Summit Elevations (m): 1704, 1740, 1736, 1755, 1707
Trip Date: Monday, November 11, 2019
Round Trip Time (hr): 6.5
Elevation Gain (m): 965
Total Trip Distance (km): 17.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: An easy ramble up and down a bunch of treed foothills made very slightly harder with snow.
Technical Rating: OT2/3; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
There’s a point in the Fall when objectives are whittled down to those normally uninspiring front range hills that so many of us have spent hours tramping up and down while questioning our sanity. Wietse Bylsma has a tradition that he started many years ago where he hikes / scrambles / climbs / skies a new objective on Remembrance Day each year – no matter the conditions. For 2019 we had a number of objectives lined up but had to dial them back for various reasons until finally we ended up on the so-called “Sibbald Five”. Who called them that? Obviously this would be Dave Salahub – the emperor of the Rockies front ranges. Dave has not only hiked and snowshoed pretty much every named front range summit between Waterton and Jasper but has done many of them multiple times over the years.
I’m not going to make it sound like the Sibbald Five is a wonderful, classic traverse that should be on everyone’s list of objectives, but I will say that it was a good day out in nature with friends. We enjoyed ankle to knee deep snow from the Sibbald Lake parking lot throughout the circuit.
Snowshoes were donned once in a while, but weren’t strictly necessary. I carried mine on my pack from Sibbald Ridge onwards. We chatted and passed bits of wisdom back and forth all day including a classic one-liner from Dave that pretty much sums up the depth of our thought on this particular day;
If you don’t get old it means you’re dead.
Classic Dave, delivered with an elegance that only he can deadpan with any sort of authority. Dave also thinks that there’s a phd awaiting some psychology student somewhere with a study of people who simultaneously aspire to peaks like Mount Columbia and front-range bushy affairs such as the ones we slog in the off season.
It was kind of funny that we ended up with 5 named summits after planning only 4, but this was also courtesy of Dave who was having a banner day. As we took a short break on top of Eagle Hill he mused that “Seventy Buck isn’t far out of the way” – instantly adding it to the itinerary to his chagrin. Remember – Dave had already done all of these bumps and some of them multiple times!
We were on trails of varying size and clarity most of the day. The only exceptions were a short bushwhack up the clearcut on Seventy Buck’s NE slope after descending from Eagle Hill and another bushwhack up the west slopes of Deer Ridge from hwy 68.
Views were actually not horrible from some of the high points including Eagle, Seventy Buck and Deer Ridge. Ironically most of the best views were off the named summits and the high point of the day was just north of the named high point on Seventy Buck.
This was a day characterized by clean, crisp mountain air and lots of discussion and laughter rather than soaring mountain vistas or challenging terrain. Sometimes explor8ions such as these are just as enjoyable and therapeutic as the bigger ones and just as necessary for the soul.