Mount Indefatigable (Traverse)

 

Elevation: 2670m Gain: 1000m Difficulty level: Moderate
Ascent time: 3.5 hours  Total trip time: 7 hrs Conditions: early snow (Sep 2005)

Parking area: North Interlakes Parking Lot

 

Mount Indefatigable (traverse) is one of the finest ridge walks in the Kananaskis area. After 2 consecutive years of closure due to bears, I finally had a chance to return. One of the best things about Mount Indefatigable is that it can be a hike (to the park bench), an easy scramble (South Peak), or a phenomenal ridge walk (traverse). Regardless, excellent views can be had in minimal time. 

 

 

ROUTE
From the parking lot, follow the gravel road until you cross the dam. To your right, take the well marked path heading up Mount Indefatigable. After passing the first park bench, you will eventually come across a trail to the left (leading to the South Peak). As many have said, while it is possible to do the traverse from South to North, the North-South route is easier. In particular, I prefer saving the longer approach (North Peak) for the beginning of the day. 

 

Approximately, 25m before the end of trail sign, you will see a well used trail to the left (after the trail to South peak). Do not take the poorly defined animal trail that leads down a steep slope. The proper trail is in excellent condition and has a gentle slope upwards. Follow this trail (always taking branches to the right). You will then come to an alpine tarn (beautiful in the spring, but dried up by the fall). Head up the bowl (just to the right of the North Peak)

The right side of the bowl (near the false summit/outlier) seems like a gentler ascent with a pleasant ridge walk. Avoid this temptation. At the top, there are several rock faces, and pinnacles that must be passed. Two climbers (see circles) who had taken this 'easier' route ended up doing some serious climbing and route finding. Being lazy, we decided to take the path marked by the solid lines; thus avoiding any difficult climbing entirely.  As it turned out, the 'climbers' were actually two Japanese ladies in their 60s.

Ascending up the bowl was a bit tedious:

However, once on top of the North Peak, we were treated to some phenomenal ridge walking. The ridge walk is more of a moderate than difficult scramble. I did not find it particularly exposed. This allowed for more enjoyment of the splendid views; and less time spent in a state of generalized anxiety (*cough* Mt. Stephen). Having said that, in Kane's 3rd edition, the traverse got upgraded to 'difficult'; presumably following a single unexpected death.
There is 1 section requiring 1 or 2 climbing moves when ascending the south peak, but it is not exposed.

Once the South Peak has been reached, it is a quick descent down to the original path, and subsequently a pleasant run down to the parking lot.

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