Most recent trip: September 11, 2015 (with Geoff Hardy)
Trip time: 6 hours 20 mins
Elevation Gain: 1,578m
Difficulty: Difficult with a few tricky spots and sweet exposure
(from Oct 24, 2013)
The magnificent sustained vistas of Mount McGillivray make this trip a must-do. The North Buttress looks incredibly imposing and it’s hard to believe there is a way up around the backside. The view from the scree bowls is just as awe inspiring and the unique terrain will keep you interested for the hours you’ll be spending there.
Multiple route possibilities exist pretty much the entire way so it’s a good idea to bring your ‘More Scrambles In The Canadian Rockies’ book with you…you may be referring to it often as I did (p.175). That being said the route description is excellent and if you carefully follow instructions you should make it without issue.
One note of caution: Nugara warns about the loose rock under the North Buttress and he isn’t kidding. I managed to dislodge a large solid chunk (while descending from the difficult route back to the final scree traverse) that took a bite out of my head, arm and then leg. I was very lucky to come away with only flesh wounds but it could have been a whole lot worse.
If you have the energy completing a traverse of the entire ridge is highly recommended as the views from the top of the North Buttress are actually more significant than those from the actual summit (owing to the huge sheer vertical drop). From the true summit to the North Butress ridge end plateau is only about a 30-45 min trip and is only moderately difficult for two short sections (much easier than say Lady Mac or Burstall, similar to The Wedge).