Here are two looks at Hawk Mountain, sitting beside a bend in Highway 16 in Jasper National Park. I took two trips, January and February, to scout out routes to the top.
Elevation: 8350 ft
Total Climb height: 5100 feet. That’s like climbing the Empire State Building three-and-a-half times. Then you gotta come down
This is a fairly ambitious scramble in summer. The guides claim it’s about 7 to 10 hours to cover 10.5 miles.
On the first scout, I wanted to check the standard route.
This was a great hike. Mid-January it had been several degrees above freezing for, like, 10 days, and it was even warmer for this scramble. You can see the point where I stopped. That’s where the climbing is mostly rock. I was alone, and was starting to run into deep snow. If I’d gotten hurt, it would have taken a helicopter to get me out.
Actually, it’s a bit of a story. I didn’t follow any plan or map. I had an idea that there was a chimney in the two mile length of rock outcrop where they say you need to get up from the wooded slope through to the alpine ridge. I wanted to spot it, detoured through a 300 foot gorge, then went ahead on instinct. That rock-face to the left of the peak is about two miles long.
Long story short. I went straight to it.
I had to compare the video I took to pictures others had taken of this crucial middle point on the climb.
The Second Trip
From the highway, this looks like a kinder, gentler path, but it also looks like it adds a good 2 miles to the journey. As I learned from the first trek, one gorge can make a seemingly easy path extremely difficult.
It’s almost impossible to convey the scale of what you’re looking at, but I caught this video of a chopper in the valley to the west of me.