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Ascent of the NE Ridge of Sundance Peak
Timestamp Free: 2017.12.13 - 15:36:02
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Sundance Range
Participants: Christine Grotefeld, Steve Tober, Rick Collier
Difficulty: 5: Steep snow to ridge; moderate to difficult and exposed scrambling on ridge (to 5.4)
This is a description of a possible second ascent of Sundance Peak by its original 1951 route.
Sundance Peak (9520' & 2900m) has a number of historical and topographical peculiarities attached to it. In the first place, it is often not considered as a distinct peak in and of itself, but as merely the high point (GR 975599 on 82 O/4 - Banff)on the long and distinct Sundance Ridge that "stretches for almost twenty-four kilometres from E of Allenby Pass, NNW to the Bow River" (Green Guidebook of the Southern Rockies, 178). The Turbulent/Fortune massif forms the E side of the ridge's southern-most end and the Allenby/Mercer/Cone massif the W; its northern-most end is found in the crook between Highway #1, the Bow River, and the Sunshine Road. It is bounded on the E by Sundance Canyon and (further S) by the Spray River; on the W, Brewster Creek and then Bryant Creek form the boundary. This range, which averages 3000'-4000' elevation differential from the surrounding river valleys, is remarkable for possessing no passes that are practical for traversing from one side to the other; in other words, it is a massive barrier for travel and animal migration from E to W or vice versa.
Secondly, the name of the peak derives of course from the name of the ridge; but the ridge was itself named after Sundance Canyon, Sundance Creek, and Sundance Pass, all three to the N or NE of the ridge. According to Glen Boles in "Place Names of the Canadian Alps," it was the pass that acquired the name first since it was rumoured that early in the history of the Rockies "Indian dances and worship . . . occurred in the vicinity of this mountain pass" and the nearby creek (Boles, 321).
Thirdly, through a quirk in Parks' policy it seems possible that ours might well be the second ascent. The first climb up Sundance was made from Sundance Canyon, the drainage N and NE of the objective, and...
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