The Fortress

Elevation: 3000 m
Elevation Gain: m
Originally named Tower Mountain, the Fortress was renamed in 1957 to avoid confusion with the nearby “Tower”. The impressive north face of this peak presents a fortress-like appearance.
My Ascents:
July 21 2011, August 5 2008

Despite a somewhat gloomy weather forecast, I decided that I was going to head out to the mountains for another midweek solo scramble (being unemployed is the best!). I had my eye on Gusty Peak, however, since this peak shares an approach with the Fortress, I was prepared to ascend either peak depending on conditions. Having ascended the Fortress a couple of years earlier, I reasoned that if the weather was really bad and both summits were in the clouds, I could at least climb the Fortress since I'd already seen the view from its top.

The first of the day's many wildlife sightings. After this ram, I spotted at 4 deer, a coyote, 3 moose and a pika.

Early views ascending to Chester Lake. Not as 'partially cloudy' as the forecast promised...

Chester Lake. At this point, you can still see the Fortress behind...I took this as a promising sign and continued up the valley towards my objective.

The original objective of the day had been Gusty Peak, however, the ascent route was clogged by hard snow and the summit was in the clouds to I decided to take on the Fortress instead.

Lots of snow at the Fortress tarn at the base of the ascent.

The Fortress disappearing into the clouds. I would join it shortly.

Looking back down to the frozen tarn after slogging up snow and wet scree to the Fortress-Chester col.

Looks like the season is especially late up here...

Entering the clouds...

The summit block suddenly appears through the cloud.

Just to make life extra fun, the summit block was guarded by some spectacular verglas.

Blackjack! 21st summit of the year. And what a view!

Not wanting to chance lightning, I quickly made my way back down to the lower reaches of the clouds and was granted with a modest view of Chester Lake.

...and Headwall Lakes.

Looked nicer in the Kananaskis Valley...should have stayed over there I suppose.

Walking down is for chumps!

Water carving through the snow.

Seriously, this is July 21.

The earlier promised pika!

Chester Lake has clearly played host to a busy grizzly. Diggings EVERYWHERE.

Mount Chester joined the other mountains in the clouds.

Oh noes! What to do?!

I wasn't fast enough with my camera to get a single moose shot despite running into 3. I offer this hoof print from when the last moose ran away as evidence, however.