Zenfolio | Matthew Clay | Mosquito Mountain, July 25, 2017
Visitors 52
66 photos

Distance: 23 km
Elevation gain: 1260 m
View map
Download GPS track

It’s been a few years since we trekked through the amazing meadows of North Molar, Pipestone, and Clearwater Passes on a backpacking trip to Devon Lakes. Today we decided to revisit the area, but view the meadows from high up on Mosquito Mountain, the highest point on the ridge separating the North Molar and Pipestone Pass meadows.

Our hike started right at our trailer, parked in the Mosquito Creek campground across the highway from the trailhead. After a short ascent, the trail mostly leveled off and we made good time to the Mosquito Creek backcountry campground, located about 5 km from the trailhead. We walked to the back of the campground, then headed off trail into the thin forest, moving roughly north before contouring to the northeast to ascend the lower slope of Mosquito Mountain. Travel was very easy and we were able to follow several long sections of trail.

Eventually we encountered a steep talus slope. Bob Spirko encountered this same slope in his ascent of Ramp Peak and wisely detoured around it. Being less wise, I decided to directly ascend it. It was “just” an easy scramble, but a terribly loose and annoying one. Going around it is certainly the best course of action.

At the top of the talus slope we reached treeline and the remainder of the foreshortened ascent was visible. The mosquitos were also horrendous! We each had at least two dozen on us, but thankfully they seemed to prefer sitting on our huge hats instead of our faces and they couldn’t bite through our shirts. Apparently there is something to the name “Mosquito Creek”!

From this point forward we generally followed the ridge to the summit, detouring below a short cliff band about halfway up the slope to avoid a moderate down climb had we stuck to the ridge. This area was easily identified from below as a region of darker slabby rock. The rock remained mostly stable the entire way to the summit, although the last few hundred meters of ascent was on annoyingly large chunks of rock that had a small chance of collapsing when we stepped on them.

The view from the summit was spectacular, of course, and certainly one of the better summit views we’ve had. The vast meadows of North Molar, Pipestone, and Clearwater Passes were all laid out below us, and by getting a bit close to the sheer north edge of the summit, several lakes and a glacier became visible too. The summit register was an original metal Moleskin® canister and contained entries from several notable scramblers. Most of the entries, however, were by the Skyline Hikers from decades ago. For some reason this is not a popular peak.

After lunch we descended and decided to explore the plateau to the south of Mosquito Mountain. Travel was exceptionally easy along this stretch and we navigated all the way to an unnamed lake at the east end of the mountain before making our way south across the meadows to the official trail, which we followed back to the road. I’d hoped travel would be easy along the trail, but it was generally a terrible mess of rock and enormous roots and the 10 km hike along it was both mentally and physically draining. Good thing we had burgers and ice cream sandwiches waiting for us just a few hundred meters from the trailhead!

Categories & Keywords
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Subcategory Detail:Hiking
Keywords:Banff National Park, Mosquito Creek, Mosquito Mountain, North Molar Pass, hiking, scrambling