Saturday, August 20, 2016

Castle Mountain Queen of the Castle

I never had intentions of reaching the summit of Castle Mountain.  I was content with just looking up and admiring the majestic mountain.  A couple of weeks prior, I heard someone mention the name and for whatever reason it implanted in my brain and I could not let it go.  I gathered some information from Agent X and Michael JC, I bought Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies by Alan Kane, I downloaded two gpx files.  I received pertinent info from Adventure Designer and Smuts-Fist.  Yes, I did my homework and after doing so and coming to the realization that I believed I could stand up on top of Castle Mountain where that red star is, I put an invite out with hopes of getting a few experienced & supportive friends on board and I got exactly what I wished for.  
We got an early start and made good time ascending along the 7.4 kilometers long boring tree-lined trail up to Tower Lake.  It was as we arrived here where the view opened up to present to us the work we had in front of us to get to our destination.
Tower Lake
We took a break to fuel up.
Our destination is the top of the mountain to the right of the V.
We worked our way up to Rockbound Lake, took a few photos, checked out where we were headed next and then began the steep climb up to the plateau above the Lake.  It was quite warm by now with no breeze but thank you for the few fluffy clouds.
on the plateau above Rockbound Lake with our destination at the top left to the the right of the V
view as we worked our way even higher through the pleasant grassy meadow area
Rockbound Lake below me
I felt like I was on another planet.
Incredible view of all the Peaks & Knobs
The type of terrain we were traversing was new to me.  I enjoyed the variety and there was never a dull moment.  We passed over a gully that offered up this vantage of Rockbound Lake below Helena Ridge.  That lake looks like a jewel.
We passed by another gully on the opposite side that gave us a sneak peek of Highway 1 below us.
Yet even higher with another vantage view, I knew it was time for one last photo before making the final push to the summit.  I carried a photo of me and Ian in my pack. It's one of my favourite photos of when we were children.  I thought of Ian and knew he was right there with me because I felt this incredible burst of energy with only a few more minutes left to go.
I arrived at the top overcome with emotions.  
I tried to hide it behind my glasses by no luck.

After gathering my composure I secured my first summit shot framing Mount Temple with my victory pose and hoping my friends were accomplishing the same success with their summit bid over on that Mountain.  
Queen of The Castle
We spent about 50 minutes on the summit sharing it with a few others.  
I settled down to dine with this view in front of me.    
Eisenhower Peak
my five friends and me
Queens & Kings of The Castle
After investing the lengthy amount of time the summit of Castle Mountain was worthy off, we began the very, very long journey down.  The views remained incredible. We took the high trail to circumnavigate our way around the upper plateau above Rockbound Lake.
getting lower
me & Short Stop
the hue of our shirts blend nicely with the Lake
Now back at Tower Lake we had all the hard work behind us.
We had the last seven to eight kilometers to get through.  
We put our heads down, aimed down through the trees over all the roots and rocks.
Eleven and a half hours later, we arrived back at where we began our day.  Even though my dogs were barking (for those of you not familiar with that term, it means my feet were sore), I still felt as high as I did when I was on the summit of Castle Mountain.  We stopped in at Castle Village for an ice cream and while savouring that, I also savoured a few more minutes looking up to see where I stood a few hours early.
This was an incredible day for me.  I was thankful to be in the company of experienced, encouraging and supportive people.  I felt like I made leaps and bounds growing as adventurer.  It was an empowering feeling to be on that summit and also to complete this hike/scramble with only sore soles of my feet.  

Thank you for this day!


  1. Totally, totally awesome, spectacular and amazing. My legs went to jelly as you neared the top.

  2. That looks like an incredible adventure! Such amazing scenery, I can see why you wanted to climb it. Good job to you and your friends.

  3. What a beauty day you had! So stoked for you that you were able to enjoy such a gorgeous summit!


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