Summit Elevations (m): 2229 (North Summit), 2332 (Ridge, Summit)
Trip Date: Sunday, August 29, 2021
Elevation Gain (m): 1050
Round Trip Time (hrs): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 23
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your ego and your pinkie and should probably tie your shoelaces.
Difficulty Notes: The trails lower down might be confusing but once you find the main one across the Elbow River you’re golden. Once off the north summit the trail is only intermittent but with Gaia loaded up on your phone you will (should) have no issues finding the various highpoints.
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
I was hoping to take advantage of one of the nicest, clearest days of August 2021 with a big trip on Sunday the 29th but alas, my body wouldn’t allow it. After almost 5 weeks absence from mountains and then a big day with Cornelius on Aldridge and Courcelette the day before, my body was letting me know that if I pushed it too hard I’d regret it for my favorite month of the year – September. I couldn’t simply sit at home either though, so I finally pulled the trigger on a front range peak sitting in my backyard only ~45 minutes from my house. I’ve been saving Forgetmenot Mountain for years now, waiting for a day when I want to do something but not anything too strenuous or far from home. I guess August 29th, 2021 was as good a day as any to do this hike!
Last time I attempted this route I was stymied by a deep and fast flowing Elbow River and ended up on North Glasgow and Garriochmill Peak instead (a nice backup plan). This time I was happy to note that the Elbow River didn’t even require wet shoes to get across. There is a somewhat confusing network of trails to get to the north end of the ridge leading up to Forgetmenot but after crossing the Elbow River things cleared up and I followed first a road and then a good trail (pink ribbon) up the NW ridge leading steeply upward.
The weather was fantastic as I followed a highway in scree to the upper NW ridge and got my first views to the north summit of Forgetmenot. I hiked along the broad ridge crest following a mostly obvious trail through some trees before I branched to my left to ascend the north peak.
The winds were calm and the sun was warm as I hiked the last few steps to a large cairn with a dog memorial at the north summit. Views were awesome in the clear morning air and I enjoyed recalling many of my earliest hikes and peaks from 20 years ago when I first discovered the Rockies for myself after moving from Manitoba.
After snapping a bunch of photos I turned my attention to the VERY distant looking Forgetmenot Ridge. The good news for me was that the weather was so nice it made the hiking an absolute pleasure. Many of my friends have saved this easy peak for bad conditions, which makes sense, but hiking it in perfect conditions was pretty nice too. I was a bit surprised by the fall color already coming out in the vegetation along the ridge.
There was an easy scrambling option up a short NE abutment ridge to the NW end of Forgetmenot Ridge which was fun and scenic. The trails from the north summit were intermittent but the route is (should be) fairly obvious. I was whistling as I hiked over loose rock / small boulders to the summit of the ridge. I stopped whistling as I glanced south to the far off summit of Forgetmenot Mountain but soon realized I wasn’t in a rush and after snapping summit photos from the ridge I slowly wandered down towards the “mountain”.
The hike from the ridge to the “mountain” (really there is only a ridge here) was pretty easy and pleasant. I did get slightly annoyed at a section of loose rocks / boulders near the shallow col between the ridge and the peak as they slowed me down and threw off my gait as this terrain tends to do. Soon I was hiking up to the high point on the peak and being buzzed by a heli for some reason. The chopper thankfully moved on and soon it was just me (and a couple of other hikers further along the peak) and some damn fine scenery. I enjoyed a late lunch before reluctantly turning to the long hike back.
The descent went smoothly and the weather only improved as I hiked back down the long north ridge and the steep lower NW ridge to the trail below.
By the time I was enjoying views over a busy Forgetmenot Pond (lots of SUPs dotting its surface) the sun was scorching hot and I was wondering if I should apply more sunscreen. Thankfully the Elbow River was still shallow.
I enjoyed this easy hike and highly recommend it for folks who don’t mind some minor routefinding and covering 20+ kms as well as crossing one or two unbridged rivers (depends on approach). If you’re there on a gorgeous day like I was, you might find yourself wondering if you should be lounging around on a paddleboard on Forgetmenot Pond instead of sweating your way down a loose ridge line!