Mt Romulus

Journey to Mt. Romulus — July 2, 2006

Mt Romulus is found just outside of Bragg Creek on the Little Elbow/Big Elbow loop and is an excellent, albeit long, mountain for scrambling. The approach is long, the scramble is long and the views from the top are suitably long as well. This scramble actually started as a backpacking trip, a few of us hiked in to the Mt Romulus campground on Saturday and set up camp, enjoyed some time by the river and a good roaring camp-fire as well as the occasional bout of rain. The morning dawned clear with only a hint of the previous night’s rain in the sky and after a tasty breakfast most of the campers packed up and headed off home; but not before greating David who had biked in the 12km from the parking log.

Mt. Romulus on the left and Mt. Remus on the right

David and I set off towards Mt Romulus, waded the icy cold river, bushwacked through some solid undergrowth and plodded up a long ardous scree slope that lead to a rocky precipice. By now the wind and picked up and a smattering of rain was starting to fall, nothing serious, just enough to make the rock slippery and the tricky to deal with. We carried off across the rocky precipice and soon found the cairn that would lead us to the next section. Kane describes Mt Romulus as “having an annoying habit of going down when it should go up”, and this is exactly what it does. At the point we were at it dropped about 200m of elevation only to gain it on the other side of the very small valley.

Jon losing elevation with the summit of Romulus in the top right of the picture.

We grunted down the slope ad then back up the other side, it was some loose scree and some well packed rock, not a hard path for travelling on but we had been at it for quite some time by now and were rapidly losing steam. Romulus also has an annoying habit of hiding the summit from view so just as you’re thinking ” this is it, this is the summit this time” you’ll crest the hill and realize that you still have 300m to go before the summit! We eventually did make it up to the top and were greated with a rewarding view of the valley below us, Remus, Glasgow, and Banded Peak were all looking excellent; in the far distance we could also make out Assinniboine and Joffre snowcapped and forboding.

The clouds were starting to roil up behind us and we figured we’d better get off the mountain before the weather hit. We made it down the lost-elevation and back up the other side and just to the start of the rocky precipice section when the wind and rain hit. It was a fairly strong storm with rain lashing everying and wetting the rock down enough to make it really slippery. We quickly scrambled across the rocky section and down into the gully filled with scree as the storm picked up intensity and hammered us with rain and wind. Fortunately the storm blew itself out before long and we completed the bush whack and river-ford in relatively calm conditions. It wasn’t one of the most technical mountains of the summer, but with over 1500m elevation gain and nearly 8 hours it sure felt like one of the longest.