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Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak


Postby ChrisW » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:14 pm

Date walked: 25/02/2016

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 11.8 km

Ascent: 914m

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Those with long memories will remember 2012 when attempting to summit Midnight Peak I took a nasty fall and was very lucky to get away with only minor injuries. For a year that mountain loomed over me as I travelled down highway 40, reminding me that it had thrown me off, so in July 2013 I finally went back and made the summit albeit via a different route. Today I returned once more and made the summit via the North-East route that almost got me in 2012.

Parking for the trailhead is simple to find, take exit 118 from the TransCanada Highway onto highway 40 south and travel approximately 15 km to a well signed 'Baldy Pass' parking area on the right hand side of the road.

For those who read my last post on the north face of Mt Baldy, you can just see that route and the knobbly gendarme blocking the ridge on the far left of this shot from the car park today.

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The hike is very comfortable and easy going early on with hard packed ice and snow requiring micros for traction. I'm soon looking back down the pass toward Nakiska ski resort.
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The pass suffered a massive change during the floods of 2013 and is still a tangle of bare trees poking through river rocks in many places
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Soon the easy going steady climb changes to a more demanding ascent and in the deep shaded part of the pass the snow still lays deep on the north facing slopes, the south facing slopes beyond are snow free now...in February :shock:

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For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to leave the well trodden pass trail and haul myself through deep snow with no trail as I ascended a long run off, the first 30 minutes was nicely over knee depth and really sapped my energy as it went on and on.
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Mercifully the snow has melted in the upper regions where the warm chinook winds can blow past, after ascending a nice little scramble up a dry waterfall and a rocky nub I'm snow free.
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Once out of the snow the ridge is just a pile of loose rock in an incredibly unstable boulder field and this is where the more steep ascent begins but the views over Mt Baldy and it's three peaks are wonderful
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The final pull is very steep and loose requiring almost constant reassessing of the boulder field to pick out a pathway, well that was my excuse for stopping every 20 steps :lol: Eventually I top out onto the low point of the summit ridge.
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It's nice to be able to see over to the south now as spectacular views open up all around, there's a good looking ridge continuing south and Moose Mountain away on the horizon.
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The view to the north along the edge of the mountains is beautiful, Mt Baldy with it's south and west summit ridges reaching toward me, directly over the top of those is Yamnuska, a mountain whose name translates as 'wall of rock' and way beyond, sticking out to enhance its own prominence is the unforgettable nub of Black Rock Mountain. It still seems incredible to me that I have stood on the summits of all of them and taken in the wonder of the Canadian Rockies all alone, every time :crazy:
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After standing on the lower end of the ridge regaining some energy I set out for that last little bump to the main summit, I confess I was really feeling it at this point, I could have sat here and called it a day :lol:
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From the main summit the ridge to the south is inviting (or would be if I had the energy) though I don't actually know where the exit points are along the way, another one to look up I guess.
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To the west along the ridge beyond the summit cairn is a wonderful array of mountains stretching infinitely. I settled down by the cairn for a while and filled out the summit register as usual.
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Up and along the summit ridge shows the start of the north western ridge (right) that I will use for my descent. It's less steep than the ascent route and a little more stable
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The evidence shot, despite the appearance it is very cold up here. I had a very quick bite to eat and set off on the descent after about 5 minutes.
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A shot from the top of the descent ridge looking back at the summit
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From the top of the descent ridge the view to the south along yet another ridge showing a good length of highway 40 is fantastic
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On the descent, the route out is 2/3 of the way along this ridge then dropping down to the right
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Off the ridge and into a long washout that leads back to the deep snow in the northern flanks of the forest where the last 300m or so to reach Baldy Pass trail was made through literally waist deep snow, it was awful and staggering through deadfall buried beneath it was even worse.
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I was never so glad to see a flat, easy downhill trail as I was when I staggered out of the forest onto Baldy Pass, it was a tough day that got me out and up a nice lump as the snow continues to disappear....long live El Nino :lol:
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ChrisW
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:46 pm

Well done for returning to the site of your near miss. As always a stunning report and just the ticket to see me through what has been a very disappointing winter. Most of the time even when the weather has behaved something else has intervened. Keep them up mate :clap: :clap:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby trailmasher » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:05 pm

Another great report Chris and well done you for facing your demons again :clap: :clap: The ridge on your way out looks fantastic, so sharp and clean 8) as always a fantastic set of images of a superb landscape :clap:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby dittzzy » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:13 pm

Beauuuuutiful. What glorious scenery. :) :)

And well done on going back. It looks like it was worth it, despite the cold. :) :thumbup:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby Mal Grey » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:59 am

Just as good as always! Well done for heading back up after your previous fun...

