Ascent of Pyramid Mountain on 2009-08-15

Climber: Adam Lingenfelter

Others in Party:Todd Aughey
Date:Saturday, August 15, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pyramid Mountain
    Elevation:2763 m / 9065 ft

Ascent Trip Report

It was my first ascent of an actual real mountain. However, I will dispel a myth about Pyramid. You can forget the bike, the gravel roadway up is too steep and too long to actually ride up, you'll be pushing it up trail instead of riding. Everyone I talked to on the mountain had run into that same problem, including Todd, the fellow I caught up to as he was pushing his bike after I had stashed mine in the trees. I started up the mountain at 9:00 am and it took 3 hours to reach the end of the 'biking trail.' Finding the trail head can be a bit tricky, but look for paths leading from the man made berm at the end of the meadow, the one marked with the orange flagging tape is the best route. The switchbacks are advisable to take, they may make for a longer ascent, however they are less grueling than the ascent that myself and Todd took, we instead slogged up the grassy hillside, cut off some time, but also cut down some energy. Once you reach the ridge it is easy going as this part is virtually flat until the scrambling begins.
The ascent up and over the boulders was to me the fun part, clambering over huge rocks, making every strategic step count. Its easy enough to blaze your own route over the boulders, a few walls will present themselves but finding ways around is easy enough, you'll know where to go and not to. A few breaks here and there to catch your breath and take it all in is needed, at the least just to find a line. In one spot there are a few Inukshuks built, and on the north face there is a stone that sticks out perpendicular from the rest like a gargoyle on an art deco style building.
We reached the summit at 2:50 pm, and a few smalls clouds hampered out view of the snow covered Mount Edith Cavell and the ranges west of Jasper itself, but in all other directions the landscape of Jasper unfolded before us. We stayed on the summit for about 45 minutes eating a late lunch and taking some pictures, including the obvious 'Look at me ma', I just climbed a mountain!' pose.
The descent is by far easier, and gravity pulls your weary feet down onto another boulder. The easiest way down is the way you took up, but thinking that the bowl that is to your immediate south was a plain of gravel, Todd and I headed here instead. It may have cut approximately 15-20 minutes off the overall descent, however the character of the rock here is treacherous in some spots, as it is many loose rock fall, made up of mainly smaller stones.
The only benefit for pushing that cursed mountain bike all the way up the mountain is the ride down. At break-neck speeds, the winding trail can be a bit frightful, but once you set your mind at ease and get comfortable with your breaks, its a breeze. On the bikes we estimated that it took a fraction of the time it did to get up the mountain, at about 20 minutes, of nearly non-stop downhill furry.
A quick breakdown of the time spent on the mountain:
Began (with bike) @ 9:00 am
Reached trail end @ 11:15 am (after ditching bike)
Began ascent @ 11:30 am
Reached Summit @ 2:50 pm
Began descent @ 3:30 pm
Took break after rock field @ 6:00 pm
Ended descent/back at trail end @ 6:30 pm
Reached my bike @ 7:45 pm
Back at parking lot at 8:10 pm
When it says that it is a full day, it is just that.
Happy Hiking!
Summary Total Data
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Minor to no precipitation

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