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BowCrow - Southwest Slopes
Timestamp Free: 2020.11.23 - 23:09:14
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Wapta Icefield
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Participant: Graeme Pole 1995.07.19

The ascent of this peak was a great mountain adventure. From the Hector Lake trailhead on the Icefields Parkway (51:34.7-116:18.5) I lugged my kayak to the Bow River. After loading, pack, ice axe, and crampons into the craft, I put in on the Bow. Despite scouting a few sections, I nearly came to grief on a root-plate strainer just before the river discharged me into Hector Lake. I spooked an osprey that had been perched on a driftwood snag. It circled me as if in disbelief, and then winged off to the south. The lake was flat calm. I paddled the 5.5 km across to the Balfour Creek delta (51:35.6-116:23.9) in about an hour. I hauled out the kayak and fitted myself for hiking and climbing.

I followed the north bank of Balfour Creek to the tributary stream at 51:35.7-116:25.0. There were tracks of grizzly bears and mountain goats in the glacial mud. En route, I stopped to inspect and to photograph the terminus of Balfour Glacier on the headwall beneath Mt. Balfour. These observations were included in an article, "Tributaries," which appeared in the 1997 Canadian Alpine Journal.

I ascended north on the shintangle slopes beside the tributary - very steep - to gain the hanging valley southwest of BowCrow Peak. The valley has the characteristic terraces and moraines of recent glaciation, but, being south-facing, now lacks the glacier. It was an easy ramble to the southwest slopes of the peak, which were ascended on snow, boulders, and screes.

The summit provides an interesting perspective on the upper Bow Valley. It was cairned. I left a register. Rumour has it that parties have skied to this peak from Crowfoot Glacier. I shudder.

I returned the same way, carrying the kayak from the Hector Lake campground to the highway,...

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