Mt Nestor
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Mt Nestor - Spray Lakes Road

A view of the route from a pic in the spring

The 8 km bike ride

Time to start hiking as I'm warmed up pretty good from the bike

A view above tree line of the steep direct gully

Route taken as the steep gully narrows

Looking back from the first ridge

Ug, need to traverse another gully to the summit ridge, didn't realize that

Looking back, steep and loose terrain

On the last part of the final ridge

A short traverse the summit still not in view

Looking back as we approach the down climb section

The 10 meter downclimb

The 10 meter up climb

Just past the up climb the summit cairn finally comes into view

Narrow spot looking back from summit cairn

Nice views from the summit

The 2 routes for Nestor

The shallower but longer gully route directly to the summit ridge

A more distant look

The choice is yours

Rimwall on the left and Wind Tower on the right

Mt Nestor

Scramble: Class 2 Steep Off-trail Hiking for the a good portion, faint trail for a portion

Altitude: 2,975m (9,760 ft)

Elevation Gain: 1,250m (4,100 ft)

Ascent Time: 3 4 Hours

Best Season to Scramble: Mid-June to September

Highlights

Great summit views, Old Goat Mtn, Assiniboine, Sparrowhawk, and Mt Bogart to name a few.

Getting There

From the Bow River bridge in Canmore its around 17+ km to the turnoff to cross the 3 Sisters dam to access the West Spray Lakes road and campground. The road from the Bow River bridge takes you past the Canmore Nordic Centre and onto the Spray Lakes road (packed gravel). Once you cross the 3 Sisters dam hang a left and drive through the campground and continue on until you arrive at a closed gate, parking available here.

Route Description

From the parking lot bicycle for 8 km on the relatively flat West Spray Lakes road until you come to a "s" curve in the road, watch for the cairn to your right. This is your starting point. The trail takes you up the right side of the drainage through some burned tree area then after only about 20 minutes you are above tree line and way lies straight ahead if you are taking the steep gully or to your left if you are taking the shallower gully. If you take the steep gully it is basically zig zagging up the hill as there is no trail. There is some hands on climbing as the gully narrows and then opens up to the first ridge. From the first ridge you must traverse and cross a big gully to the summit ridge proper. The terrain is steep and loose but once on the summit ridge there is a faint switch backing trail. You cannot see the summit from here as once you reach the highest point you do a gradual ridge walk. At the end of the ridge there is a down climb of around 10m then up the other side. The down and up here is a bit of hands on climbing but only a small amount of exposure in dry conditions. If filled with snow you would need to be extra careful, perhaps even a belay would be in order. From there you are only a couple of minutes from the summit with another narrow section to cross over but no real exposure if dry.

If you would like a slightly longer but more straightforward hiking route I would recommend the left hand turn up the more shallow gully, see the pictures. Going up this gully allows you to directly access the long summit ridge in an easy and gradual manner. Both routes have their advantages but both routes require quite a bit of off trail, faint trail navigation with the extra work your ankles and stabilizer leg muscles will have to do on the loose rocks.