Yates Mountain (Barrier Lake Lookout)

Elevation: 1996 m
Elevation Gain: 625 m
Yates Mountain is the unofficial name of the high point of McConnell Ridge immediately north of Barrier Lake. The peak was named after Emily Yates who ran the Diamond Cross ranch which was located on the site presently occupied by nearby Camp Chief Hector. The peak has a long history of serving as a lookout, beginning with the Stoney Nakoda whose name for it, Tokyapebi Ipa, can be translated to: “Lookout Point for the Enemy.” Today, the peak is the site of the Barrier Lake fire lookout.
My Ascents:
December 28 2014, January 1 2014
GPS Track: Yates Mountain

With a little bit of time off during the holiday season, Cory and I were finally able to get our schedules to align for a trip to the mountains on December 28th 2014. While our work and family schedules cooperated on this particular day, the weather, unfortunately, did not! Under a canopy of thick cloud, with snow falling, we decided to hike up Yates Mountain in order to burn off some of the season’s excesses. Having both ascended Yates previously, we weren’t bothered by the lack of views and, instead, simply enjoyed the fresh air and company!

From the starting point at Barrier Lake, we were greeted by a monochromatic panorama. Despite the low cloud level, we pressed onwards. Click to see a larger crappy view.

While crossing the Barrier Lake dam, Cory had some time to play with his camera while I ran back to the car to recover a forgotten balaclava. This image, of the dam’s outflow, provides a rare bit of color on an otherwise black and white day (photo courtesy CJ).

After spending a little over an hour hiking up through the trees, we finally reached an open viewpoint. As you can see, both Crux and Cory look unimpressed with the overcast conditions which severely limited the view. Worse still, the clouds enveloping the summit on the right suggest that matters will probably get worse before they get better!

The best view of the day!

Cory pauses for a photo at the Prairie View lookout a short distance below the summit (and just after surmounting an incredibly slippery slope in the trees).

The summit of Yates Mountain is home to the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout. While we were disappointed to find the door locked, the structure did at least provide some shelter from the wind!

My favorite hiking partner and I (photo courtesy CJ).

Cory and Crux trying to stay warm on the summit.

“You gonna eat that?” The summit mooch was out in full force atop Yates and Cory proved especially susceptible to those big brown puppy dog eyes!

After I enjoyed my lunch and Crux enjoyed Cory’s, it was time to make our way back down the trail slip and slide to the car. While the views were less than superb, I was quite happy to get 1 last summit in before the new year! Thanks to this snowy ascent, I was able to reach my goal by completing a marathon (42.2 km run) and a marathon of mountains (42 summits) in 2014! Here’s hoping that 2015 proves to be as good a year as 2014 was – happy new year!