Mount Richardson

Elevation: 3086 m
Elevation Gain: 1350 m from Skoki parking area - 800 m from Hidden Lake.
Mount Richardson was named by James Hector, apparently a fan of Sir John Richardson, in 1859. Sir John Richardson was a Surgeon and naturalist on Franklin's Arctic expeditions of 1819 and 1825. Part of the Slate Range, the first official ascent of the peak was by L.L. Delafield and Edward Feuz Junior in 1911.
My Ascents:
August 1, 2012

At LONG last! Summer vacation! Time to escape my office cage for a week and enjoy the splendor of the Rockies! Of course normal people would plan a relaxing week off. Thank God I’m abnormal! A year ago around this time, Brianne and I put our relationship to the test by sharing the tight, shower-less confines of a tent while back-packing and scrambling our way through the Mount Assiniboine area. We enjoyed it so much, we thought we’d come back for back-packing/scrambling seconds – this time in the Skoki area. After much planning and an amazing birthday surprise from Brianne on the drive out to Skoki, we were ready to strap on those awful heavy packs (note to self: packing in beer is HEAVY) and escape from society for a week. We planned the trip to coincide with my birthday so that I could once again enjoy the privilege of being a year older where I like it best – on top! What Brianne didn’t know was that I had something else planned for this trip. Where better to pop “the question” than, you guessed it, on top! ;)

Awesome views of Mount Victoria across the Bow Valley: our reward for the uninspiring march up the Temple fire road with heavy packs in the hot sun.

Racing to get the tent up before a storm hits at Hidden Lake. We got the tent up a minute or two late but were lucky enough not to end up soaked - for now.

10 minutes later...sunshine and blue skies. And 10 minutes after this photo was taken? Another storm; the beginning of an unfortunate trend...

Gourmet cooking in the rain - at least it kept the mosquitoes at bay!

Spectacular sunset views of Mounts Bident, Quadra and Babel across the Bow Valley.

Day 2 - Our first objective: Mount Richardson (the highest peak in Skoki). Not a cloud in the sky...could this be the perfect day for a summit proposal?

Sublime wild flower display en route to Hidden Lake.

The Boss arriving at Hidden Lake with Mount Richardson behind to the left.

A beautiful place to stop and soak up the sunshine. Pika Peak (left) and Ptarmigan Peak (right) behind the lake.

The south ridge of Mount Richardson grants easy access from Hidden Lake. Our route from here gains the ridge in the background before ascending it to the right. There were no cairns here to mark the route; only marmots.

Cuter than a cairn anyways.

Using a drainage and grassy slopes to gain the ascent ridge. Hidden Lake sparkling in the sun below.

Running into more snow as we gain elevation.

A dozen or so bighorn sheep (stand-up animals) on the ridge. Sadly, they had no interest in saying 'hello' to us.

The goat showing the sheep how to scramble along Mount Richardson's ridge. This was about as "hands-on" as the scrambling got.

Cathedral Mountain and Mount Stephen come into view to the west. Note the increasinly overcast sky. :(

Lush green valleys on the other side of the ridge.

Enjoying the view to the south as the Lake Louise group begins to come into view.

Still a lot of scree to take on. The remainder of the route up Richardson is obvious, however, it is steeper than it appears from this vantage!

Mount Temple dwarfs the Ten Peaks to its left.

Views to the south from the summit: Lake Louise looking like a beautiful blue puddle.

Mounts Hungabee, Abderdeen, Lefroy and Victoria tower above Lake Louise. Note the now complete lack of blue sky.

On the relatively broad and flat summit of Mount Richardson, a series of cairns leads between two high points of indistinguishable elevation difference. I searched high and low, but neither had a summit register. Brianne was perplexed by my searching - I never seemed to care too much about the presence or absence of summit registers before. What she didn't know was that my planned wedding proposal for her involved popping the question in said register. I suppose the engagement would just have to wait for another peak...hopefully a sunnier, warmer one!

Mount Snoopy...errr, I mean Hector.

Merlin Lake (below) and Castilleja Lake pool at the foot of Mount Richardson.

The Wall of Jericho: a free-standing rock fin; although impressive, perhaps it would be more so when not seen from high above.

Back-country summit panorama. Click to see larger. From left to right: Mount Hector (background), Merlin Castle, Merlin and Castilleja Lakes, Skoki Mountain, the Wall of Jericho, Oyster Peak, Fossil Mountain, Mount Douglas (distant), Mount St. Bride (distant) and Pika Peak.*Deep breath*

A distant Mount Assiniboine: site of last year's summer "vacation."

The dying glacier on the north face of Mount Richardson. Pika Peak and the Wall of Jericho beyond.

Summit success...too bad there was no register. ;)

Checking out the ascent route up Pika Peak. The route follows the ridge to the right of the snow patch from the col below. Looks sketchy. Pika Peak is where the cover photo for "Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies" was taken.

Her smile there is genuine, I swear! — with Brianne Christison.

Time to head down! Retreating from a brewing storm, beautiful views of Hidden Lake and Mount Redoubt are our companions on descent.

A small green tarn in the valley below provides contrast to the bright blues of Hidden Lake.

She opted not to take the water slide down. Lame!

Mount Redoubt beyond bear-infested alpine meadows at the outlet of Hidden Lake. There were diggings EVERYWHERE.

Awww, how cute. A porcupine...

F*cker!!! While we were away cooking dinner, the "adorable" porcupine made quick work of my boots and Brianne's running shoes which were left in our tent's vestibule. My theory is that he did it to send a message. We were next! The dastardly beast bided his time, waiting for night fall - when he came to finish the job. I was forced to heroically defend Brianne three times during the course of the night as the creature returned - time and again. Alas, with my fierce determination (and a large pile of rocks for throwing), I was able to successfully defend my future bride-to-be. If only I'd been there for my boots...not like I had any plans for them for the rest of our trip - Oh right, all the scrambles we were still supposed to do. Sh*t. Oh well, just have to see how the boots hold up tomorrow...