Mount Hunter
Despite its close proximity to the busy TransCanada Highway, Mount Hunter, on the western boundary of British Columbia's Yoho National Park, is not a popular peak-bagging objective judging by the paucity of route information available online.  Attempting to traverse Mount Hunter's long southeast ridge from the upper of its two namesake lookouts in 2009, I had underestimated both the length and the complexity of the ridge.  I managed to tag one of the high points (GR232803) along the ridge, but running low on time and energy, I turned around well short of the true summit.  In 2010, I considered a shorter and more direct line to the summit from the highway, but because of ongoing road construction, I was forced to start my ascent further to the west.  After much sustained and miserable bushwhacking, I made it to the top of a forested spur only to find my access to Mount Hunter's northwest ridge blocked by impassable cliffs.

On 28 August 2011, I returned for another direct attempt from the highway, and with road construction already completed, I was able to start much closer at a point about 3.5 kilometres south of the summit.  Although not shown on my Topo Canada v4 map, there is a good logging road that turns off the westbound lanes of the highway about 7 kilometres west of the pullout with the big "Welcome Bienvenue" sign (I discovered this road using GoogleEarth).  This logging road is not accessible from the eastbound lanes because of barriers along the median.  The drivable road (high clearance helps but 2WD should be okay) ends at a clearing 1.8 kilometres from the highway, but for some inexplicable reason, I decided to park in a pullout about 500 metres short.  Perhaps subconsciously, I may have wanted to savour a bit of road walking before plunging into the bushes for the rest of the day!  From the clearing, I continued along an overgrown and reclaimed section of the road for another 600 metres until signs of human passage petered out completely.

Having delayed the inevitable long enough, I started bushwhacking up the slope aiming for a white dirt patch I could occasionally see through the trees.  After ascending a steep game trail to climber's left of the white dirt patch (actually a hoodoo-like eroded section), I settled into a 'comfortable' thrash up the forested slope.  The bushwhacking was not as bad as I was expecting, and game trails became more plentiful the higher I climbed.  After cresting a forested bump, I dropped down into a shallow depression choked with deadfall before climbing up to the base of a significant cliff band guarding the upper ridge.  Luckily, I was able to scramble up a steep and loose gully which breaches this formidable wall.  I also built a small cairn and took a GPS waypoint here before resuming my ascent.  I eventually cleared the last of the trees, and shortly after, I took a well-deserved break on the crest of Mount Hunter's southeast ridge.  Despite appearances to the contrary, the remainder of the ridge to the summit is mostly a hike with a few spots of moderate scrambling and exposure.  After all that I had been through to get up Mount Hunter, it was extremely satisfying for me to finally reach the top.  The weather was perfect on this day, and were it not for the prospect of a long bushwhacking descent, I would have extended my 50-minute stay at the summit.  Retracing my steps, I encountered few difficulties on my way back down.  My GPS waypoint came in handy for re-finding the gully through the cliff band, and though the bushwhacking was no less tedious the second time around, I actually welcomed the shade of the forest in the hot afternoon sun.

