Elevation of 775 m NET, 890 m TOT & max 2942 m (2912 m officially)
3 to 6 hours
*** GPS TRACK: Our track up the ridge and to the summit is fine. Our descent was though extremely dangerous and therefore not recommended. If you go down the same way, you are on your own and need dry/free of snow gullies and slabs.
This was one of the most challenging scramble we’ve done so far. The crux is very interesting with a down climb of 3-4 steps to an unstable tiny platform of rocks with great exposure on both sides. At that point, it involves going down a long and exposed chimney. The descent can be extremely hazardous if going down the slabby terrain under the summit. It requires excellent route finding and climbing skills. Otherwise, return the same way.
From the parking, there’s an obvious trail up to the valley for a very short approach of 15 minutes or less. Once in the valley, you will be able to assess your ascent as you will see Mount Arethusa with its long ridge on your left. We stayed on the trail and went upstream on the right side of the creek until we got to a small drainage. We gained just a few metres of elevation and cut straight left towards a large notch on Arethusa ridge, following a decent trail. We scrambled up to the notch and then directly on it to start our ridge walk. We stayed on the ridge as much as we could, until we got to the narrow section leading to the crux. That’s where you’ll see the chimney you have to down climb. It involved down climbing 3-4 steps and then down the chimney on your right, towards the summit. This is quite impressive and exposed. We thought it was one of the most interesting crux we’ve ever done so far. The ridge walk to the summit from there is quite obvious and easy to moderate.
Go back the same way if there’s snow under the summit (slabby and exposed terrain). We didn’t and took hours to go down a narrow, exposed, snowy and sometimes holds free gully. That was definitely not a scramble at that point and we do not recommend going down there if it is not perfectly dry. We also should have gone slightly on the left and scrambled down the slabs rather than going down a narrow and dangerous gully. Route finding skills and time are essential here and make sure you are comfortable climbing down on slabs. Once we finally reached the scree slope at the bottom, we went towards the Little Arethusa trail and eventually back the same way we came.
From Calgary, follow Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W to Kananaskis Trail/AB-40 S. Take exit 118 and start your odometer at the Casino entrance for about 68 km or 1.3 km passed Highwood Pass parking lot. Park on the left side of the road.
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