Observation Peak Bow Summit Area
TS - True Summit believe it or not - see next photo
FS - False Summit but still an awesome spot!
TS - True Summit in better perspective. This photo taken from Mt.
Just 15-20 yards past this turnoff is
the turnoff for Observation Peak parking (almost opposite the Peyto Lake
Photo taken looking north and
opposite the Peyto Lake turnoff
Scramble: Class 1 Steep Hiking, Some Use of Hands
Altitude: 3,174m (10,410 ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,100m (3,608 ft)
Ascent Time: 2 1/2 3 1/2 Hours
Best Season to Scramble: End of June to October
This scramble offers beautiful views of Bow Lake and the Wapta
Icefield. It has a short approach and well worth the effort. Lots of scree but you can
pick your way for the best footing.
Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to Lake
Louise 187km (116.9 miles). Continue west on the TransCanada for another 2.5km and take
the Icefield Parkways / Jasper exit (highway 93) going north. Head north 39km (24.4 miles)
to the Bow Summit area. Just 20 yards past the left hand turn into the Peyto Lake viewpoint there
is a right hand turn onto a gravel road. Take the right hand turn onto the gravel road and
drive a very short distance to a spot where the road is impassable. From this spot you are
looking right at the slopes of Observation Peak.
Route finding skills
definitely a must on this peak to find the easiest way. There is
more than one route to reach the upper slopes.
From the gravel road parking spot take a look at the various
gullies on the face of Observation Peak. There is more than one way up but our route goes
up the right hand gully. Head down the road for a few minutes and just before the road
turns left head off right and begin a bit of route finding
in a South then Easterly direction to gain entrance to the right hand gully.
If you have to do more than class 2 scrambling in the
gully or above you are off route from the easiest way up and should
reconnoiter your route if your intent is to find the easiest way up. Some
experienced scramblers may purposely take a harder route because they want
more of a challenge.
When you gain the drainage head up
it looking to your right for a short steep slope to exit the gully.
This of course assumes you are in the correct gully, if
not you will have to route find your way and rely upon your own level of
experience and skill. Climb up this short steep
slope to gain access to the terrain to the right of and above the gully. From here you
angle left and up a break in the upper cliffs then a short ridge scramble to the lower
peak. From here you will see the true summit down a short connecting ridge and 20 minutes
further north. Go straight north from the connecting ridge and not up the rounded hump as
this hump is lower than the true summit. Be careful on the
connecting ridge as there is a bit of exposure here.