My smoke-free 2022 hiking season came to an end with this scramble, though conditions weren’t too bad. I wanted to do another peak along the Spray Lakes Reservoir. My first choice was Mount Lougheed but I was advised not to do it on my own, so I went with Mount Sparrowhawk instead. I got an early start and enjoyed good condition aside from the smoke. I think I may have been a little too early, though, since much of the smoke cleared away during my descent.
Access is from the Sparrowhawk Day Use Area. Click here for the Google Map. A trail goes from the parking area back to the main road and continues on the far side, ascending into the forest. I took the left fork where the trail passed a pair of benches, then went left again at another fork marked with a cairn. The trail got a little steeper and rougher beyond there and eventually reached a rocky grey slope. Here I could see a trail carrying on forward as well as one coming down from the right side. I ended up going straight ahead. There was flagging along this trail, and it eventually turned right (uphill) and seemed to parallel a higher ridge. It went through the woods for a time and eventually fizzled out (or I missed a turn). I turned toward the ridge which I could see had been slowly climbing away from me. With a bit of scrambling I was up on the ridge and joined another obvious trail. On my way down I would follow the trail on the ridge all the way down and confirmed that it led to the original uphill fork I didn’t follow. The terrain on that rocky slope was actually very steep and the exposed rock somewhat smooth and slippery. Perhaps the flagged route I’d followed on the way up was intended as a bypass.
Carrying on, eventually Read’s Tower (a massive stone outcrop) and the summit of Mount Sparrowhawk came into view. Once onto a grassy rise near Read’s Tower, I followed a trail which descended a short way and bypassed Read’s Tower through a field of rubble on the left side. With a bit of climbing on the far side of the rubble field I was up on the huge southwest face of Mount Sparrowhawk. A defined trail marked with occasional cairns led to a col to the south of Sparrowhawk’s summit. A little hut and antennae sat there. From there I picked a route up through loose rocks towards the summit block. The south-southeast aspect has an obvious weakness and ascending required only a short segment of hands-on climbing. Another structure with antennae greeted me at the top of the scramble and I could see the summit cairn a short distance away.
The views were satisfying, though I was a little disappointed by the smoke obscuring distant peaks. Nearby Wind Mountain and Mount Lougheed were very impressive, as were Mount Bogart and Ribbon Peak. I stayed for a while at the summit and the smoke did clear a little. By the time I was descending things were quite a bit clearer to the west. I encountered a party of two on their way up, and one gentleman pointed out that the smoke situation was still a lot better than in 2021 (which was true, but I was still little disappointed). I enjoyed the fine views in front of me as the smoke slowly cleared.
Click/tap on the pictures in the gallery below to access full-sized images.