Summit Elevation (m): 2118
Trip Date: November 22 2014
Elevation Gain (m): 850
Round Trip Time (hr): 5.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 16
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you might sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Easy hiking, some basic route finding.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
On Saturday, November 22 2014, Wietse and I finally managed to get another trip in together. It’s been a while since we managed to clear our schedules and match objectives so it was nice to get out again. Our destination was two small front range summits in the Bluerock Provincial Park area of Kananaskis west of Turner Valley up the Gorge Creek Road. When I did Missinglink and Dot Mountain exactly one year previous in 2013, the Gorge Creek road was still washed out near the start. It is now filled back in and goes a few more kilometers to a parking area on the west side of the road (you are forced into this parking lot by a barricade across the road).
We had no trouble finding the path along Gorge Creek and followed instructions in Gillean Daffern’s excellent Hiking Guide on the area (I think we used trails 56 and 56A). We noticed right away that Gillean mentions a few alternate descent options from Ware, including Surveyor Ridge and Little Ware. We didn’t think we’d have time for Surveyor, so we opted to try Little Ware instead. The approach trail along Gorge Creek was pretty mild, but there are plenty of ups and downs to keep you alert. There was a bridge where we needed it, and we did cross the frozen creek a few times before cutting up through the forest after going through an open gate along a fence line crossing the trail (note: it’s not right after the gate – that’ll get you to Little Ware). The forest was essentially nonexistent compared to some of the bushwhacks we’ve done and the weather was very pleasant as we gained height.
The summit bump was a bit steeper but the views of Bluerock Mountain kept us entertained until we arrived at the giant summit cairn in a stiff, cold wind. Throughout the approach the mountains to the west were slowly disappearing in snow and cloud, so rather than wait around for the front, we snapped some photos and made a quick descent towards Little Ware.
We made a bee-line for Little Ware, finding smattering trails every once in a while. Soon we were looking back at Mount Ware from the diminutive summit of Little Ware. A few photos later and we plunged down southwest slopes into open forest and arrived back at the approach trail right near the fence / gate. Overall a nice fast (just over 5 hours) trip with excellent views to the west including Shunga-la-she, Burns, Bluerock, Rose and Threepoint Mountains. Highly recommended for late season – remember the Gorge Creek approach road is closed on December 1!