Distance: 12.5 km
Elevation gain: 1450 m View map Download GPS track
Mount Kidd South Peak is the sister peak of Mount Kidd. Rising to nearly the same elevation as the main peak it offers very similar views, but as it is a slightly easier scramble I figured it would make a good objective for Sandra and I today.
Arriving at the Galatea parking lot at 9:20 am we started hiking along the recently rebuilt Galatea Creek trail. While much of the beauty of the creek was destroyed in the 2013 floods, the area was still quite beautiful and this section of the hike was quite pleasant in the cool shade of the forest. We departed the trail to head up Mount Kidd South Peak at the 3.6 km mark, at the far end of a stand of tall spruce trees in open forest that is best described as a wonderful place to camp (but don’t as that would be illegal there). I’d been worried about finding the correct ascent route, but it wasn’t a problem as it was marked by several pieces of flagging and a cairn that had fallen over.
Unfortunately the pleasantness of our hike dropped quite a bit at this point! A short, relatively easy bushwhack along trail transitioned to a steeper bushwhack on slippery mud and loose rubble (still on trail) before giving way to a pleasant but steepening ascent on grass. Higher up bear and ground squirrel diggings helped a lot with the footing, but necessitated big tiring steps instead of the tiny plodding ones I prefer on steep terrain.
The real problem of the day, however, was the final 300 m of the ascent over some of the worst rubblefuck we’ve encountered in the Rockies. Low down it was ok – just picking our way up chunky rock – but higher up the stuff became stupidly loose and with each step we never knew if we were going for a ride down or not. It was large rock too so each time it let go the resultant fall/slip was much worse than just the regular annoyance on treadmill scree. Heading down this section was even worse and I took several minor falls as the mountain gave way beneath my feet.
It was an incredible relief to finally reach the summit ridge, and while the final traverse involved a few short downclimbs, a tiny bit of routefinding, and a wee bit of exposure I found it just challenging enough to be fun, especially after the mindless vertical kilometer I’d just slogged up. It was certainly a moderate scramble along this section, but definitely at the lower end of moderate.
Sandra had fallen a bit behind on the rubble and we’d been communicating by radio for the last bit, but for some reason our radios and their 46 km rated range couldn’t handle the 0.3 km between Sandra and I along the ridge. The static mess I got from her could have been anything from “a bear is chewing my foot off” to “I’m almost there”, so after quickly snapping some photos I made my way back to where I’d gained the ridge and met up with her. Building clouds and the moderate terrain discouraged her from continuing and instead we had a quick lunch before retracing our steps down.