When I returned to my Honda CR-V, I was surprised to see it wrapped in police tape.  I thought it was maybe a joke at first, but a sticker left on my window by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) indicated that if my car was not removed within 72 hours, it would be towed at my expense.  I was certain that I was parked on crown land with no restrictions, and I did not see any "No Trespassing" signs in the area.  Dumbfounded, I removed the tape, and without giving the wrap job much further thought, I drove home.  When I arrived at my house, I had barely closed the door behind me to greet my wife when there came a loud knock.  I reopened the door and was greeted by a Calgary Police Services (CPS) officer who asked if I was the owner of a Honda CR-V.  I immediately confessed that I had parked on the logging road earlier in the day, but the officer admitted to knowing very little about the situation.  Instead, he handed me the name and phone number of an RCMP constable that I was supposed to contact immediately, and then the officer promptly left.  A phone call to the RCMP constable revealed that someone had reported my car abandoned, and as per their normal routine, the RCMP sent someone to examine and tape my car.  The RCMP also attempted to phone me but were unsuccessful because I had neglected to inform my insurance company when I recently dropped my landline.  As a result, the RCMP enlisted the CPS to basically hand-deliver a phone number to me!  After I reassured the RCMP constable that both my car and I were safe and sound and explained what I was doing in the area, she had a good laugh and apologized for the misunderstanding.  I still wonder who bothered to go up that logging road to nowhere and why they reported my car abandoned.
Driving to the end of the road will save some walking and about 50 metres of elevation gain. The road continues a little further beyond this point.  Sonny's route goes up the left side of the white dirt patch at left before following the skyline over the forested bump at centre.
Doesn't look so bad, does it? The forest is typically like this on the lower slopes.
It's not worth trying to sidehill bash around the bump to save some elevation gain/loss. This is looking back at the forested bump from further up the route.
When was the last time you saw a glass Pepsi bottle with a screw cap? Signs of human passage can be found in the seemingly most remote parts of the wilderness.
Nearly 4.75 hours of tough slogging to get this far...sigh. The summit block is finally in view from below the ridge crest.
There was still some uncertainty about the ridge route at this point. This is the remainder of the route from the ridge crest.
Interestingly, GoogleEarth labels Mount Seven as "Beaverhead Peak". Mount Seven sits to the west.
This was a really nice spot to take a break. Sonny takes a well-deserved break before tackling the final ridge to the summit.
This is where the fun begins... Sonny starts to climb the ridge.
Nothing worse than moderate scrambling though. Some parts of the ridge are narrow and exposed.
I actually thought the visible high point here was the summit at the time. Sonny continues hiking up the ridge.  The summit is not visible here.
I still thought there might be a deep notch or drop-off along the ridge. The true summit is visible here.
But it's not. Easy scrambling the rest of the way! The ridge just below the summit appears to be complicated.
Third time's a charm! Sonny tags the 2644-metre summit of Mount Hunter.
Looks like a challenging mountain to climb... To the southwest is Kapristo Mountain (centre).
One of the forgotten corners of Yoho National Park. This is looking along the northwest ridge of Mount Hunter.  Porcupine Peak is at far right.
Like comparing apples to oranges... Mount Sir Sandford is visible over 90 kilometres to the northwest.  In the foreground is Moberly Peak which is less than 20 kilometres away.
More scree heaps than you can shake a stick at! The view to the northeast includes Mount King at centre.
If you have a keen eye, you can spot Mount Niles, Mount Daly, and even Wapta Mountain at far right. Here is a closer look at Mount King.
Can you also spot Mount Duchesnay, Odaray Mountain, Mount Huber, Glacier Peak, Ringrose Peak, Mount Owen, and Mount Biddle?? Some of the peaks visible on the eastern horizon include Mount Victoria (left), Mount Lefroy (centre), Mount Temple (right) and Hungabee Mountain (far right).
It was very satisfying to look toward GR232803 where I had stood defeated two years before.   This is the view to the southeast which includes GR232803 in the foreground at right.  In the background are Mount Hurd (left), Mount Vaux (centre), the Goodsir Towers (right of centre), and Chancellor Peak (right).
Scramble or technical climb? Mount Vaux is one of the most attractive peaks in the area.
Two stranded climbers were recently plucked off the South Tower by helicopter sling--the highest ever in the history of the mountain parks. The Goodsir Towers never fail to impress or, at the same time, to instill fear.
Apparently, Alan Kane found a way to scramble up this behemoth. Not far from the Goodsir Towers is Chancellor Peak (centre), a challenging climb in its own right.
It looks like there are some nasty drop-offs that would make the traverse problematic. Here is a closer look at GR232803.
Might be worth staying there if you're with a large group. The Chancellor Peak Chalets are quite conspicuous along the Kicking Horse River.
3.5 hours from the road?? Which interpretive trail did I miss on my way up through the trees??? This was the only document in the summit register canister.
Probably the most pleasant summit weather I've had all year. I could have stayed longer... The register canister is tucked inside the summit cairn.
I really enjoyed the descent of this ridge. Here is another look at GR232803 from partway down Mount Hunter's southeast ridge.
So much for all the fun bits. Now back to the bushwhacking... The southeast ridge looks more daunting than it really is.
WTF?? Sonny's car is surprisingly wrapped with police tape at the end of the day.
I'm still incredulous. 3.5 hours from the road through all that crap?? Hmmm... This is the route as viewed in Google Earth.
Not destined to be a classic, at least not until an interpretive trail is built all the way from the road to the ridge!

Total Distance:  10.7 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  10 hours 15 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  1447 metres

GPX Data