Brachiopod Mountain
I had high hopes of bagging several peaks in the Skoki region of Banff National Park when Dan Millar, Kelly Wood and I backpacked into Baker Lake on 22 July 2005.  The trip started out well enough when a Ski Louise employee offered to drive us up the restricted road to Temple Lodge, saving us about 3.9 kilometres of walking and 320 metres of elevation gain (the last time Kelly and I visited Skoki, we also were lucky enough to secure a free ride up).  Partway up the road, we picked up another hiker who disappeared soon after we disembarked near Temple Lodge.  From there, it took us about 4.5 hours to hike about 9.5 kilometres over Boulder Pass to the campground at Baker Lake.  After quickly setting up our tent at the bug-infested campground, we forded the outlet stream of Baker Lake and wandered up to the pass separating Brachiopod Mountain from Heather Ridge to the west.  While Kelly elected to wait at the pass, Dan and I began slogging up the scree slope of Brachiopod Mountain.  Shortly after, the wind picked up, and rain began to fall.  Dan decided to turn around and head back to camp with Kelly, but I was determined to reach the summit in spite of the rain.

When I reached the slabs, I met a fellow huddled in an orange poncho.  His name was Wieslaw Szleper, and he had just come over from the north peak of Anthozoan Mountain.  We chatted for a little while longer before I suddenly realized that this was the same guy that we had picked up earlier on the road to Temple Lodge.  Wieslaw seemed a little tentative about continuing up the last few slippery metres in the rain, but as soon as I started climbing again, he followed me up the slabs to the summit.  The rain let up for a bit at the summit, but with the deteriorating weather, I had no illusions of continuing on to Anthozoan Mountain.  Wieslaw came up behind me, tagged the summit, said farewell, and quickly headed down.  He still had a long walk ahead of him to get back to the Fish Creek trail head, but at least he would be sleeping in a warm, dry bed that night.  I had forgotten my sleeping pad and wasn't looking forward to an uncomfortable night sleeping on my backpack in a cold, wet tent.  As I left the summit, the rain resumed its steady fall.

When I finally got back to camp (round-trip time of 3 hours), Dan and Kelly were already in the tent.  We all skipped dinner that night and crashed in our sleeping bags for the next 12 hours half-sleeping and half-listening to the rain and wind pound our tent.  The next morning, the rain stopped briefly to allow us to eat breakfast and pack up our gear.  Instead of hiking to Merlin Meadows as originally planned, we decided to head home as another rainstorm swept into the area.  Overall, I was disappointed that I only managed to bag one peak on this trip, but this was a worthwhile experience for me in gauging the effort and commitment required to tackle the scrambles in this area.
It's already a long way to get here with a heavy backpack. Kelly and Dan hike up the trail to Boulder Pass (far right).  Ptarmigan Peak is at centre.
Great views but not a good place to be caught in storm. This is the view from Boulder Pass of Ptarmigan Lake with Fossil Mountain, Mount Douglas and Mount St. Bride in the background.
Not shy at all. A golden-mantled ground squirrel looks for something good to eat near Boulder Pass.
The packs are really feeling heavy now. Brachiopod Mountain and Anthozoan Mountain come into view.
Let's go exploring! Dan and Kelly ford the outlet stream of Baker Lake.
Hmmm...we may get some rain... Ptarmigan Peak looks very striking from Baker Lake.
Just wanted to try out the 'Vivid' setting on my camera! Indian Paintbrushes
Should be a straightforward ascent, right? Dan and Kelly approach the base of Brachiopod Mountain.
What happened to all that good weather earlier?? Dark clouds gather as Dan grovels up the scree slope.
Too bad about the crappy weather.  Now I'll have to bag Anthozoan Mountain the hard way--up Baker Creek. In this view from the summit of Brachiopod Mountain, the true summit of Anthozoan Mountain looks far away.
Sigh... Sonny gets drenched by rain on the 2650-metre summit of Brachiopod Mountain.  Ptarmigan Peak and Wall of Jericho are visible in the distance.
Bloody weather. Wieslaw comes up the summit ridge.  Across the valley is Fossil Mountain.