Mount Dyson

Bob Spirko and I ascended Mount Dyson in the Sheep River region of Alberta's Kananaskis Country on 15 February 2015.  Partly inspired by Steven Song's and Rafal (Raff) Kazmierczak's ascent the week before, Bob and I knew that conditions would be ideal to tag this lowly summit.  We had no problems crossing the frozen Sheep River near the start of the hike and picking up the Wolf Creek trail on the other side.  Snow coverage was either thin or supportive enough that we did not need snowshoes, but many sections of trail were covered in pure ice and dangerously slippery.  While Bob had the foresight to bring along ice cleats, I simply muddled along the edges wherever the ice covered the trail.  At a large clearing, we briefly left the trail to take a short cut across a marshy bog which, like the river, was conveniently frozen.  Upon regaining the trail, we continued southward to a partially open bench overlooking a tributary of Wolf Creek.  Oddly enough, there was a large group of people camping here, and their dogs made quite a ruckus when Bob and I passed by.  While Steven and Raff turned west here to ascend the northeast ridge of Mount Dyson, Bob and I followed the route described in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Trail Guide (4th Edition, Volume 4) and dropped down to cross the tributary.  Climbing up the other side, we soon merged onto a cut line which runs parallel to Wolf Creek and leads to the base of Mount Dyson's southeast slopes.  Ascending these open slopes was a bit of a grunt, but there is nothing technically difficult here.  We eventually climbed up to a clearing on the south ridge where we were granted some respectable views of the mountains to the west.  From there, we headed north until we found the forest-covered summit which was expectedly anticlimactic.  We took a few requisite photographs before retreating to the clearing to enjoy a well-deserved lunch.  Our return trip was largely uneventful; even the campers and dogs had disappeared.

In retrospect, I can barely recommend Mount Dyson as a worthwhile winter objective and only because Wolf Creek trail is itself surprisingly interesting to hike, snowshoe, or even ski (last winter, I made it as far as the tributary on cross-country skis).  In spring or summer, the Sheep River would likely be too problematic to cross, and Wolf Creek trail would also probably be unpleasantly muddy.

Be sure to check out Bob's trip report here.
Don't try this in the spring! Bob crosses frozen Sheep River.
Again, don't try the short cut in the spring! Bob arrives at a marshy clearing with Blue Ridge visible in the distance.  The road heads left and winds around to the far side of the clearing, but Bob would take a short cut through the frozen marsh.
The crusty snow made for easy walking. The Wolf Creek trail joins a cut line which leads straight to Mount Dyson.
Feel free to grunt here! Bob climbs up steep, grassy slopes on the southeast side of Mount Dyson.
It's sad, but this outlier has better views than the actual summit of Mount Dyson! Bob surveys the remainder of the route up Mount Dyson from its eastern outlier.
Better than no trail at all! Bob finds a very short-lived trail just below the top of Mount Dyson.
This was a nice lunch spot. Bob scans the horizon from a clearing at the south end of Mount Dyson.
We could have taken this photo back at the parking lot and called it the "summit"! Sonny and Bob stand on the 1777-metre summit of Mount Dyson.
You know the mountain is lame when texting is more interesting than the scenery! Bob stops to send a text message from the eastern slope of Mount Dyson.  Blue Ridge dominates the background.
Not destined to be a classic... Total Distance:  15.4 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 32 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  374 metres

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