Sibbald Five, The

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. 

The Sibbald Five Route Map

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.

Hiking the ridge between Sibbald and Grouse Ridge.

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.

Back on trail towards Eagle Hill.

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!

Ascending the trail towards Eagle Hill.
Views towards the eastern Rockies from the summit of Eagle Hill. Yamnuska at distant right.

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.

Off-roading up Seventy Buck. This was by far the worst bushwhacking of the day.
Summit views from the high point on Seventy Buck with Yamnuska at c-l and Eagle Hill at right.
Views from Seventy Buck up hwy 68 towards Mount Lougheed.
Hiking down hwy 68 towards Deer Ridge (L).

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.

Views from the lookout on Deer Ridge to Moose Mountain and Lusk Ridge (R).

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. 

8 thoughts on Sibbald Five, The

  1. Even with ” not horrible views “, it’s better to be away from the air, electronic and noise pollution.
    I am planning to snowshoe Storethusa next Saturday, maybe you’ll be coming along?
    Shall be parking around 9AM at the trailhead for Arethusa

          • Yeah it makes sense.
            BTW Bob Spirko on his Arethusa pass hike mentioned he’d spoken with some folks about highwood area they’re considering putting some limits on it due to worries about grizzlies being stressed out by the growing numbers of people.
            Imagine that.

  2. Thanks for the trip idea Vern! Was going to do Eagle Hill and Deer ridge but we found your trip report and decided to go for it. Bypassed Deer Ridge at the end as a couple members in our group were too tired. The Sibbald Four ain’t too bad though!

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