Windy Peak Hills
a series of rolling hills leading to Windy Peak

the first of our three Thanksgiving-in-the-Highwood summits.


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Axel and I headed down to the lower highwood area for a weekend to get in some late-season peaks.
We drove down on Saturday morning and after a bit of confusion, set up camp at Indian Graves campsite.
We then drove in to our unofficial trailhead at Teardrop Lake.

The cool thing about the Windy Peak Hills is that the alpine starts right from the beginning.
The treeline is abnormally low in this area (perhaps due to high winds?), making the rambling excellent.
We begin by following some bits of trail up to the first high point, not far along.

Teardrop Lake and the first hill.

Looking out at our path over the next hills.

Taking a moment to clear a minor peak of cairns.

Crushing excessive cairnage.

Hailstone Butte - our way home.

Cool folding below the peak of Hailstone.

Bear Pond and the foothills to the northeast.

High Rock Range to the west.

After crushing some cairns on the first hill, we continued along the rolling traillets.
We met some other people on the second hill, and found a really cool rocky outcrop shortly after.
Naturally, I had to climb it.

Axel and Rachel near the second summit.

A herd of goats just past the second peak.

The cool rock wall and points south.

As the gully disappears, my climb suddenly becomes technical.

Success!

Eventually, we came to the high point - Windy Peak.
Though not an overly high, impressive mountain, the view is great, and the surroundings beautifully undeveloped.
We saw a number of places we would have liked to continue exploring, but figured we didn't have time this time of year.
One of the desired peaks I later identified as Saddle Mountain, whose normal route is, in fact, an extension from Windy Peak.
Looks like I'll be back here soon! :)

After lunch and a view break, we headed down the broad slope.
Despite a fully treed east side, the top and west slope are mostly grass - again, probably due to the wind in the area.
We had to bushwhack through a small bit of trees and then made it to the swampy area in the valley bottom.

Saddle Mountain - next area peak.

Mount Livingstone beyond the summit cairn

Plateau Mountain and Hailstone Butte.

Mount Lyall.

Looking down the ridge to our exit route.

We found ourselves lucky to be passing through here in late fall - most of the area was dry, and plenty more was frozen.
Despite that, I managed to break through a frosty crust and wet one foot.
This must be miserable in the spring!

Rachel finishes off through the swampy area.

Last view of Windy Peak

Axel's self portrait in the meadow.

We made it back to the road almost exactly at five. Doing this trail as a horseshoe left us about three kilometres down the road from our car.
Figuring we had about three hours until dark, we went with our preferred plan to make a loop with Hailstone Butte to the north.
See the continuation of the trip here.

Photos taken almost entirely by Axel, as my camera froze the first time I pulled it out. :(

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