Mount Aylmer, Canada

Mt Aylmer

Mt Aylmer

Mount Aylmer is a significant peak in the Palliser Range of the Canadian Rockies near Banff, measuring 3162 m, 10375 ft. Its proper name is Minnewanka Mountain [pronounced men-a-won-ka] or Spirit Mountain. It was first climbed in 1890 by JJ McArthur, a resident of Aylmer, Quebec.

The climb is rated as a moderate scramble from the SW, around 5000ft of climbing from the a campsite at Lake Minnewanka, so just within my abilities – roughly on a par with the Carn Mor Dearg approach to Ben Nevis, which I climbed in 2012. There’s an excellent record of an ascent by Bob Spirko.

Andrei Frolov of the University of Alberta took the picture below from the summit, looking down Lake Minnewanka. He gives this further information:

“Mt Aylmer is located above Minnewanka lake, some fifteen kilometres from the Banff townsite, in Alberta, Canada. … It is the highest peak in Banff National Park, and so has a grand view from the top. You can see all the twenty-kilometre stretch of the Minnewanka lake, and rows upon rows of mountains in the Front Ranges and Great Divide. I thought I spotted familiar shapes of mountains near Lake Louise (about 50km away), but maybe lack of oxygen made me imagine things. The climb is physically demanding (with 1600m elevation gain in a day), but not technically complicated.

“Beyond the Aylmer pass [2285m], and outside of Banff National park, lies Ghost wilderness, and at the end of Minnewanka lake there’s Devil’s Gap and a series of smaller lakes called Ghost lakes. The Indians believed the whole area to be mystical, and according to the legends, a strange creature (spirit?) lived (or still lives?) in Minnewanka lake. Hence the ghost-related names of things in the vicinity. I don’t know how Indians called it before, but the mountain stood there long before the time of men, and will stand for ages still …”

View from the summit

View from the summit

For more information and photography, see the Canada’s Mountains and Peaks of the Candian Rockies websites.