Mt. Engadine is a prominent peak sandwiched between Mt. Buller to the north and the Tower to the south. It offers a short (but difficult) approach from the Spray Lakes Road and presents a beautiful unobstructed view of the Spray Lakes throughout the entire climb.

My partners for this day were my friends Momoe and Rie. Momoe had accompanied me on some scrambles before but this would be her first difficult scramble. Rie's only scramble to date was Mt. St. Piran. :)

Judging by the lack of trails and cairns on this peak, Mt. Engadine seemed to be a mountain which saw very little in terms of ascents... which was a little strange considering the activity along the Buller Pass trail.

Maybe it had something to do with what a hiker told me as I was studying the mountain from the Buller pass trailhead. "You're out of your freakin mind ! Good Luck ! ", said the hiker as she quickly dissapeared into the forest.

I guess Engadine did look a little menacing from the road that day. It's steep rockface and prominent ridge stuck out from the treeline like a sore thumb while its summit mass was covered in bands of white. I wondered to myself if I was really out of my freakin mind when my partners urged me to hurry up.

After hiking the Buller Pass for about 10 minutes, we came across a bridge which crossed over to the left. Instead of crossing it and gaining unnecessary elevation, we decided to start the bushwhack from that point by angling up and to the right. Since we were only able to see the ridge for maybe 10% of the time, I ended up using a compass to find a bearing to the leftmost part of the ridge. The image to the left shows you the ground we covered to get to the base of the ridge. The trailhead is located near the pond in the upper left corner.

Upon arriving at the base of the ridge, we quickly realized that there were no trails or cairns to guide us to the crest of the ridge - a true testament to the few freakin people who scramble up this peak. I ended up picking what I thought was a weakness in the rockbands as I scrambled up to the proper ridge. The line I took was obviously off-route since it involved some 5th class moves. Momoe and Rie were probably wondering if they bit off more than they could chew but I assured them that we'd take a different route down. Well, the proper one at least.

The scramble up the ridge never felt dangerous but was definitely sustained. Some sections of the ridge were a little exposed but there always seemed to be a detour to the left or right which gave gave way to an easier section which bypassed these exposed areas. The only section which had to be bypassed without question was the the very last overhang which signaled the start of the scree. As a safety precaution, I did bring along some rock pro, a half rope and some harnesses but I never had to use them. As you can see to the left, the ridge isn't too steep or too narrow - at least near the start.

Unlike some mountains which force you to slog up endless amounts of scree for a few minutes of scrambling, Engadine forces you to do the exact opposite. The last 200m of elevation gain was done on a scree slope which (like all scree slopes) was a pain in the ass. Fortunately, the right side of the slope had some slabs which made the progress a little easier.

Once at the top, it was a simple 5 minute ridge walk to the cairn - which had no summit register ! We spent a total of maybe 1 minute at the top before heading back down.

Momoe (in the blue) and Rie stand on the summit of Engadine. The image to the right shows the ridge which we ascended. If you look carefully, you can see me standing near the overhang.

For the return, we decided to descend to the forest using one of the gullies instead of downclimbing the ridge. The Spray River road looked very far from the ridge but the thing which sealed our decision was the wind. The wind was very strong that day and nearly picked me on at least one ocassion. It also made any conversation nearly impossible.

We started by descending the main gully which was basically an extension of the final scree slope we ascended. The gully wasn't too steep but we soon noticed that there was a waterfall at the end. Although we couldn't see if it was just a simple rockstep or an actual waterfall, we decided to play it safe as we traversed to the next gully over. The second gully was a little too steep for our liking so we eventually traversed and descended the third.

The image to the left is that of the main gully.

Once we reached the treeline, I used my compass once more to set a direct bearing to the Spray River road as we started our final bushwhack. Surprisingly enough, the bushwhack wasn't bad at all. The trees were spread out evenly and the moss-like surface gave our knees an excellent cushion for the descent. We all let out a sigh of relief when we came to the Spray River road. A quick 10 minute walk led us to our car which promptly took us to the Grizzly Paw in Canmore where we celebrated our difficult scramble with a Buffalo Burger. :)