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Freedom of the Hills...

Door Jamb/Loder
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Date:                                                    July 26, 2006

Participants:                                          Author and Ryan

Distance:                                              Est. 8.5 for loop

Elevation Gain:                                     Est. 800m for Loder

Maximum Elevation:                             Est. 2100m for Loder

Elapsed Time:                                       2:45

Published Routes:                                 None

Published Rating:                                  None

Difficulty - Endurance:                          3

Difficulty - Technical:                            3 (ridge crest 3.5 in a few spots)


I did this trip a couple months earlier, but like so many other times, I did not bring my camera.  This time we did it as an after work outing to which this mountain is ideally suited being close to Calgary, right at the roadside and quite reasonable in terms of distance and elevation gain.  I believe that this little outing was not placed into any guidebook to keep it reasonably pristine.  If more people knew about this it would be packed on any given summer day as it is far superior to Heart Mountain which lies southwest across Hwy 1.


The best part about this mountain is the rock quality which is outstanding limestone and not the never-ending rubble that most scrambles are plagued by in the Rockies.  This scramble would probably be rated moderate if it were in Kane’s book.  It is a bit more technical than Heart Mountain and has a couple of moderately interesting parts that can be avoided by some zigzagging over the ridge (which is probably more painful than just climbing straight up the ridge crest).  Generally speaking, avoidance of the moderate parts can be accomplished by  traveling up on the west side of the slabs and then crossing the ridge crest to do the remainder of the scramble on the east side of the ridge.


Although there are no pictures here of the extension to Loder Peak, it consists of basically a second class trail from Door Jamb’s flat summit across a fairly broad ridge to a brief scree slog then to Loder’s cairned and register bearing summit (Door Jamb has no register).  There is also an optional descent to Jura Creek from Loder’s summit that involves a crappy rubble covered down climb that can be tricky if tackled from the high point of the ridge crest north of Loder.  The strategy I took was to descend about 50 meters and then over the obstacle, doing the down climb as a down sloping traverse.  The rock is loose and crappy (what a surprise) and, depending on where you cut across can be a bit problematic.  A couple of RM Ramblers that were crossing this at the same time I was said that it was harder than anything on Temple… if that is true then Temple must be a very easy technical climb (one day I shall find out). The hike out to Jura Creek is second class but involves a bit of bushwhacking.  All in all I’d suggest avoiding this descent and just going back down Door Jamb to sample more of the wonderful rock.  Having said that, Jura Creek and the false fault are interesting to see…



The summit of Door Jamb as seen from low on the ascent ridge.


The slabs mid-ridge.  If you have shoes with good grip, you keep your weight centered and you avoid any ball bearing scree, you can treat this as second class terrain and walk up and down it. The angle of the slabs, for the most part, is right on the edge of this being possible...


More of the terrain mid-ridge... look at that rock!  Does it make you "randy baby, ya!"


Higher on the ridge.  Coming up to the "crux" in the center of the picture.


The "crux" of sorts... well only if you are under 6 feet tall.  There is an akward move or two to get to some footholds.  If I were standing there the weakness in the rock would be about lower chest level.  You may have to smear a foot hold or two to get up. [Ryan 6'3" had no problems, I, 5'10" had to smear!]


Looking back down the ridge.


The slabs go 5th class near the summit, but the route goes over the ridge crest so no need to worry.


At the summit looking west.


Loder Peak.  Despite appearances, the trail to Loder is only 2nd class with a few very short sections that may approach extremely easy 3rd class (much easier than the ridge ascent of Door Jamb).