Sat, Jun 5 2010 - Association Peak (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Gerry R
Participants:Gerry R, Aarmaan, Zosia, Ali S

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Ask and it shall be granted

Twenty six kilometres is a long walk even on an easy trail. Looking at the topo map the obvious short route from highway 1A to Association Peak is through the Stoney Reserve a saving of 8K. So I asked and I received a permit to cross the reserve alongside Old Fort Creek. Only three club members and I were tough enough to try this trip. The weather was showery on the way out but when we arrived at the trailhead opposite Nakoda Lodge,Association Peak stood out bathed in sunshine. It took a few minutes to find an easy way across the barbed wire fence. We followed a faint trail high up on the bank above Old Fort Creek. The creek is really amazing as it carves a deep canyon complete with a very scenic waterfall and a magnificent mountain vista. Some of the famous Hollywood Westerns were filmed here. It's easy to see why.

There were two campsites en route. One had some tipi poles being made, drying out after the spruce poles had been skinned. Further along we came on the remains of a deer. It must have been hunted and the unwanted remains left for scavengers as we found a strip of deer hide neatly cut with hair still attached. See the photo.

Spring flowers including Prairie Crocus were blooming along the way. It was a nice sheltered trail along the creek and we enjoyed the view and sun as we walked. Much nicer than the trip across the CMC valley. Strangely there was no boundry fence on the north side of the reserve, not even a sign to note it was Stoney Land. The trail joined up with an obvious horse trail which paralleled a small creek feeding Old Fort. It climbed to a grassy meadow pass just under Association Peak.

We headed up the East slope of Association aiming for an obvious break in the rockband. Once up on the shoulder we looked along the NE Ridge where a line of cliffs tapering down to a rubble pile 800m along the slope. It was completely snow covered. Fortunately the snow held our weight and the slope above the cliffs was quite gentle. No danger from above. Once we reached the low point it was a straight line right to the top. It was still quite sunny even though we could see and hear thunder showers to the North, West and South. They seemed to be keeping left and right no doubt being deflected by the larger peaks to the North. The wind was almost calm. It was perfect. Not too hot ,not to cold just right. End Mountain looked impressive with cliffs surrounding the peak. It looked like a walk on a wide flat rock strata right over to the peak. The look is deceiving as there are two large breaks in the rock formation. We walked as far as we could but it was still difficult to see if it was possible to ascend End mountain on the SW face as the ridge curved to obscure the view.

We backtracked a little and went straight down an obvious drainage. I tried a little glissading while the others boot skied and postholed down. On the way down two small cliffs blocked or way. They had nice waterfalls running over them from the melting snow. The first was easy to circle on the right hand side. The lower one required scrambling over a few wet ribs on the right side until we reached an easy way down to the 4x4 trail running along the bottom of the valley.

The return trip seemed longer and hillier than the way in. Still it was easier than ascending Yam's shoulder. Our round trip time was 10 hours, and approximately 20K distance. It is just 18K just to Association. Our side trip along the ridge added a couple of K's. Many thanks to the Stoney First Nation for allowing us to share their land for the day.End mountain beckons. That's another adventure.