After almost 2 months without a summit and a long family vacation which saw me drive over 5000 kilometers in 2.5 weeks, I was more than ready to get out to the solitude of the Rocky Mountains again! 🙂 Since I had just driven 10 hours the day before, coming back from visiting family in the Vancouver area, I decided that I would do something fairly low key on Thursday, July 19. I have wanted to hike Windtower for a long time already and this seemed like the perfect day to do just that, so I did.
On a late September day in 2011, Hanneke and I spent a few hours hiking the gorgeous Pocaterra Cirque and Ridge near the Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country. This area is known for its colorful larch displays and it didn’t disappoint! We enjoyed warm weather and calm winds.
I found myself with a few hours to kill so I did the quick drive out to the Dawson Equestrian Area, just off the Sibbald Creek Trail (hwy #68) on the Powderface Trail Road. The trail leaves near the entrance to the parking lot – a bit confusing but once you find it you should cross a bridge across the creek almost immediately. Take the first obvious trail off to your right (signed) and follow to the summit. I was expecting more people on such a fine late summer day and was a bit nervous hiking solo through the berry patches. When I started finding bear scat on the trail my energy increased a bit. 🙂
After hiking and scrambling up Boundary Peak near the Columbia Icefields, the kids and I took advantage of a beautiful late summer day and checked out the impressive Panther Falls, located near the Bridal Veil Falls parking area off Hwy #93 just uphill from the Big Bend.
Hanneke was in Edmonton for the weekend, so we decided to go for a pleasant Sunday afternoon hike with the kids, dog and I. The only place free enough of snow on this gorgeous weekend was McConnell Ridge, so we gave that a try and it worked out beautifully.
After spending one of the most enjoyable and gorgeous fall days of my hiking / scrambling life the day before on Schaffer, McArthur Lake and All Souls Prospect, I woke up on Friday morning, the first day of October ready for another fantastic outing. I was hiking over frost-nipped ground by around 07:30 after breakfast and an excellent cup of Starbucks instant coffee. The air was crisp and cool but the sky was clear and I felt great after a pretty good sleep in the hut.
As part of a peaceful and relaxing solo hiking trip to the Lake O’Hara region in 2010, I scrambled up Mount Schaffer early in the day on the 30th of September in perfect weather conditions. After checking out McArthur Lake (stunning) I had the rest of the day to explore part of the so-called Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit, a gorgeous series of trails staring near the Lake O’Hara lodge and working its way up past Mary and Moor Lakes to Hungabee and Opabin Lakes before looping back around the upper Opabin Plateau and along Yukness Mountain’s south and west flank towards Lake Oesa.
On Friday, September 25 2010 Hanneke and I did a nice hiking circuit in Lake Louise. Our route took us to Lake Agnes, over The Beehive and down to the Plain of Six Glaciers trail back to the parking lot. The Beehive is not a tough scramble by any means, but it does involve some elevation gain and consequently some very sublime views.
While in BC for a family wedding my father-in-law suggested that the ‘boys’ should go bag a peak somewhere. Well, since I’m a prolific peakbagger I couldn’t resist this chance! At first the idea was to climb Golden Ears. Once I researched that scramble I realized that our group did not have the necessary experience or gear to attempt this objective.
On Saturday, May 15 I was joined by Wietse and Sonny on a bit of an exploratory trip in the Livingstone range in Kananaskis Country. We drove up an old logging road (start @N 50 5.522, W 114 25.942) with the intent of parking somewhere between Sheep Mountain and Horseshoe Ridge and bagging both summits from the parking area at the pass.
I was looking forward to a solo trip after a few busy family weekends in March 2010. On the 27th I got my chance and I grabbed it. Since the avalanche rating was high and the snow conditions complex, I abandoned my plan for a ski trip and turned to some different hiking options instead. With new snow in the front ranges west of Calgary I realized that I would be driving south for my solitude.
After descending Hornecker we were staring at the steep south ascent slopes of Windy Peak. We grunted up the slope and were soon battling very strong wind (what did we expect right?!) to the 5th summit of the day. Windy Peak is just a hike, but we had great views of some cloud formations coming over the Rockies to the west and a little bit of wind wasn’t ruining our day any!
Due to route choices, JW, Keith and I actually did about 75-100 extra meters of height gain on this small peak. Ironically we were trying to avoid bushwhacking and JW and I ended up in some very thick and thorny trees! We dipped all the way down to the col between Windy Peak and Hornecker, instead of cutting climber’s left much earlier.
My 200th summit!! OK – not a very impressive summit but it’s a milestone that I’m quite proud of. Not many folks get up 100 summits in their lifetime and I was about to stand on my 200th! In order to get 200 summits you have to burn a LOT of calories, walk a LOT of kms and take a LOT of extra breaths! It’s also been a lot of adventures and a lot time spent pondering life and it’s many aspects.
On Saturday, October 18th 2008 Wietse, Naomi and I tagged the summit of Loaf Mountain in the East Castle area, just north of Waterton National Park. Due to a seasonal closure of the road that leads to the normal trail head, we had to walk an additional 4 km each way from a locked gate. This resulted in more exercise but also prevented us from bagging more than one peak, simply because time and energy wouldn’t allow for it. You can do Spionkop Ridge along with Loaf if you have the energy / time. You can also to Drywood Mountain and Loaf if you’re so inspired.
To get to Og Mountain, we first had to hike along the Windy Ridge trail from the Assiniboine Lodge area and our Naiset hut. After getting some sublime morning sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine early in the day, it was nice to walk past it again in full day light. With a plume of snow peeling off it’s lofty 11,871 foot summit it looked incredibly huge and intimidating.
Not much to say here! This is a good hike to take the family on – including the family dog! 😉 It’s only 700 meters of height gain and you can probably go up any time of the year.
After hiking Mount Burke the day before we were ready for a longer day on Saturday. Wietse and I thought that we would hike Raspberry Ridge in the morning when the snow was hard and then hike Gunnery Peak in the afternoon since it looked snow free from the highway.
On the third day we got up early and continued up and across Northover Ridge before descending into the Three Isle Creek valley towards Three Isle Lake. On the way we decided to bag McHarg and Worthington.
In September of 2006 I was joined by cousin Jon and brother Rod on an unforgettable backpacking trip over Northover Ridge. We weren’t satisfied with just a strenuous 35km and vertical mile backpack though – no, we were determined to also bag a number of Kane peaks along the way.
It all started with Linda Breton planning a group trip to the Stanley Mitchell hut in hopes of having a more successful outing than the group trip last year.
The only Kane scramble in the Skoki that was left after 3 days of scrambling was Redoubt Mountain. Jon, Rod and I packed up our camp at Baker Lake early on Thursday morning, September 8 2005 to head for Boulder Pass.
A very frosty morning of September 7 2005 found Rod, Jon and I hiking out of our Baker Lake back country campsite to tackle a long day of scrambling more peaks in the Skoki region of Banff National Park.
Jon, Rod and I scrambled Mount Richardson under a cloudy, snowy sky on September 5. The weather didn’t look very promising at first and for most of our ascent we had no idea where the actual summit was!
Summit Elevation (m): 2462 Trip Date: Friday, April 15, 2005 Round Trip Time (hr): unknown Elevation Gain (m): 920 Total Trip Distance (km): 8 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something Difficulty Notes: Easy scrambling on a good trail. The hardest part might be driving to the trailhead. GPS Track: Download GPX File Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Hiking) Map: Google Maps I’ve wanted to scramble Black Rock Mountain for a long time. It just has a […]