Mt. Kerkeslin, Jasper AB
I guided the North Ridge of Mt. Kerkeslin for Rockaboo Mountain Adventures over two days last Thursday and Friday. We parked at the HI Athabasca Falls Hostel and immediately started bush crashing. We ascended to treeline on the left of the north most drainage and eventually in the drainage itself. Other than some slippery quantize sections and climbing around some short waterfalls this provided good travel up to treeline and plenty of water.
We bivied at treeline at 2100m. Last available water was in the drainage at 1850m where the water seeps out of the scree in the upper bowl. It looks like earlier in the season you would be able to find water higher around 2050m.
The ridge itself provided loose rock and difficult route finding. There is very little non-technical terrain on the ridge providing for an engaging ascent. The rock varied between shale, broken limestone and short sections of dolomite. We turned around at 2800m due to time and inclement weather on the horizon.
We rappelled five sections on the way down. There would be at least two other rappels from the summit. Rappel stations were mostly slung blocks and were in very poor condition due to pack rats, age of the webbing and lack of quick links or rap rings. I quickly used up all of my cordage, webbing and a few dyneema slings. Next time I would bring at least 20m of webbing at more quick links for the stations.
On the descent from treeline we stayed in the trees along the rim of the drainage. This was a mistake. The drainage provides the best travel.
We had cell coverage for the entire route.
Overall, this seldom climbed mountain was loose, hard to protect, technical and a serious adventure. It would be a great training route for some aspirant guide candidates or those who can appreciate choss and the path less taken.