Copper Mountain Banff Scramble July 1/10

Copper Mountain Banff Scramble Route Avalanche path crux correct gully


Copper Mountain Banff – see link to marked route pics below.


Note Now best idea is to just bike to across from the big Avalanche path and cross stream there.  

Copper Mtn and the Curious Goat – Copper is probably the least visited of the Banff Kane peaks and there is minimal trail and no cairns until the top.  It has a reputation as a confusing ascent as Dow, Sonny, Gary and Dave Stephens all did not find the easy way up!  Sonny and Gary on solo trips, both related how they had to make 2 m jumps on the way down.   This was Vern’s 7 th last peak in the book so we took the time to study the pics and the route beforehand to make it easier.

Took about 1 hour to bike to the bridge and campground – turn right on good path to the cabled food hangers (Bears) and then 50 m to come out onto the toe of a big avi path which is the end of the descent gully.  The big pinnacle is right above you and has steep ridges off it which you need to pass under in the trees.  We went right in the trees on a reasonable game path for 30 -40 min and then angled up across several small avi paths until we hit the big path in about 1 hour. Some bushwack but not bad if can find the game routes.

The correct avi path is big and goes all the way down to the stream.  On the right (north side there is a low wall with trees on it.  We worked our way up staying on little ridges near the bottom of the gully on grass but avoided going up left out of the gully too early. We saw lots of animal signs but no human signs.  One softball sized rock came down which kept us alert.

Just before the wall ends on the right there is a drainage that comes in on the left with very jagged rock that allows access to the upper bowl. No cairn – somebody should build one.  We actually went a little higher to some snow patches and then traversed left on ledges around into the bowl(no easier).  We went up rubbly ledges (easy-moderate) and right to a ridge that lead up to the right end of the cornice and to the summit plateau (cairn)which was large and windswept.  Summit is 200m to right – some fresh animal tracks in the snow.  No register and too cold to linger so went SE and worked our way down to col at top of first descent gully.  A white goat looked over the gully edge and seemed fascinated with us.

Scrappy shale rock and debris lead down to snow. No joy as the deep freeze overnight, early start and cool overcast day meant we had to kick steps to safely get down the steep parts. The goat came down the steep cliffs above us and was always looking over the edges and followed us down which caused some rockfall.  The biggest was twice the size of my head but fortunately nothing hit us.  Eventually the snow  softened up and we could dig our heels in and even boot ski the final lower angle bit.

The gully leads out to same avi path that is beside the campground.  Great bike run out – back uphill a bit to high point by start of Brett trail and then 13 minutes out from there.  Eight hout RT despite the slow time on the snow and a 30 min lunch.

Very good trip with good conversations with Vern and with no route finding problems or scary jumps.

Pictures – use full screen slideshow Copper

Vern’s pics

About Bill Kerr

Weekend climber, scrambler and backcountry skier from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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