Mt. Rae is a large peak which is easily accessible via the Ptarmigan cirque hiking trail. It's relatively close to the road and involves only a 1000m of elevation gain. With that being said, it also happens to be the 4th highest peak in the Scrambles guidebook so it's no wonder it's such a popular mountain.

On this day, my partners Toru and Kazumi were a little concerned about the snow cover this peak had received during the previous 48hrs. I was desperate to climb this peak and luckily for me, I was able to capture someone standing on the ridge with my 60x zoom.

This seemed to ease their concerns as they agreed to at least check out the route.

This was our second attempt - more on this later.


For some reason, I didn't take a picture until we reached the ridge so here's a picture of the trail to Ptarmigan Cirque taken on our first attempt. The trail is very well marked and probably sees at least 100 people a day.



Here's another shot from our first attempt.

The trail passes the cirque and makes its way towards the ridge in the distance. The scree isn't as bad as it looks thanks to the well used trail.


Here's a look back.

Kazumi seemed a little dissapointed that there was no snow on this section. She was secretly hoping that we'd turn around due to excessive snow and go back to Calgary for some beers.

After reaching the ridge, I noticed someone coming up behind us at a blistering pace. Kazumi yelled out, "It's Yuji!" and surely enough, it was our other partner Yuji.

We told him we'd be climbing Mt. Rae the previous evening but we never expected him to show up - let alone meet up with us since we left Calgary at a leisurely 11:30am.


The summit of Mt. Rae is located to the far left along the upper ridge.

We decided to follow the ridge all the way to the summit since it'd eliminate having to walk on snow.

The ridge is fairly straightforward but as you can see, there's a fairly large pinnacle which blocks the path. We went around to the right on our first attempt so we decided to do that again since we knew what was involved.


Here's Kazumi and Toru coming up towards the top of the pinnacle.


The normal route is to come straight up through this little "tunnel".

This is as far as we got last time as one of our partners knocked loose a large rock which hit another one of my partners in the face. Needless to say, we were forced to retreat at that time.

Upon reaching the top of this chute, Yuji and I noticed that there was too much ice to safely make it to the top. Because of that, we asked Toru and Kazumi to climb up and over this chute.


It's pretty obvious that both of them are not afraid of heights. The exposure was a lot greater going around but at least there was no chance of slipping on ice.

Kazumi has her hand on a huge rock which is wedged in quite tightly. It probably weighs around 500lbs and I'd hate to see the damage that it'd cause if it fell loose.


After negotiating the pinnacle, it was mostly a ridge walk to the summit. It did get a little narrow in some sections but I decided to continue along the crest instead of walking along the snow.


Here's a look back towards the ridge from the summit.


Here's Yuji with the register in hand. Snow covered Storm mountain and Mist mountain can be seen just behind him.

Yuji took off like a madman shortly after I took this photo. He said his wife and kids were waiting at the parking lot below. He apparently told them that he was going to take a quick look at the peak and that he'd be back shortly.


Finally, here's a shot from the return route. Going down the snow covered-loose rock wasn't too bad but we were glad we didn't go up this route.

We finally arrived at the parking lot shortly after 8pm and made our way to the Bighorn Lounge in Kananaskis village for some beers , ribs and steak sandwiches.

This marked my 45th scramble to date from the guidebook and I have to admit that this peak is definitely amongst my top 3 so far. I'm sure I'll be back for a 3rd time next year.