Panorama Ridge

Elevation: 2800 m
Elevation Gain: 1000 m
Panorama Ridge’s name is entirely logical; once you’re soaking in the view on top of it. The peak was officially named in 1959 for this very reason.
My Ascents:
July 7 2011

With the Stampede in full swing in Calgary, I was looking forward to having the mountains to myself. Little did I know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be milling about (more on that later). After a main-range peak test drive up Mount Fairview a couple of days earlier, I was convinced that the smaller objectives in the Lake Louise area would be in scrambling shape thanks to the hot July weather. As a result, I set my eyes on Panorama Ridge eager to see if it would live up to its name – spoiler alert: it does!

I haven’t been to Consolation Lakes since I was a little boy and I had forgotten how stunning the view is! Bident (left) and Quadra Mountains behind Consolation Lakes, shortly after a very brisk ford across Babel Creek.

The only spider web in the forest that I did not manage to walk through while bushwhacking.

When Kane says ascend the avalanche gully, he means grind your way up this evil slog where one is highly likely to run into grizzlies.

What looks like a waterfall is, in fact, a steady avalanche. It continued largely uninterrupted for the better part of an hour making for a very noisy ascent!

The sexy north face of Mount Quadra.

Avalanche much? The base of Mount Quadra.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? A helicopter circles the area in the early afternoon. Later on, the news mentioned that Will and Kate had spent the previous night at the Skoki Lodge before taking a helicopter tour of the area today.

The Fay glacier clinging to the north face of Mount Fay.

Avalanche! A common sight (and sound) on this day. Snow sweeps down Mount Babel.

Finally on the ridge! This view of Consolation Lakes is my reward for a TEDIOUS ascent. It was one of those days where I found myself looking at my altimeter every 30 seconds hoping that the grind was over.

Finally on the ridge top, I’m greeted with this view of Castle Mountain across the Bow Valley.

The summit within striking distance...unfortunately travel was deceptively slow in the unsteady boulder field that is that summit ridge.

Some summits have a cairn; others have random debris. Either way this is the 16th notch in my 2011 belt.

Panorama Ridge living up to its name. Click to see larger.

Beautiful Bident, Quadra and Babel.

Enjoying the view!

The noisy giant, Mount Temple. Avalanches perpetually swept the south face all afternoon. This photo should give you an idea as to where most of the debris from these piled up.

Double avalanche on Temple. They became so commonplace that I ended up ignoring most of them once the initial novelty wore off.

The summit of Temple. Lots of cornices failing up there in the hot July sun.

The Black Towers on Temple’s east face; a major obstacle for those attempting to climb by this aspect.

Wenkchemna Pass.

Wenkchemna Pass closer up. From left to right: Mount Biddle (in Yoho), Mount Hungabee, and Eiffel Peak.

The Ten Peaks and I.

The continuation of Panorama Ridge. Add pinnacles and exposure to the unsteady boulder field. No thanks. Highway 93 peaks in the background.

Storm Mountain over Highway 93.

The smooth ice cap of Mount Ball.

Looking north towards Mount Daly and the southernmost reaches of the icefields. Point Mount Balfour in the background.

Mount Tuzo and the Deltaform.

Looking down at the Tower of Babel. I had originally intended to complete Panorama Ridge and the Tower of Babel as a two'fer today but, by the time I got back down, the afternoon sun had taken its toll and I opted for the air conditioning in my car instead!

Pilot Mountain.

Cloudier skies over Banff and Mount Rundle.


Upper Consolation Lake and Mount Quadra. Can't get enough of this view!

Consolation Lakes gleaming in the afternoon sun.

It may not look like much from up here, but fording that ice cold outlet stream sucks. I was definitely not looking forward to it as I started to make my way back down!

Pinnacle photo op on descent.

Too much time on my hands: mastering the self timer on my camera with this timed glissade shot!

I may have accidentally stepped on a few of these.

...and these.


The view of Consolation Lakes has to be one of the best for the least effort in the Rockies. Only 3 km and under 100 m elevation gain. Yet still, the trail is deserted 100 feet beyond the tour bus crowds at Moraine Lake *sigh*.

Heading back down the valley to Moraine Lake. Probably a couple avalanches in progress on Temple if you look closely enough.

Looking back at Panorama Ridge and Consolation Lakes.

When I showed her my photos later this evening, Brianne asked me if this was a beaver...

Marmot Beaver love.

A postcard-worthy view of Moraine Lake to cap off a day filled with post-card worthy views!