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An Ascent of Hillcrest Mountain (and traverse of Hastings Ridge)
Timestamp Free: 2020.10.22 - 05:52:37
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 671m
Participants: Rick Collier; Mardy Roberts
Difficulty: 2: Easy -- approach is mostly on an old exploration road, then some steep slopes leading to the crest of the ridge, with some scree and occasional bush
The high point on Hillcrest Mt. provides a good conditioning hike for those in the Crowsnest area and permits access to further and longer ridge walks of various difficulty
An old access/exploration road follows the unnamed creek on its right-hand (true left) side along the S end of Hillcrest Mt. and then steadily climbs up the N-trending valley on the massif's W side, with one large switchback, to a col (6150') between Hillcrest and an unnamed E outlier of Hastings Rdg (to the W) -- this 4.2 km approach is a nice trot through increasingly open and old-growth forest.

Unfortuntely it's a less pleasant ascent for 950' up the W side of Hillcrest to its apex - a dirt bike high-marking scar starts things off, then some steep side-hill climbing, followed by considerable unstable rock bashing.

However, the effort is well worth it since there are good views from the summit of Turtle Mt. to the N, Byron Hill and the prairies to the E, and the divide peaks to the SW. Maverick and Cherry Hills, along with McCarty and other peaks of the Castle region were clearly visible, as well. Particularly striking was the major summit of the area, Crowsnest Peak (See Crowsnest Mt).

The col from which the final push to the summit of Hillcrest begins is also the start of a lengthy traverse over to Hastings Ridge and then SE to its high point. One could also ramble over to Willoughby Ridge or along the exploration road to the back side of Turtle Mt.

Mardy and I actually followed the crest of Hastings SE (which is not listed in Bivouac) as our return route from Hillcrest; here is an account of that traverse:

After a tedious and somewhat unpleasant descent back to Hillcrest col, we took shelter under a fir while it rain and hailed for half an hour. We then thought we might have a try for the high point on Hastings Ridge; the problem here is that there are four bumps on this ridge, each of which possessing a neraly identical elevation on...

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