Mount Bident 3084 m
Banff National Park
Mounts Bident and Quadra seen from Lower Consolation Lake (Click to enlarge)
Mount Bident sits in close proximity to world-famous Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies, but despite its proximity to this world famous attraction, the mountain summit averages less than one ascent per year. This peak can be done as a mountaineering scramble in one day by competent parties with good route-finding skills. The best time is late July to September when it should hopefully be free of snow. If in doubt, it would be prudent to take a rope and some protection, either a few pins or small stoppers, as well as an ice-axe.
Mount Bident seen from a ridge above Taylor Lake, with our approximate ascent route shown. The ascent starts by a pleasant hike from Moraine Lake to Consolation Lakes, wading the outlet stream, and then trudge back to reach Consolation Pass. This takes about 3 hours. Grovel up to the Pass via a steep loose gully. From the Pass, you gain the ridge from the right side of picture, follow it onto the face, and look for the easiest way through the rockbands. Simple, eh? In 1998, we met the resident grizzly of Moraine Lake on the hike in to the Pass. Luckily, he merely huffed at me before continuing down to Moraine Lake, possibly to see the daily crop of (meatier) tourists.
On the east face of Mount Bident. Typical scrambling on typical Rockies loose rock; not to be taken for granite (yuk yuk!). We have traversed along on scree-covered ledges to find the first easy place to scramble through a steep rockband. Good route-finding ability pays off in this type of terrain.
Exposed scrambling above a steep snow gully on the face. A rope is only necessary here if you fall! This photo hints at why the face must be snow-free to safely do unroped. With a rope, the peak offers many more route possibilities. Of course, roped climbing is invariably slower than scrambling and this outing is a full day trip as it is.
Happy to be on top, 6 hours from the car, we have a fine view of Consolation Lakes and Mount Temple (3543 m), the big peak at the upper left. Mount Temple's "tourist" route is fully described in Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. It is the easiest Rockies 11,000 foot peak and is justly popular.
Using that handy ice-axe to carefully descend a snow gully near Mount Quadra on the south side of Mount Bident. After this easier descent route you hike all the way back around the peak to the east side again. Fortunately, on a sunny day, most of this return is a pleasant, scenic walk.
Wandering through beautiful alpine meadows southeast of Mount Bident on the return. The snowy peak in the centre is Mount Ball, also described in the guidebook Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. Our complete round trip time for Mount Bident was about 12 hours from Moraine Lake. I had tried this peak once before in July, but was unsuccessful due to snow remaining, so it felt good to succeed today, especially with such fabulous weather. Later this same year, I visited Mount Bryce and Mount Robson, two 11,000 foot Rockies summits.
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© All photos copyright by the author 1999.