Mount Rae Trip Report (#11380)
- Signed By: Craig Knelsen
- Date submitted: April 01, 2000
As I prepared to start my ascent, a bear warning indicated a grizzly sow with cubs was in the area. I ended up encountering this sow with two cubs on July 31 when I summitted Mt. Tyrwhitt. I followed the Ptarmigan cirque trail as it crosses highway 40 and makes it strenuous approach to the cirque through enclosed forest. The grade and forest finally relents with the cirque and open ground unfolding before you. I walked to the rear of the cirque by following a spur trail around a leftward bend towards the lower ascent up the cirque. The high point you see at this point is not the summit but a massive gendarme. The trail guide suggests plodding up the scree gully to the col but snow still completely covered the gully. I decided to ascend rotting slabs beside the snow as I didn't have an ice axe with me. Frequent hand and foot holds were required and there were a few tense moments. After reaching the very narrow col, the summit presents itself in the distance. Fortunately, there was no need to circle around the large gendarme on the ridge as the north slopes below were essentially free of snow. I descended to scree/rotting cliff bands using one of the discernible paths below the massive gendarme. There seems to be numerous possible routes at this point to the airy summit ridge. I decided to angle towards the summit ridge and wait until I was quite close to the summit (distance wise). A prime route appeared beside a yellow spotted pinnacle on the summit ridge. A good scramblers route here was easily followed. Once on the narrow summit ridge (maybe 4-6ft at most), careful progress was required with the added complication of a several thousand foot drop on the east (right) side. In windy conditions this could be quite an unnerving experience! A register is located in the summit cairn. While the summit is fairly flat, there is not a lot of maneuvering room. The register indicated that I was only the fourth party to reach the summit this year. The glissade down the snowfields in the gully below the col was great fun. Mt. Rae is the highest point I have ascended in the Canadian Rockies thus far. If you are interested in photos, send me e-mail and I'll direct you to the web page.