Mt. Girouard is the highest peak of the Fairholme Range at 2995 m. I had done this peak back in the 70's, and wanted to repeat it for the view. The peak is relatively isolated with the Minnewanka valley to the north and the Bow Valley to the south.
We left from the east end of Johnson Lake and travelled through fairly open bush to the stream draining the cirque east of Mt. Girouard. Ascending the stream was intially easy but became more difficult as the stream narrowed. The stream travels through a canyon, and numerous stream crossings over quite slippery rocks are required. Our average speed up the creek was 2 km/hr - slow work, but not really terrible bushwacking.
Carl bushwacking up the stream
Once we got onto the open slopes, we found a large number of Lake Louise Arnicas growing in the scree.
Lake Louise Arnicas
These infrequently seen flowers prompted a photography session. After some hints from Carl, we moved on. To the southeast is the huge cirque between Girouard and Peechee, that can be seen from the highway when travelling east.
The cirque southeast of Mt Girouard
The upper slopes are mostly large scree, although we did find some remaining snow which made for pleasant step-kicking. We came across a nice group of rams which made their way down the slope and past us, showing little concern with our presence.
We continued our ascent along rock ridges and scree to the summit. The views were great, as expected, especially into the lesser seen areas to the north and east. Here is the panorama
We found no cairn or register but of course we took a summit shot.
Carl, Kevin, Bill and Arnold on Mt Girouard (Mt Inglismaldie near right)
After a bit to eat and a great deal of photography, we headed down. The snow patches provided a pleasant break from the scree.
Kevin descending the snow
On the way out, we stayed higher on the slopes and seemed to avoid some of the thrashing in the stream for a while. Eventually we were forced down by the cliffs and the going got heavier. The work was broken only by interesting formations along the creek.
Folding in the canyon
Overall, Mt Girouard is an easy peak (SC5) with a terrific view, but a long access (BW6 - BW7). Trip stats are 24 km, 1600 m elevation gain, 6.5 hr to the summit and 12 hr total. Thanks to Arnold, Carl and Kevin for joining me - Bill - C/S.