Summit Elevation (m): 1935
Elevation Gain (m): 575
Round Trip Time (hr): 3
Total Trip Distance (km): 8.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you sprain your ego
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties. May need snowshoes if you do it in late November but the slopes get wind blasted and are usually clear.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
On Friday, November 22 2013 I decided to mosey my way down to Sheep River Provincial Park for a shot at a front range peak that had caught my interest when Bob Spirko did it a few years previous. It’s been a while since I was down this way and I forgot how striking the peaks in the Sheep River area are – especially on the drive into the park. The weather was a chilly -14 in Calgary but by the time I got to the parking area along the road it was only -2 in a very warm sunshine!
The Gorge Creek road was closed so that added an extra 1km and some height gain to the trip – but it was easy walking so I didn’t mind. The weather was glorious and it felt great to be back out after a few weekends of cold and wintry weather stuck in the house. It was pretty darn obvious why the road was closed – the bridge had been decimated in the June floods. I wonder when or if it will be fixed? Obviously there’s no active drilling in the area or it would be fixed already.
As I started up the obvious grass slope I noticed a fairly large group just at the top of it. I thought that was strange since there’s no obvious trail and I didn’t think THAT many people hiked this mountain. I left the snowshoes in the truck after noticing that the slopes were all snow-free on the southwest aspect and this was a good decision for the most part. Once I topped out on the ridge I followed a recently broken trail all the way to the summit. The first part of the ridge is the nicest by far. I found the last 2/3 of the ridge a bit under whelming considering the elevation changes (that’s why my total height gain is much more than Bob’s) and views. If you don’t care about peaks I wouldn’t bother going any further than the open ridge – the views don’t change much from there anyway and you’re in for quite a bit of (easy) bush.
At the summit I thanked a school group from Black Diamond for breaking my trail before heading back. The weather was gorgeous all day and I loved the views west. This is a short but well worthwhile objective for the off season. The Sheep River road closes December 01 though – so you have to get in there before then.