Photo by Kevin Altheim
|Best months for climbing:||Jul, Aug|
|Nearest major airport:||Calgary, AB|
|Convenient Center:||Canmore, AB|
Thanks to Craig Knelsen for adding this peak.
This is a 4400’+/- ascent day. Mount Sparrowhawk can be a scramble or ski and is in both the "Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies" book as well as Chic Scott’s "Canadian Rockies Summits and Icefields". I chose to go in between these seasons making an interesting trip of it. Park along the Smith-Dorrien (Spray Lakes Road) Trail approximately 23 km south of Canmore (gravel road). If snow is not blocking the entrance, you can park in the Mount Sparrowhawk picnic turnoff, otherwise park several hundred meters south of this location along the road.
Ski or hike parallel to Sparrowhawk Creek through sparse trees on a bench above the left bank for about a 300’ gain and then leave the creek as it curves right and proceed straight up into the forest due east. Continue through the trees gradually gaining elevation to reach the top of a beautiful vista of Alpine growth, Aspens and Larches with 360 degree views at 8000’. You are at the bottom of a cirque of sorts. To the left is avalanche danger below cliffs, stay right and aim for a break just under an east facing large rock thrust called Reeds Tower. Descend into the bowl and ascend to the col of Reeds Tower at approximately 8800’ and gain the more moderate angled slopes above. Ascend the upper west slopes of Mount Sparrowhawk aiming for the right side of the summit block, approximately 1300’ elevation gain. You cannot ski the last 300’ on the southeast corner of the summit block, but it can be ascended in winter or summer. Return the same. The descent can be rapid, particularly if you have an alpine ax and can find the wind blown crust. Of course if you have skis, you will be back in time for another cappuccino.
Mount Sparrowhawk can hold tons of snow during any season. I ascended during September and would rather have carried skis or snowshoes for the final 2000’. I was in waist deep snow on the low angled slopes. I definitely recommend this as a ski outing in winter versus a scramble in summer. Mount Sparrowhawk is connected via a long southeastern ridge to Mount Bogart, a popular pyramid shaped landmark in the heart of Kananaskis Country.
Winter-Skis, Skins, Goggles, Gaiters, etc
Summer- Gaiters, Bear Spray, Alpine Ax.