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A Triad of Eleven-Thousanders: Alberta, Woolley, Diadem # 15182

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Date: 2011.08.20
Vantage Point: Summit of Mount McDonald

Caption: Mount Alberta, Mount Woolley, Diadem Peak

PhotoDescr: See entries for Lonely Peak for the days preceding this part of my journal:

On the 19th we packed up all our gear and ambled up toward Red Rock Pass, taking the right turn to the high col we had explored during our ascent of the two peaks of Lonely. Mucho scree skiing to get down on the S side, but then into meadows populated with large numbers of ungulates. At the base of Francis Peak and our intersection with McDonald Creek, we turned right and hiked in light bush (but very warm temperatures) upstream along Micky D Crk for several km before camping on bench not far from the southeast ridge of McDonald.

On August 20 David and I hiked northwest up the valley we had camped in the night before, then scrambled up a dry drainage to the crest of a long ridge that wraps around northwest and north to abut against McDonald. Once on the crest, we traversed southeast and scrambled up a substantial, subsidiary summit (Peak 2940m at GR 045-968).

After surmounting this minor apex, we continued our traverse of the ridge to the northwest - about 1.5 kilometres - eventually climbing up to the summit of an unnamed peak at the join between the southeast/northwest ridge and the southwest/northeast ridge.

Then down to the col just below the summit cone of McDonald, with some scrambling and route-finding to make it interesting.

There followed one of the longest scree bags I've ever been on - one plateau and col after another, finished off by an execrably loose scree slope.

Finally on the summit, we had good views all around and found the original bolts from the survey party.

On the way back, we traversed the upper portion of the bowl above the azure lake to the east in order not to have to re-ascend the summit at the join of the two ridges.

On August 21 and early in the morning, we climbed the scree of the west end of this minor peak, and then traversed almost two kilometres to its summit at the east end - an excellent post-prandial excursion!

Then back to camp to pack up; we hiked across the upper reaches of the valley we were camped in and crossed a high col above the Brazeau River, to which we then descended in high winds.

Here we picked up the Brazeau Lake trail and followed it to the bridge across the river and then further southwest to Four Point Campground, where we spent the night.

The following day we hiked over Nigel Pass and out to the truck waiting patiently on the Banff-Jasper Highway - about 15 kilometres in a little over four hours.

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