Mount Bell

I had decided to scramble up Mount Sparrowhawk. After checking the forecast however, I opted for Mount Bell since there are a number of lakes along the route and it was going to be very hot. There is some dispute on which approach is best for Bell, the Taylor Lake approach as described in Alan Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, or the Boom Lake approach (which Kane also mentions, but does not emphasize as the best option). As a photographer, the Taylor Lake route seemed more appealing, as it goes through more varied terrain. The day turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, as the total distance was in excess of 27 kilometres, the upper portion of the ridge beyond the pass required more route finding than I imagined, and I made time for a swim in Taylor Lake on the descent. All in all I would recommend this route, as O’Brien Lake and the meltwater ponds above it are truly spectacular!

The route begins just off the Trans Canada Highway north of Caste Junction, and follows the marked trail to Taylor Lake..
Early morning light over Castle Mountain
The hike becomes a scramble
O’Brien Lake – wow! Mount Bell is in the background
Circling around O’Brien Lake on its right side, you scramble along a waterfall to reach these upper meltwater ponds.. again, wow!
The route now takes us across a snowfield and up to the pass in the background. Don’t forget your ice axe!
From the pass, views to the West open up above Boom Lake
It felt like forever, but I eventually arrived at the true summit! I left the parking lot at 7:15am, and topped out around noon.
Another summit view to the north includes Mount Temple, Panorama Ridge, and one of the Consolation Lakes (among other things)
The line made by my bum glissading down the pass (ice axe crucial!)
A final alpine view from a different meltwater pond above O’Brien Lake
Pink Paintbrush (castilleja rhexifolia)

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