2019-07-13 | Ochre Spring Peak | 2718 max | 1450 TH | 12.7 km | +-1400 TA | w/ David & Peter
A trip to Kootenay NP for a change of pace. Peter was carrying on later in the day to the Invermere area so we set a 6:30 start time at the trailhead. So 3:30 alarm, up even earlier than the neighborhood robins. Nice cruise out on quiet roads, had a marten dash across right in front of me near Banff. Arrived to a quite full parking lot (some backpackers cars likely) but including signs of overniting RV’s and other vehicles including someone who had pitched a tent. I guess this wasn’t the day to enforce the rules.
The approach goes thru the Paint Pots which are pretty cool and just the right length for short tourist outings. I hadn’t been here since 2011 when Eric and I backpacked the Rockwall and came out this way. About 3km past that point an avy chute points the way to the peak. Usually these views are foreshortened but we could basically see all the way. All 1300m of it. The bottom of the avy shoot was lush vegetation and I was soon wet thru at the waist but there were many wildflowers to admire. Peter and David pulled quite a ways ahead and I took an alternate route up a steep shoulder and then out onto a broad ridge with grassy meadows and larch overlooking the Rockwall and Good Sirs. Definitely easier traveling than the rock gully but still steep. Eventually I was back to where I could see the whole way up, I see nobody, after calling a few times I found I was actually above David and Peter and they had just decided to go see what had become of me. I continued on, and up a short steep snowfield and lots of loose scree, some rather greasy underfoot, and arrived at the top a little behind the others.
The view at the top was full of recognizable landmarks like the Rockwall, Good Sirs, Moraine lake peaks, Whymper, Ball, thru Wolverine pass to the Bugaboos and much in between and beyond. A good lunch but mostly looking around the panorama.
The way down was straightforward enough and once again behind, I was left to find my own route, I picked the best of the worst lines and arrived back at the main trail tired but intact. The trail was wonderful to travel on as it was well graded and soft and we were soon back to the trailhead for a cold coke before heading home. Even had enough left to cut the grass.
© Clayton Ditzler