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Molar Mountain, southwest slopes, regular route
Timestamp Free: 2020.02.22 - 04:21:34
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges / Murchison Group
  (1 days)
Participants: Mike Henderson, Cindy Kelly, Graeme Pole
Difficulty: 3: Some bushwacking over fallen trees, bypass cliffs in steep gullies.
A one-day round-trip of an infrequently ascended peak.
The southwest aspect of Molar Mountain is a broad amphitheatre, bordered on the south by Molar Tower, and on the north by the main peak. This amphitheatre is tiered with cliffs - in terms of the geological setting, this is the same cliff/ledge/cliff sequence (Cathedral/Stephen/Eldon formations) that creates the ramparts of Castle Mountain and other, better known castellated Rockies peaks. And as is usually the case, there is a way through the cliffs. In the case of Molar Mountain, it's an easy way.

We did the peak as a day trip from the Icefields Parkway. (We were younger, then!) From the Icefields Parkway (51:36.2-116:18.4), we ascended Hector Creek as for the usual approach to Mt. Hector. Instead of veering south to Hector Glacier, carry on east across Hector Pass (51:36.0-116:15.7). This pass is noteworthy for its tremendous karst formations in the Cathedral limestone. From the pass, descend a delightful streambed, a natural staircase, to Molar Creek. Ford the creek - it's a bit soggy either side of it - pick up the hiking trail (51:36.1-116:13.7) on the opposite bank and head southeast (downstream) for about two kilometres.

Take a good guess as as to where to depart the trail (51:35.7-116:12.2), heading north through forest. We picked a fortunate spot from which to make our foray to treeline - which is low here. The forest we plugged through was an ancient spruce-fir mix with little undergrowth. Most of the downed trees were well past rotten and easy to clamber over. Once out of the trees, grind away into the amphitheatre. Use the gullies on the north (left) side of the amphitheatre to scale the cliffbands to the top (51.37.0-116:11.5). The gullies are not as steep as they look. There's much loose rock in the last gully, so take care. Other than that, it's a...

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