A little more than halfway up Mount Tyrwhitt, in the highwood pass, is a large natural arch.
Our original plan for the day was to summit this mountain, but the arch made an excellent consolation prize.
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Our route in red - dotted lines show trails up Little Highwood Pass, and Pocaterra Ridge.
The trail up Mount Tyrwhitt begins at 2206m in the highwood pass.
The first 2.5km are an easy walk up into Pocaterra cirque, a pretty spot - probably stunning when the larch are in colour.
The arch in Mount Tyrwhitt from below.
Danielle in a karst sinkhole near the start of the trail.
Trail through the forest winding around Highwood/Grizzly Ridge.
North slopes of Mount Tyrwhitt, from just before the cirque.
Barely fall colours below Pocaterra cirque.
Mount Rae above a small pond below Pocaterra Cirque.
Mount Tyrwhitt from the entrance to Pocaterra Cirque.
First glimpse of the arch.
Once in Pocaterra cirque, a cairned trail leads south towards Grizzly Col.
It's a quick 300m gain, already bringing you up to some excellent views.
One of the neat things to look at is the exposed Lewis Thrust at the col.
It's a 450m long, 6km deep fault running from Mount Kidd in Kananaskis down to Montana.
The line between the Paleozioc limestone thrust over Mesozoic shale is apparent in both
the trail under your feet at the col, and the Mountainsides in both directions.
Little Highwood Pass, with 'Mount Pocaterra', to the left,
and Pocaterra ridge at right.
Closer shot of the Lewis Thrust line, and neat anticline cave.
Pano of the beginning of the climb to Grizzly col. Mount Tyrwhitt is barely at right, Grizzly Ridge at upper left.
Trail up to Grizzly col.
Danielle stops for a break in a tiny patch of snow.
Above the col, the grade steepens. This is one of the worst examples of the 'rotten rockies' I've seen so far.
The way up was both extremely steep, and extremely loose.
On the way down, we discovered some more solid spots, but didn't help us for the ascent!
If planning to summit this peak, continue to traverse past the col a ways before turning uphill - the solid parts are father along.
On a busy day, the dislodged rocks could be killer, but there were thankfully few other parties.
Danielle and Heather starting up above Grizzly col.
Danielle and Heather work their way up the mountain.
Trail to Grizzly col in background.
Mount Rae across the Highwood Pass.
Heather, Danielle, and Laurier taking a break midway up.
Heather on a rib at lunchbreak.
Heather climbing down from a lookout point near the arch.
We made it to the arch just after lunch, and decided to stop there, rather than trying for the summit.
The arch is quite big, and highly awesome.
Danielle waiting to climb down to the arch.
Laurier, Heather, Danielle, and Rachel next to the arch.
Looking through the arch to Pocaterra Ridge and beyond.
Rachel on top of the thick block of the arch.
Rachel on top of the arch.
Danielle on the skinny part - what a sight it'd be when this fails!
Laurier below the arch.
Laurier considers climbing up.
View up to the summit from through the arch.
Danielle gets a taste of scree. Laurier is routefinding below.
Danielle coming down to Grizzly col.
Heather and Danielle descending below the col.
Mount Rae behind the path, back in Pocaterra cirque.
Gorgeous colours on the way back
- beneath a still perfectly blue sky!
I thought it was too late in the season for wildflowers, but we saw a few alpine forget-me-nots!
Photos taken by Rachel.
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