Observation Peak
With exceptionally nice weather on 22 October 2005, I headed to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park to scramble up Observation Peak.  Much of the upper mountain was plastered with snow, and I had some concerns about possible avalanche danger, especially on the slopes just below the false summit.  I decided to take a less-direct line further south of Alan Kane's normal route.  Starting down the old road at 1:34 PM, I took off into the trees where the road bends left.  I eventually gained the drainage south of Kane's route and followed it up to tree line.  Keeping right of the cliffs about halfway up, I continued along a snow-covered ridge until I could see some big rock bands guarding the false summit's south side.  There is a break to the left of these rock bands, and I had to venture onto avalanche-prone terrain to get through the break.  Luckily, the snow was stable enough to ascend, and I was soon back on safer ground.  Except for one knife-edged section made tricky by all the snow, I had no problems trudging up to the false summit at 4:55 PM.  From there, it took me another 35 minutes to hike to the true summit.

The chilly wind and lateness of the day prompted me to get moving after only seven minutes at the summit, and I was back at the false summit by 6:10 PM.  Descending the break in the rock bands, I glissaded down the aforementioned avalanche-prone terrain and in the process triggered a small slide that went crashing over the cliffs below.  After that, I angled back over to my ascent route and plunge-stepped the rest of the way down to the drainage.  An easy plod out had me back at my car by 7:21 PM.
My route goes up somewhere on the far right before angling left up to the false summit. This is Observation Peak as seen from the parking area.  The true summit is the flat top at left.
Anyone wanna scramble up Caldron Peak with me in the future? Here are Caldron Peak and Peyto Lake as seen from the lower slopes of Observation Peak.
Not a great place to linger on this day. These are the "short cliffs" about halfway up the mountain as described by Kane.
Sigh...morning light would have been better for photographing these peaks! Further up the slope, Mount Forbes (left) can be seen to the northwest.  At right is Howse Peak.
Another classic butt shot! Sonny works his way up to the false summit.
I really hate false summits! This is the view of the true summit (left) from the false summit.
I wish I had skis here! Sonny trudges along the very broad summit ridge.  At left on the horizon is Mount Willingdon.
It's very tempting to go peer over the edge... This is one of the overhanging cornices near the summit.
This was as far as I dared to wander onto the summit cornice. Sonny plants his ice axe on the snow-covered summit of Observation Peak (3174 metres).
There is much here for further exploration! This is the view to the north from the summit.  At right is Isabella Lake.
And if you look really closely, you can also pick out Mount Assiniboine way off in the distance. The view to the south includes more familiar peaks such as Mount Hector (left) and Mount Temple (right).
I wonder what this mountain would look like without all the snow... Here is another look at the cornices on the east side of Observation Peak.
Rather beautiful, isn't it? This is looking back at the false summit from the broad summit ridge.
Frozen waves? The wind can create some interesting patterns in the snow.
It's 6:10 PM!!  What am I still doing way up here?! After climbing back over the false summit, Sonny retraces his steps down the ridge.  Bow Lake is barely discernible in the shadows at right.
Yep, that's Mount Assiniboine again on the horizon just left of Bow Peak. Twilight descends upon the Canadian Rockies.  While Bow Peak (middle) is completely in shadow, Mount Temple (right) still has some alpenglow.
I'm a little wet at this point but still going strong!  Eleven minutes to the car from here. Sonny hikes down the drainage in the growing darkness.  The false summit of Observation Peak is visible behind him.