From the lower gondola station, we hiked up the Sunshine Village access road until we reached the base of Goat's Eye Mountain chairlift. We left the main road here and followed another road which climbs up the lower slopes of Eagle Mountain. Instead of continuing along the road up Eagle Mountain, we subsequently headed into the trees to the south and bushwhacked a bit before reaching the basin west of Mount Howard Douglas. The rubble in this basin is miserably loose, and we tried our best to stick close to the steeper but more solid cliff bands to climber's right. Even here, the rocks are horribly unreliable, and we had to be doubly careful about wherever we stepped or whatever holds we grabbed.
As we approached the scree ledge traverse described by Nugara, Marta led everyone else up a short cut through some cliffs while I stuck to treadmill rubble and circumvented the same cliffs to climber's left. We reunited above the cliffs on Nugara's scree ledge, and from there, we groveled up more loose rubble to reach the south side of the summit block. We finished the ascent by climbing up a short but tricky rock step just before the summit. A snow squall greeted us when we reached the summit, and with no views to speak of, we had no reason to linger. Just as we were about to leave though, the clouds suddenly cleared up, and we stuck around a bit longer to enjoy some far-reaching views.
On descent, we retraced our steps back down
to the scree ledge taking extra care not to knock rocks down on each
other. Everyone traversed back to where I had initially gained the
scree ledge, and from there, we took advantage of the loose rubble to
quickly surf down to the bottom of the basin. Back on easier
ground, we took a short break before hiking out along the basin's
drainage. This eventually led us without too much trouble back to
the base of Goat's Eye Mountain chairlift, and we finished the trip with
an easy walk down the access road. The group enters the basin west of Mount Howard
Douglas. At centre in the distance is
Wawa Ridge. Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak Sonny, Marta, Jim, Anna and Zosia stand on the summit
of Mount Howard Douglas (2872 metres). The Sundance Range stretches across most of the eastern
Zosia hikes up the Sunshine Village
access road with
Mount Bourgeau behind her.
Just past the base of Goat's Eye
chairlift, the group heads up a rougher road which is the Sunshine
Coast ski run in winter.
Anna and Zosia endure some light bushwhacking as they make their way toward the basin below Mount Howard Douglas.
Jim picks his way across some boulders in a glade surrounded by
The group grinds its way up lots of loose rubble in the basin.
Zosia takes to some cliff bands which offer more solid footing.
The scree ledge (hidden) described by Nugara is best accessed near
the base of the big cliffs just right of centre.
Marta leads Jim, Anna and Zosia up a short cut through the cliffs
below the scree ledge.
Marta (far left) waits for the rest of the group to join her on the
scree ledge. The peak in the background is the western outlier
of Mount Howard Douglas.
The group takes varying lines up the rubble slope just below the
summit block (out of view at top right).
Zosia and Marta scramble up the south side of the summit block.
Marta and Zosia clear the short rock step just below the summit.
Numerous ski runs can be seen in this panoramic view from the summit.
Here is another look at the western outlier of Mount Howard Douglas.
To the south is Howard Douglas Creek valley.
Landing (GR882573) is the low-profile ridge just right of centre.
Also visible to the right are Quartz Hill and
A sliver of Lake Minnewanka can barely be seen to the northeast.
Visible to the northwest are Black Brett, Mount Bourgeau and Eagle
Zosia carefully descends to the scree ledge which is just around the
corner at bottom left.
The group takes advantage of the loose rubble to quickly descend to
the bottom of the basin.
Here is a look back at the basin below Mount Howard Douglas.
The group returns to the base of Goat's Eye chairlift with Mount
Bourgeau in the background.
Distance: 15.7 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 8 hours 50 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 1215 metres
The group enters the basin west of Mount Howard Douglas. At centre in the distance is Wawa Ridge.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
Sonny, Marta, Jim, Anna and Zosia stand on the summit of Mount Howard Douglas (2872 metres).
The Sundance Range stretches across most of the eastern horizon.