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Freedom of the Hills...

Mount Sparrowhawk

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Date:                                                    July 3, 2006

Participants:                                          Solo

Distance:                                              Approximately 11 km

Elevation Gain:                                     Approximately 1380 m

Maximum Elevation:                             3121 m (10,237 ft.)

Elapsed Time:                                      7:00 approx.

Published Routes:                                 Kane and Daffern

Published Rating:                                  Easy

Difficulty - Endurance:                          6

Difficulty - Technical:                            3


I started out very early and, perhaps because of the early hour, the mosquitoes were some of the worst I have seen this year (the crux).  The description of the route is more detailed in Daffern’s book as opposed to Kanes’.  Kane suggests staying away from the southern creek which is tad misleading as the more popular approach tracks this creek until you gain Read’s Ridge. You should exit the trail that follows the creek at a small cairn to gain the ridge after about 15-20 minutes.  If you go too far along the creek the ascent up the ridge turns into an easy/moderate scramble as opposed to a steep hike/easy scramble.  Although that may sound good, the rock is ass so forget it, especially on descent.


Once you top out on the ridge the trail then proceeds to a gap between Read’s Tower and a large slabby section. This section of the trail is a more gentle prelude to the kind of steep hiking/easy scrambling that awaits you at the summit block. There is a gulley on the North face of Read’s Tower that, for a minute, I though would allow access to the tower from the gap.  However, upon closer inspection there is a chock stone of sorts about halfway up that would likely require some tricky layback type moves and clearly places this gulley out of difficult fourth class scrambling and into the arena of technical rock.


The next part of the route is a moderate angle scree/talus slog to the summit block.  There was a fair amount of snow remaining on the day of my ascent.  A brief snow crossing was of some minor concern as I could not see the terminus of the run off due to the curvature of the slope.  Therefore, although the angle was fairly gentle, I broke out the axe and instep crampons to be safe. 


The easy ascent line is to the south of the summit block near the col.  The ascent of the summit block is a very steep slog up crappy scree covered rock to a break in the short cliff band that guards the summit.  There is a very minor amount of exposure near the beginning of the steep part of the summit block ascent which isn’t really a concern as a slip would have to very major to fall off the mountain.


The view is great, after all this is a 10,000 foot peak.  The summit cairn contains the old and new centennial register and the summit area houses an antenna/repeater of some sort. I spent a substantial amount of time on the summit and on the scree slopes looking at fossils.  I was very fortunate that the storm cells missed the mountain and allowed me to putter away and enjoy myself… except for the knee pounding on descent.


Halfway up the mountain, Reads Tower to the right and the summit in the distance (taken on descent).


Looking back from the gap between Reads Tower and the slabs (taken on descent).


Reads Tower looking tough.


At the summit looking back down the south face, the ascent route comes up here.


Alien space garbage messing with the view.


Ready for a quick descent?