Well, the previous week I’d run/hiked to the top of Mt. Albert Edward and back – a total distance of around 32 km. I had considered adding on the side-loop that would go over Castle Crag Mountain and Mount Frink as well – but after receiving some advice that the navigation was pretty tough on this loop, I decided to bypyass it. That day. But this week, I was back!
Other than this first shot, all the pix were taken on my phone, so they are not that great. And then my phone died before I made my first summit. Stupid thing. Anyway, the pix still give a good idea of how my day went… (which is, very well!)
Wow, mountains look really big from far away! You can see much of today’s route in this shot. I’d be going straight ahead from here, then around to the left (out of the photo) first in front of and then around the back side of Castle Crag Mtn (the dark one on the far left of the pic). Then along that first ridge that is kind of behind a tree, then up the summit of Mt. Frink – the rounded peak left of centre. Then down Mt. Frink via the ridge, continuing to the right, past that snow patch, and back up on to Albert Edward’s eastern ridge (behind the tree in the centre of the photo), bypassing the summit of Al-Ed, but traversing the ridgeline in front of that summit to the low point (in front of the next snow patch) then descending and returning via the same trail I’m on in this photo. I haven’t measured it, but I think it’s something like 35 km.
And that’s when my phone died! I had charged it the night before, and had it on power-saving. Apparently they use more juice at altitude? I don’t know, I should have just carried a camera, and got better pictures – for the whole route.
So anyway, from Castle Crag I followed a ridgeline and worked my way up Mt. Frink. Navigating the ridge was mostly easy… but then as you go up the flanks of Mt. Frink it gets harder to know where to go – some cairns, and lots of places with no navigational signs in between: over rock, talus, alpine meadow. At one point I was just considering turning back and retracing my steps to get out, when I came across a weathered wooden sign saying “Keep going.” Phew, finally some guidance – so I did!
Mount Frink is really open, so then you just kind of wander up the scree slopes, trying to pick which of the summits is the “real” summit (there always seems to be one over there that is a bit higher than the one you are on). I finally got it, and had good views towards Albert Edward and the route I would need to take to get there. I was REALLY glad I had been on that ridgeline only a week before, so even if there were no route markers at all I knew what I was aiming for – and, once there, how to get back.
There was a bit of a hairy descent from Mt. Frink – I now know to keep left, or you get cliffed out! – but then I made it across to the fairly open ridgeline, with great visibility. And I ended up rejoining the Mt. Albert Edward trail at EXACTLY the place I wanted to – so I was very pleased with that! From there, it was just another four hours or so to get back to the car. All in all, the whole trip took 9.5 hours – mostly power-hiking with a bit of running. A very enjoyable training day! And here’s a link to the Strathcona Provincial Park Forbidden Plateau trails map that shows these routes.