How to Sign Up:
Please carefully read the entire description below. Then, if you want to sign up, add your name to the waiting list and answer the RSVP questions. I'll get back to you. The maximum group size will be 6 people.
Mount Bell is located at the NW corner of Castle Junction, between Taylor Lake and Boom Lake. There's a "Moderate" scramble route up the S slopes, described in Kane's guidebook. The ascent route is the NE Ridge; a magnificent solid quartzite ridge. It's primarily 4th class terrain with a few sections of low 5th class up to 5.4. Kane would probably refer to this as a "climber's scramble". As you proceed up the ridge, the towers in the distance seem insurmountable, but when you get there, there's always a virtual staircase of horizontally-bedded rock leading up. The best quality rock is on the hardest sections.
Now for the bad news; it's a very long day - 1500 vertical metres and up to 21km. It should take 10-13 hours. Don't plan on being back in Calgary by a particular time.
Difficulty: Climber's Scramble
Cumulative Vertical Gain: 1500m
Time: 10-13 hours (plus driving time to/from the trailhead – about 3.5 hours return)
Recommended Carpool Cost: $65 split equally between driver and passengers, based on 310km at $0.21/km.
Sufficiently fit to handle 12+ hours of 21km and 1500 vertical metres at a brisk pace, i.e. 5km/hr on a flat trail, 6+km/hr on a downhill trail, and of course slower on the uphill, and much slower on the scramble portion of the ridge.
You've already done a few "Difficult" scrambles
You have expertise in glacier travel and crevasse rescue
Ice Axe and ability to do an ice axe arrest
Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue Gear (2 prussiks, 1 long sling, pulley, 2 locking biners, 2 non-locking biners)
Sufficient water for a long day (you can refill near Taylor Lake on the way up & down)
Personal first aid kit
Rain gear & extra warm clothing, no matter what the weather forecast is
We park at the Taylor Lake trailhead, and follow the graded trail up to Taylor Lake. From there, we head toward O'Brien Lake but shortly leave the trail and head S to reach a notch below the base of the NE ridge. Easy hiking and scrambling leads to the start of the ridge proper. From there it's about 1.5km horizontal and 500m vertical of excellent ridge climbing with varying degrees of exposure. Depending on your comfort level, you can scramble the entire ridge unroped, or I can short-rope up to 2 participants. The normal descent is the scramble route. However we'll be checking out a descent via a snow-covered pocket glacier / couloir that descends from the W Ridge of Bell, toward Taylor Lake. Accordingly everyone will need to have glacier travel and crevasse rescue expertise. If the route doesn't look feasible we'll descend via the scramble route down to O'Brien Lake and around to Taylor Lake.