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Park Mountain Scramble via Biddle Pass
Timestamp Free: 2020.07.14 - 13:16:37
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 1725m
Participants: Anton B, Eric C, Mike M, Vern D
Difficulty: 3: Steep loose gully to Biddle Pass. From here some moderate to difficult scrambling along the east ridge to the summit. Much harder if there's snow or ice on route.
A one day scramble ascent via the Biddle col from the Lake O'Hara parking lot.
I've been eyeing Park Mountain before I knew what it's name was. The first time I hiked up Mount Schaffer I wondered what that nice mountain to the south, across McArthur Lake was and whether or not it was a scramble. Over the years I learned that it was called "Park Mountain" but never did read any detailed online trip reports from anyone who'd done it. Rick Collier briefly mentions that it's "easy" in his trip report from 1987. See The Death Bivouac - Mount Biddle from Lake O'Hara. and David P. Jones rates the Southeast Ridge as "Facile" (easy) and 3rd class - the same rating he gives Mount Schaffer which is a hike. This little bit of beta was enough to convince me that this was a moderate scramble at most.

In a funny twist the trip started as a solo plan and ended up being me and three other guys - Anton Baser, Mike Mitchell and Eric Coulthard. We started from the Lake O'Hara parking lot at 07:30, trying to beat the bus at least half way up the 11km approach road. I have to say that seeing a mouse running around the inside of the car parked next to us was a very strange way to start the day. I still don't know how the heck it would have gotten in there but that driver was in for a mighty big surprise at some point after their return!

It's obvious, but walking the 11km approach road definitely adds some effort to the day, no matter what your objective in the Lake O'Hara region might be. That being said, it always surprises me how many folks let a little thing like 11km and 450m of height gain scare them off from the most beautiful area in the Rockies. It took us under 2 hours to walk the approach road. Mentally I didn't acknowledge this first part of the day as a part of the scramble. I find that ignoring the first long, boring sections on long days...

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