Done as a day-hike, this takes about 8 hours. But the dramatic scenery warrants several days. Stay for at least one night at each of Cobalt Lake and Applebee Camp.
Day 1: Cobalt Lake Trail
Elevation gain: 3000’ to ridge then descend 500’ to lake
Key elevations: TH 5100’; Ridge 2469m (8100’); Cobalt Lake 2317m (7600’)
Distance: 6km one-way to lake
Time: 3-4 hours one-way
Access: Any vehicle
Season: mid-July to mid-September.
Map: 82K/10 Howser Creek and 82K/15 Bugaboo Creek
Camp on shores of Cobalt Lake – a beautiful spot with Bugaboo Spire poking up through the col.
Northpost Spire 2910m 9550’: 1950 feet elevation gain.
1. North Ridge/Northeast Rocks
From the lake scramble ridge following line of least resistance to summit blocks. Traverse to the NE and scramble easy rocks to the summit.
Stay 2 nights at Cobalt Lake
Day 2: Continue Traverse – all off-trail until Applebee Dome Camp.
Immediate destination is the pass below Brenta Spire, SW of the end of the lake. Pass Cobalt Lake on the south shore scrambling up and over the rocks and boulders. At the end of the lake, turn left and climb up to the col between Cobalt Lake Spire and Brenta Spire. The glacier has greatly retreated and poses no crevasse risk. But still it is best to travel around its west end.
Cobalt Lake Spire 2667m 8750’
On the easternmost edge of the cirque that encircles Cobalt Lake. It has a rubble-strewn appearance. Three ridges descend from the summit.
1. North Ridge. Gain west ridge at saddle near Brenta Spire’s S Ridge. Scramble ridge to steep 300-foot headwall. Ascend to the left, three pitches, to upper N Ridge. Scramble to summit.
Brenta Spire 2942m 9650’
Brenta Spire dominates the cirque above Cobalt Lake. It is part of the ridge that extends north to Northpost Spire and south and east to connect indirectly with Cobalt Lake Spire. Brenta’ summit block is the only feature that resembles a spire.
1. South Ridge. Class II. Access the Brenta-Crescent Col. Scramble ridge to summit.
2. North Spire. Traverse N ridge from Northpost spire.
At the col, sit up on the rocks and scope out your route. Descend from the col down the boulders heading SE towards the end of the lake. Before the lake, turn south up the rock/boulder strewn gully. Climb up to the top of the gully west of Eastpost spire and a small tarn.
Applebee Camp is up and to the left. Views are stupendous, worth at least 2 days?
Day 3: Stay 2 nights at Applebee Dome Camp. Explore the area, or climb Eastpost Spire.
Eastpost Spire 2697m 8850’
The south face is a sheer 800 foot diamond-shaped headwall.
1. NE Ridge. Class II. Ascend moraine slopes above Applebee Dome to Crescent-Eastpost Saddle. Cross this rocky pass to gain snow fields on the north slopes of Eastpost. Scramble col to summit. Time 2.5hours from Kain Hut. Descent: Down-climb ascent route or NW Ridge.
2. NW Ridge. Class II. Approach same as for NE Ridge. At saddle, scramble block-strewn slabs to narrow ridge crest. Follow ridge crest and join NE Ridge. Scramble to summit.
Day 4. Camp at Boulder Camp near the Conrad Kain Hut or hike out the trail to the parking lot. Refer to Conrad Kain Hut Trail:
Elevation loss/gain: 700m
Distance: 5km one-way