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A Grand Slam W of the Spray Mountains
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.26 - 22:30:08
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Spray Mountains
  (3 days)
Participants: Rick Collier
Difficulty: 2: Easy to moderate scrambling
This is a description of a three-day solo trip into a little-visited area of the southern Rockies that afforded the chance to climb three easily ascended peaks.
Although I am now used to doing a fair bit of solo mountaineering, along with solitary 3-5 day backpacks, the first time I attempted a multi-day trip on my own was way back in 1985, and I must confess to experiencing long periods of anxiety (bad bears were, of course, lurking everywhere!) interspersed with moments of exhilaration. It was on this initial three-day trip that I realized just how much fun it could be to be in the mountains making all your own mistakes, solving all the problems, and being completely responsible for one's own safety.

With that as a prelude, let me recommend this early trip to alpinists who want a relatively easy and safe experience of exploring and climbing alone in the southern Rockies - of course, there's nothing to prevent groups from following my suggestions, but there remains for me something about this trip that seems to be ideal for the solo adventurer. The other reward of this trip is that it affords the climber the opportunity to ascend three little-visited peaks that are relatively easy to get up but which are not included in any of the scrambler's guides.

The three peaks of which I am speaking lie just to the SW of the better known peaks of the Spray Mountains - Shark, Smuts, and Birdwood - across the wide Spray River Valley: Mt. Leval (9050'/2760m), Mt. Vavasour (9250'/2820m), and Mt. Warre (9050'/2755m). There are three ways to access these peaks - the most familiar would be to follow the trail from the Burstall Lakes area across N Burstall Pass and drop down into the Spray Valley, where one would intersect with the Spray River trail and hike back N; the second and shortest approach would be to drive around to the Radium Highway and Settlers' Road, eventually accessing the Albert River Road, and hiking up to Leman Lake,...

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