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Freedom of the Hills...

Lawrence Grassi
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Date:                                                    October 1, 2006

Participants:                                          Author and Antri Z.

Distance:                                              9.5 km

Elevation Gain:                                     Approx. 1050m

Maximum Elevation:                             Est. 2700

Elapsed Time:                                      Approx. 5 hours

Published Routes:                                 Kane

Published Rating:                                  Moderate

Difficulty - Endurance:                          4.5

Difficulty - Technical:                            2.5, short spots of 3


Second attempt on this peak and success this time.  In the early spring I had attempted this peak solo and was stopped by extreme snow and wind.  The snow, mid-chest in some spots,  was so deep on my first attempt that I ended up doing a fair amount of crawling.  I probably made it 2/3rds of the way up before exhaustion and massive winds turned me around.   This time conditions were perfect and we had no trouble whatsoever reaching the summit.


When Antri had contacted me about climbing something during the week I had suggested a few easier routes thinking that we’d be encountering winter conditions (see my last two trips).  However, by the time we made it into Canmore it was apparent that the mountains had, by and large, reverted back to summer mode.  Nevertheless, we prepared for L. Grassi so we went for it.


I’ve stated this before but the correct ascent line, easiest in terms of bushwhacking, is somewhat confusing to locate.  All you have to remember is to avoid the blue flagging that you initially spot walking along the waterway (ruined cairn near the blue flagging) and continue for a couple more minutes to a very large dry drainage complete with a large cairn and several rubble mounds.  Take a left and follow the rubble for about 10-15 minutes until you spot a cairn and a well defined trail cutting up to the ridge on your left.  This will be in a spot where the drainage narrows, just before some cliffs on the left.  After that it is simply a matter of following the trail and flagging to tree line and then making directly for the summit.


This route is not really a true scramble and is more of a steep hike (there is very little, if any hand use.)  The only tricky part is a narrower slabby section just before the true summit that is covered in ball bearing scree.  Although not really exposed, this section may pose difficulties when icy or snow covered as even a short glissade over the icy slabs could result in a serious fall.  Therefore I do not recommend this trip in winter conditions.  Had I made it to the slabs on my first attempt I would likely have retreated.


Kane’s lower summit appears as a large rocky outcropping when viewed from the ascent ridge.  It may appear somewhat formidable from below but when viewed from the higher and true register bearing summit it is merely a few moves of short 3rd class rock with some exposure.  Antri went up a few feet on it and didn’t think too much of it.  I didn’t even bother.


Looking back at the summit and nub (taken on descent).  The rock mass in the middle of the pictrue is, what appears to be, a very difficult obstacle between Ha Ling and Grassi.  It can be traversed but register enteries indicate low 5th class climbing and route finding difficulties.


The false summit and nub as seen from mid-ridge.  The true summit lies a few dozen meters behind the mound left of the nub and, by most accounts, is the higher and true summit of L. Grassi.  It houses the summit cairn and register. 


At mid-ridge Antri sticks to the crest while a trail exists to the right.


Antri climbs some slabby bits.  The ridge narrows a bit up ahead and goes over scree covered slabs.  Although relatively easy, this becomes the "crux" of sorts.


Antri drops to the col between the summit and the nub.


Antri climbs back off the nub.


Looking back down the ridge.


Antri sticks to the ridge crest on descent and enjoys the view.