Linda and Antri were detouring this section out of the photo to the left. Bob gets down to the col.  The six-foot drop is hidden behind the rock outcrop at centre.
Although the ledge is easy, there's a HUGE drop to the left in the photo. Antri and Linda come up the easy ledge.  The col is visible at far right.
I feel for the poor guys working at the mine on a beautiful Sunday like this. This is looking back at the false summit from partway up the connecting ridge.
Most unnerving down-climb of the entire ridge in my opinion. Bob gets by the spot (snow patch above his head) where Linda and Antri would eventually stop.
Bob and I are now on our own. Bob continues up the ridge.  Antri is standing on top of the bump in the distance.
He looks like he's wondering when all this madness will end! Bob bypasses another difficult section along the ridge.
Or else he is wishing he was on that plane high in the sky! Bob pauses before the final push to the summit.
Piece of cake now! The summit is only a few minutes away.
Four legs good, two legs bad. These goats are wondering who is crazy enough to join them up here.
Four legs good, two legs better! Bob and Sonny stand on the 2813-metre summit of Mount Ptolemy.  Their approximate route can be seen here.
Yikes!  We came across all that?! This is looking back along the connecting ridge to the false summit.
Lotsa good scrambles here! This is the view to the northeast.
Probably seldom climbed, I would guess. This is an unnamed peak to the southeast.
I tried to find a summit register, but the cairn was half buried by snow. Bob leaves the summit.
Some interesting peaks on the horizon. This is the northwest ridge of Mount Ptolemy.  Mount Erickson and Erickson Ridge are visible at upper right.
Confused yet?? To the north are Sentry Mountain* (centre) and Chinook Peak (right).  Also visible in the distance are Seven Sisters Mountain and Crowsnest Mountain.

*According to Toporama, the peak here is named Sentry Mountain, but this is not the same peak described in Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies.  Kane's Sentry Mountain is about a kilometre further north (difficult to see in the photograph). lists both peaks as "Mount Sentry" but further designates Kane's peak as Sentry Mountain and the higher peak in this photograph as Sentinel Mountain.

Bob's right foot looks all wrong! Bob descends some shattered rocks near the scree-covered ledge.
This is what scrambling's all about! Bob scrambles up the other side of the last big notch.
Bob Parr does his best Spiderman impersonation! The connecting ridge is narrow in places such as this one.
Speaking of superheroes, Bob Parr IS Mr. Incredible! Bob climbs back up the six-foot drop before the false summit.
My turn to climb up! Here is another look at the six-foot drop (center of photograph just below and to the left of the sliver of snow).
Not the best scree for surfing, but it could have been worse. Antri descends the rubble slope below the false summit.  The southwest ridge is visible behind him.
Nice colourful jackets, n'est-ce pas? Antri, Bob and Linda stumble their way down the mountain.
Stick to the ridge left of the gully. The late day sun reflects off of Andy Good Creek.
The sun had already set, but it wasn't as dark as the photo suggests. Antri and Linda return to Sonny's car.
Be sure to check out Antri's photos here and here.