20170726-27: Windswept and sunbaked (Castle Wilderness traverse to Waterton N.P.)

David and I looked back at Victoria Peak, from whence we came. David laughed. “We went straight up the steepest part!!”

I looked over at Oscar, who was grinning. Eh well. We’d purposely contoured around the mountain to find an easier path up than the normal route, because we were carrying two days worth of gear on this traverse.

We had good intentions but ended up, as David put it, going straight up the steepest part. It’s scree. A scree treadmill… One step up, a half step slide back. Finally the scree gave way to boulders.

Whewee, it was going to be long days if the entire ridge was like this, I thought. Luckily, it wasn’t. Spionkop is the steepest section, but we managed that easily even with our big backpacks. The rest was largely a wonderful ridge walk. Hot, and windy.

Others who have done this route have noted that the scenery doesn’t change much. That’s because the scale is so humongous. In such vastness, it was the little things underfoot that commanded our special attention. Alpine flowers and succulents, the amazing color of the rocks, geological variety.

Castle Traverse colors snip
Satellite imagery shows off the colours of the rock and an example “bullseye”, aka alien landing pad.

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The layers of cream, terracotta and salmon, minty-grey and slate grey.. Rainbow slopes.

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Coming down from Victoria Peak and looking at the distant peaks we’re headed towards.

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Finishing the 8 hr 24 km day with a steep descent off the ridge to Bovin Lake. Bear prints!
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Unedited colours at dusk.
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Next morning, we headed back up to the ridge to continue on. Views of our campsite area at Bovin Lake from Loaf Mountain.

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Our last of 7 summits before descending the valley towards Goat Lake, a popular hiking trail from Red Rocks Canyon in Waterton National Park. Hot day!

Castle Traverse snip

Castle Wilderness to Waterton Traverse.
It ended up being 45km total and 3400m gain with all the little ups and downs and side to sides. Two 8hr days.

 

 

 

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