Tent Mountain

Summit Elevation (m): 2607
Trip Date: April 16, 2017
Elevation Gain (m): 1050
Round Trip Time (hr): 4.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 8
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: When dry I’m sure this is a moderate scramble at most. When snow covered this is more of a snowshoe mountaineering objective, especially near the summit.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia

On Sunday, April 16, 2017, I joined Phil R, Raf K and Taras for an easy snowshoe ascent of Tent Mountain. This mountain is located along Corbin Road on the Continental Divide between AB and BC and has the dubious reputation for having some pretty ugly views of a former open pit coal mine that was in operation in the area from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, supplying the Japanese steel industry. We were hoping that the snow cover would add an interesting texture to the landscape, hopefully hiding some of the mine scars.

Tent Mountain Route Map

Phil and I drove from YYC and met Raf and Taras at the Tim’s along hwy 3 before making the short drive to Corbin Road and the parking area on the shoulder of the road. There is a trailhead wooden sign nailed to a tree so you know when you’re at the right starting point. We screwed up a bit and decided to park a bit further north on the road, but any of the myriad of exploration roads will probably work.

Shoeing up the approach road with Michel Head at center distance and Michel Ridge at right.

The weather was gorgeous as we easily snowshoed up the rock hard frozen snow on the road. For once we weren’t post holing – a rarity this winter! Maybe spring is finally in the air (and the snowpack)? Birds were chirping a serenade as we made our way up.

I took a shortcut off the never ending switchbacking road we were on which dumped me at the summit about 15 minutes earlier than the others. The views on this hike are pretty much nonexistent until you finally pop onto the highest point – and then they are pretty darn stunning! Even the mine didn’t look terrible with it’s fresh coat of snow. It is amazing what humans can do with machines.

We lingered a long time at the summit, enjoying the sunshine and the views of many peaks that I’d never heard of before. Mount Ptolemy certainly got our attention across Ptolemy Pass. Other obvious peaks were Harrison and Washburn. Three Sisters were visible towards Fernie and Erikson was just north of us. Obviously Crowsnest and the Seven Sisters were also very prominent, as were Phillips Peak and Mount Tecumseh. After an hour on the summit we reluctantly turned back to the descent.

The snow was still pretty supportive on descent – especially considering how warm it got.

While Phil and I were driving out along the Corbin Road we met Dave Salahub returning from his Loop Ridge ski excursion. We gave him a lift back to his car. I’m always amazed how often I run into fellow peakbaggers in the middle of nowhere. All in all, I would recommend Tent Mountain as a winter snowshoe ascent for the best views. I would also recommend that if you’re a peakbagger and driving all the way from YYC you should consider adding a second objective to an otherwise very short day.

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