It does seem a little unfair that not only do you get some of the most beautiful mountains I can think of, but you also seem to get quite a lot of stable weather! :wink:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby ChrisW » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:30 am

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Well done for returning to the site of your near miss. As always a stunning report and just the ticket to see me through what has been a very disappointing winter. Most of the time even when the weather has behaved something else has intervened. Keep them up mate :clap: :clap:

Cheers JK, it was nice to finally shake off the shadow of that fall :wink:

trailmasher wrote:Another great report Chris and well done you for facing your demons again :clap: :clap: The ridge on your way out looks fantastic, so sharp and clean 8) as always a fantastic set of images of a superb landscape :clap:

Thanks TM, on my last ascent I went up that ridge and found it pretty good going....it was an easy choice for a decent route. The summit is only 7700 feet but its a tough little lump all the same :crazy:

dittzzy wrote:Beauuuuutiful. What glorious scenery. :) :)
And well done on going back. It looks like it was worth it, despite the cold. :) :thumbup:

Cheers Dittzzy, it was definitely worth the return....not sure I'll do it again though :lol:

Mal Grey wrote:Just as good as always! Well done for heading back up after your previous fun...
It does seem a little unfair that not only do you get some of the most beautiful mountains I can think of, but you also seem to get quite a lot of stable weather! :wink:

Thanks Mal, our weather in winter time is fantastic, there's no rain at all from September to March, if we get anything it's snow and this year there hasn't been much of that. To be honest the weather is really stable year round, the only 'wet' months are june to august and even then it's not many days, fantastic place to live :wink:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby Riverman » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:49 pm

Cracking report as ever Chris. Those slopes look hard going!
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby mamoset » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:31 pm

Good report and some great pics there Chris. Well done on finally putting that one to bed :clap:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:01 pm

Riverman wrote:Cracking report as ever Chris. Those slopes look hard going!

Thanks Riverman, yeah that ascent is a bit of a gruller but to be honest almost all of the ascents around Kananaskis are the same....they don't go much for switchbacks here :lol:

mamoset wrote:Good report and some great pics there Chris. Well done on finally putting that one to bed :clap:

Cheers Mamoset, I think it has niggled me for 2 years that I didn't make that N/E ridge ascent so I had to do it :lol:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby n2ddcdavid » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:42 pm

Great job toughing it out and conquering the hill.
Yet another outstanding report and photos. :clap:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:52 am

n2ddcdavid wrote:Great job toughing it out and conquering the hill. Yet another outstanding report and photos. :clap:

Thanks David, it was great to be up there so early in the season :wink:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:23 am

Having had a nasty fall myself recently, I can fully understand your desire to "conquer" your Nemesis. Just like you, I got away without broken bones, but I think my bashed pride and dignity hurt more than the hole in my leg :lol:

Every time I see your pics of Canadian landscapes, I think of Polish Tatry - similar views.
Cheers - BP
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby ancancha » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:29 am

Nice one Chris :clap:
Interesting how we have to keep going sometimes, I've had a couple of them, it was a real surprise to me just how much I had to gee myself along when they happened :shock:
As usual the photos and landscape are stunning, very jealous :mrgreen:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:25 pm

Another stunning report Chris - the air is so clear in the Rockies.
I had a stupid fall last Summer on a Swiss valley path that they'd put some canvas/ sacking on - ostensibly to make it safer :( :( :( Wrecked my ankle and cracked Fibula - 6 weeks in Moonboot :(
Better now - but so infuriating - equivalent of climbing Everest and then falling to one's death on Arthur's Seat :lol: :lol:
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Re: Canada - Return to my Nemesis - Midnight Peak

Postby ChrisW » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:32 am

BlackPanther wrote:Having had a nasty fall myself recently, I can fully understand your desire to "conquer" your Nemesis. Just like you, I got away without broken bones, but I think my bashed pride and dignity hurt more than the hole in my leg :lol: Every time I see your pics of Canadian landscapes, I think of Polish Tatry - similar views.
Cheers - BP


Hey BP, sorry to hear you've had a fall, it's time I strayed into the 'Scotland' section and found out what happened :shock:

ancancha wrote:Nice one Chris :clap: Interesting how we have to keep going sometimes, I've had a couple of them, it was a real surprise to me just how much I had to gee myself along when they happened :shock:
As usual the photos and landscape are stunning, very jealous :mrgreen:


Cheers Ancancha, I've always found bloodymindedness goes a long way :lol: :lol:

past my sell by date wrote:Another stunning report Chris - the air is so clear in the Rockies.
I had a stupid fall last Summer on a Swiss valley path that they'd put some canvas/ sacking on - ostensibly to make it safer :( :( :( Wrecked my ankle and cracked Fibula - 6 weeks in Moonboot :(
Better now - but so infuriating - equivalent of climbing Everest and then falling to one's death on Arthur's Seat :lol: :lol:


Thanks PMSD I love the air here, my brother swore he could taste the 'cleanness' of it when he came over, he still talks about it whenever we speak...it's a great place to live :wink:
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