Coyote Hills

Summit Elevation (m): 2147
Elevation Gain (m): 700
Trip Date: Jan 18 2014
Round Trip Time (hr): 5
Total Trip Distance (km): 9
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: A good objective for the off season, winter is good due to low avy risk and a frozen creek.
GPS Track: Gaia
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps

On Saturday, January 18 2014 I was joined by a gaggle of friends for a snowshoe trip under an extremely warm, winter sun. Due to high avalanche risks all over the Rockies (all the way to the coast actually), we decided on a relatively low angle and hopefully snow free ascent. 

Coyote Hills Route Map

We scored on one of our objectives at least. Due to a mix-up with some of Marko’s friends, Raf, Wietse, Andrea and I ended up breaking trail to the summit with Marko, Amelie and company following. We decided that this was our anniversary present for Marko and Amelie since they just got engaged.

We parked as described in Nugara’s snowshoe book and followed his directions for approach. We found deep, unconsolidated snow and basically ended up waddling and wading to the summit! The warm temps also meant that the snow stuck to the bottom of our ‘shoes, adding an extra 5 pounds on each foot. It was a good workout.

The route is straightforward enough but the height gain is quite a bit more than indicated on Bob’s site and in the book. This is due to some elevation gains and losses en route. Care should be taken on the final summit slope as it is certainly steep enough to slide if conditions are conducive. You have the option of staying in thicker trees which is the safe line of ascent but the snow will likely be horrible in here, thanks to wind loading and facetting.

Looking west towards the High Rock Range including Armstrong, MacLaren, Strachan and Muir.
Summit pano looking north and east to Muir, Mist, Head, Cat Creek Hills, Junction, Holy Cross and Gunnery among others.

The view from the top of Coyote Hills is awesome. The divide peaks such as Etherington, Baril, Cornwell, Strachan and Muir are in the front row and begging to be explored and climbed. Mist Mountain is a massive pile of rock and cliffs far off to the north. Other front range peaks such as Raspberry Ridge, Gunnery Peak, Strawberry Hills, Holy Cross, Head, Plateau, Sentinel and Burke reminded us of some other off season hikes we’d done in the area.

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