Belmore Brown Peak

Elevation: 2332 m
Elevation Gain: 689 m
Belmore Brown and is family spent 30 years exploring the peaks and ridges of Kananaskis Country’s Jumpingpound area. A prominent American alpininist, Brown came within 40 m of making the first successful ascent of Denali in 1912. In addition to climbing, Brown was also an acclaimed wildlife artist. Although the peak is only a small outlier in the Fischer Range, it looks quite prominent from Powderface Trail.
My Ascents:
June 7 2013

In typical June fashion, it’s been raining non-stop in Calgary which means snowing non-stop in the mountains. With a Friday off and a limited amount of time to complete an ascent (I had a best friend’s birthday party to attend later in the evening), I opted for a peak nearby Calgary and in the front ranges, which I hoped would be mostly snow-free. Belmore Brown Peak was an appealing option because its non-technical scree slopes seemed well-suited to getting me up into the alpine where I would be better able to scout out the conditions for a potential two’fer by scrambling along the connecting ridge to nearby Tiara Peak.

After a quick jaunt along Powderface Trail, I found the correct parking area 14.7 km south of the junction with Highway 68. The jaunt would have been quicker if Nugara provided directions from the south for those living in south Calgary…regardless, if you did want to approach the trailhead from the south it can be found 19.5 km north of the turnoff from Highway 66. From the small pullout parking area, you are treated to a view of Tiara Peak’s tiara-like summit block (left) and Belmore Brown Peak’s triangular summit (right).

After reading through other trip reports for Tiara Peak/Belmore Brown Peak, I was aware that there might be issues finding the faint trailhead. Apparently, the trailhead has since been obliterated by a rather new, rather large logging road. Good luck finding the path through the woods now…

My search for the faint path was unsuccessful. Instead of a path, Crux and I found a marsh followed by some bush-whacking. The marsh was deeper than expected!

At last! The path that Nugara describes through the cutline towards the objective(s).

After taking the path along the cutline for several minutes, I noticed a rather large road a few hundred meters away that appeared to go in the right direction; probably the same logging road that had obliterated the trailhead near the parking area. At this point, I’m not impressed that Crux and I just bushwhacked through a marsh to get to the same place that the road went anyways.

Highway to Belmore Brown (right) and Tiara Peaks (center): easier going than Nugara’s suggested route! As it would turn out, most of the approach (2 km) can be taken on without leaving this road.

After about 2 km on the logging road, the road crosses this bridge. This bridge crosses the creek that Nugara suggests taking to approach the peaks. Shortly after the bridge, the road makes a hairpin turn. This is the perfect spot to join up with the Nugara creek bed route and save yourself some time and some thrashing through the brush by staying on the road for as long as possible.

The cost of the new “improved” access to Belmore Brown and Tiara Peaks.

Once you’re off the logging road, travel along the creek is relatively easy.

Creek grouse.

The fork in the drainage. To the left, the descent route from Tiara Peak and to the right, the ascent route for Belmore Brown Peak (marked by a cairn and some flagging tape).

The right-hand drainage was still full of avalanche debris from a winter of heavy snowfall. Belmore Brown peak can be seen up the creek in the distance.

Crux investigates more avalanche debris where Tiara Peak’s steep gullies meet the ascent drainage. There were an impressive number of trees, freshly snapped like match sticks littering the valley floor. Fortunately, most of the snow now appeared to be at the bottom of the gullies!

Nearing the top of the ascent drainage, the brown scree ascent slopes of Belmore Brown come into view. The peak itself can be seen on the far right.

Fresh avalanche debris. Wonder how stable the snow is on that steep slope above? I decided not to find out up close and headed up the brown scree slopes on the right rather than staying in the terrain trap gully.

Higher up on the scree, I noticed some serious instability in the snowpack high above the gully! The lower section of the slope has clearly already slid and the upper section looks ready to let loose at any minute. Glad I got out of the gully and onto the steep scree slopes above it as quickly as I could!

Crux takes a break from some scree side-hilling as we near the Belmore Brown summit ridge. Belmore's gray western summit in the background.

The notch between Belmore’s slightly higher west summit and its east summit.

Moose Mountain beyond Belmore’s slightly lower east summit.

Crux scrambling down some steep rock between the two summits. At first, I wasn’t sure which was higher, so I had to tag both just to be safe!

Peering through the notch.

Belmore Brown summit panorama showing the connecting ridgewalk to Tiara Peak (left) and Boundary Peak (right). Click to see larger.

The view of the new "improved" approach along the logging road from the summit.

Crux enjoying the view.

Looking north towards the front ranges along the Bow Valley.

Yamnuska and the Devil’s Head to the north.

Looking south towards pyramid-shaped Mount Glasgow.

Just another day at the office!

Calgary through the prairie haze.

Wanting to catch a glimpse, deeper into K-Country, I decided to scramble along the ridge to the next, slightly higher point to the west.

From this next high point, the view into K-Country was markedly improved. It was also markedly more overcast and unsettled.

Kananaskis panorama. From left to right: shady Mount McDougall, Mount Galatea (distant), Mount Kidd (distant), shady Kananaskis Peak, Mount Bogart (distant), Wasootch Peak, Mount Sparrowhawk (distant), Olympic Summit (complete with ski runs), Mount Allan, Wind Mountain (distant), Mount Lougheed (distant), Mount Collembola, the Three Sisters and shady Mount Lorette. Click to see larger.

Mount McDougall, Mount Galatea and Mount Kidd.

Cloudy skies over Mount Bogart.

Wind Mountain (left) and the three peaks of Mount Lougheed (right) beyond Mount Allan.

The Three Sisters beyond Mount Lorette.

The connecting ridge towards Tiara Peak looks like a very scenic way to spend an afternoon!

In order to make your way up Tiara Peak’s impressive summit block, you need to traverse these steep east-facing slopes. With the amount of snow left on them and a birthday party to attend in the city, I opted to pass on the two’fer for today. With the logging road making access to Tiara Peak easier than ever, however, I will be back!

Crux takes in one last view of Belmore Brown Peak and Moose Mountain from the adjacent high point before heading back down.

On the way back down the creek bed, this cairn marks the way back onto the old approach trail through the cut block and cut line. With the logging road in place now, however, I would advise walking right by it and continuing along the creek bed. A moment after passing this cairn, you come along a cut line on the south side of the creek.

Easy travel along the cut line to the south of the creek. Less than 5 minutes ahead, you can see the logging road which provides a quick and easy exit. Travel along the logging road is really easy and the road deposits you back on Powderface Trail about 50 m north of the parking pullout.

After an easy 2 km along the logging road, I got one last view of the sun on Belmore Brown Peak from the car as the storm clouds pile up beyond.