Fairview Mountain

GPS recording available here: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/activity-7137031347-4d289c1

Elevation Gain: 1,143m
Distance: 11.84km
Total Time: 4 hours 1 minute
Date: July 16th, 2021

On the final day of my trip to Banff with Simon we wanted to hit up a peak or two to break up the road trip. A few of the locals had given good suggestions for short scrambles, but unfortunately they were mostly located around the Canmore area in the opposite direction of Vancouver. Through a bit of searching online, I came across Fairview Mountain near Lake Louise. It was boasting a short 9km round trip and 1000m of elevation gain. Adding to that, it was located directly across from the small summit of Saddle Mountain which could easily be tacked on for an additional 150m of elevation gain to the trip. Neither route looked like a particularly fun scramble, but I figured the views would make up for it given the location of both peaks. Simon and I agreed to an early-ish start of 6am so that we could get to the Lake Louise parking lot before the throngs of cars would show up.

On the 16th, I woke up at 4am and was unable to fall asleep again. My alarm eventually went off at 5:30am and I got Simon out of his tent shortly after. We packed up and were pulling into the Lake Louise parking lot by 6:30am or so. Already the spots were starting to fill up, but we made it in without issue. Now that we had a spot secured, I got some breakfast going and Simon and I took our time getting ready. We didn’t hit the trail until 7:40am, but were finally on our way.

The route began just south of Lake Louise on a very well maintained trail. It wasn’t terribly steep and for the most part weaved through the forest, occasionally breaking out where winter time avalanche slide paths had oppressed large forest growth. At around 2260m in elevation, the trees started to thin out and we had a good view of both routes up Saddle Mountain and Fairview Mountain respectively. Neither looked challenging, as expected and we started our way up Fairview first.

Lake Louise was rather smokey the morning we started up
Sign for Saddle Mountain
The eastern aspect of Fairview Mountain is visible along the avalanche slide paths
Saddle Mountain now visible. The summit is the right most peak, but the left most peak appears higher from this perspective
The trail winds around the base of Saddle Mountain, but you avoid the scree/talus slopes by continuing along the path to Saddle Pass
At the Saddle-Fairview Col. Sheol and Haddo visible directly ahead. Mount Temple visible on the far left.
Sheol Valley falls into the group restriction zone. You’ll need a minimum group of 4 during the summer due to bears
Heading up to Fairview Moutain from the junction now

I was expecting some scree bashing and rock hopping, but to my surprise there was a pleasant foot path that zig-zagged up the entirety of Fairview Mountain. I find it hard to call such trails a scramble and it’s clear now it’s really more of a hike. From the trail junction it was 400m of elevation gain to reach the summit, but it was uneventful from bottom to top. Thankfully, when we reached the top, we were met with amazing views of Sheol, Haddo, Aberdeen, Mount Victoria and even Mount Temple further to the South. Despite the less exciting approach/route, the views totally made up for it. You really feel small positioned against the backdrop of such large mountains. Many of which have imposing near vertical faces all the way to the valley floor.

Looking up the Southern face of Fairview mountain. Any scrambling is avoided by taking the well worn path up
Simon coming up the path with Saddle Mountain in the background
Sheol Mountain has an impressive Eastern face
Looking at Haddo and Mount Aberdeen I believe
Typical terrain for the last 100m to the summit
Summit panorama
Simon looking out over the valley
Another shot of Simon looking towards Mount Victoria
A shot of myself looking out over the terrain as well

Simon and I spent 15-20 minutes at the top grabbing some food and then started our way back for Saddle Mountain.

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