Mount Tyrwhitt

Featured photo of Mount Tyrwhitt

Mount Tyrwhitt is part of the Elk Range and is located on the continental divide (re: Mount Isabelle, Storm Mountain and Mount Bosworth), therefore, on the border of Alberta and British Columbia as well as Kananaskis Provincial Park (encompassing over 4,000 square kilometers of foothills and mountains bordering Banff National Park) and British Columbia public lands in the Canadian Rockies. Mount Tyrwhitt was officially named n 1918 after a WWI Admiral, common for the mountains in this region. Tyrwhitt was first ascended by the legendary Canadian climber Conrad Kain along with Westmorland and Campbell in 1914.

Mount Tyrwhitt’s elevated start at Highwood Pass (7239’) and approach through golden Larches make it one of the most scenic short routes in the Canadian Rockies. Adding to its popularity is a most unique natural arch feature called the “Window” found on its east ridge. The only published route up Tyrwhitt is the moderate scramble and this route takes you right by this feature. You can schedule this scramble for a short day and return on the east ridge, but I highly recommend combining it with a traverse over to Mount Pocaterra and descend the route from there making it a true cirque. You are treated to great views of the Height of Rockies group, including Mount Joffre to the west as well as the Misty Range of Mount Rae, Storm Mountain and Mount Arethusa to the east.

Getting There

Take the Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40) exit off of the Trans-Canada Highway between Calgary and Canmore. Drive to the Highwood Pass day parking area at 7239’ (Highwood Pass Interpretive Trail) and park. Restrooms are at this location. Kananaskis Trail is closed from December 1 through June 15, and I do mean with a gate. The closure is at Kings Creek (Canyon), meaning no access to any of the Highwood area mountains prior to June 15th.

In my opinion, this Highwood Pass area serves up the most scenic and accessible high alpine foliage in all of the Canadian Rockies.

Red Tape

There are no permit requirements to enter, climb and/or park in Kananaskis Provincial Park. This is active grizzly country however. Take bear spray. As of July, 2005, we have current trail closures in this area of Kananaskis due to a mountain lion (protecting its kill) and grizzly with cubs (bluff charge). Therefore it is prudent to check recent notices posted on the bulletin board outside of park headquarters which you drive by on Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail). If they are open, check in with the ranger staff, they have tons of beta and are always friendly.

When To Climb

As with most climbs in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. I climbed Mount Tyrwhitt in September and the route was free of snow. There are no published backcountry ski routes on Mount Tyrwhitt, nor would I suspect this to be a mountain worth skiing.

Camping

The closest camping is a backcountry site at Elbow Lake, 1.3 km in on Big Elbow Trail back north a few kilometers off of Hwy 40. There are tons of camping options further north at Kananaskis Lakes. You cannot camp outside of the marked specific camping areas in Kananaskis. Refer to the Kananaskis Provincial Park website for more information regarding camping and/or lodging.

Mountain Conditions

The Kananaskis Provincial Park website is a very thorough park website, including trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices, weather conditions, avalanche conditions, camping permits, whitewater conditions, etc. It is an excellent source if you are going to spend any time here and comparable to any National Park website I have used. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association is also useful, particularly for winter travel.

Elevation (feet): 9,429
Elevation (meters): 2,874
Continent: North America
Country: Canada
Range/Region: Canadian Rockies
Province: Alberta/British Columbia
Latitude: 50.582
Longitude: -115.015
Difficulty: Scramble
Year first climbed: 1914
First successful climber(s): Conrad Kain along with Westmorland and Campbell
Nearest major airport: Calgary
Convenient Center: Canmore, AB

Thanks to Craig Knelsen for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 4 trip reports for Mount Tyrwhitt.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #20967 - by Martin Hedén on Aug 21, 2007
    Very nice and fairly easy scramble up to Mt Tyrwhitt. The ridgewalk to Mt Pocaterra is also very nice but quite exposed and technical in the end. It is definently on the more difficult side of Kane's...
  • Log #19160 - by Dow Williams on Nov 14, 2006
    This is a 2500’+/- ascent day (accumulated elevation gain on the traverse is considerably more due to lost and regained elevation). Mount Tyrwhitt itself is a short moderate scramble, the Pocaterra...
  • Log #20029 - by Darrel & Steven Heidebrecht on Aug 08, 2006
    My son and I made it to the rock arch in 1993 when he was 11 years old. Now, 13 years later, he dragged his father to the summit!! Unfortunately, the clear sky was hampered with rather heavy smoke...
  • Log #13744 - by Craig Knelsen on Feb 21, 2000
    See my web site for trip report and several photos.