I meet the same folks time and again and have run into more friends here than anywhere else in the Rockies. And why not? It’s about 45 minutes west of my house, boasts 650m of height gain and only takes around 1.5 hours in decent conditions.
As my habit has been over the past few weeks, I found myself driving west of YYC towards the Rockies front ranges after work on March 11. Snow squalls were busy making the roads slick and wet and the weather wasn’t inspiring.
I could feel myself losing motivation to ascend Prairie Mountain in 80 kph winds after work on Tuesday, March 10 2020. Even the day before I was really forcing myself to leave the city and drive west yet again after work.
Since I now live in SW Calgary and am essentially neighbors with Wietse, we can do things like drive 45 minutes west and hike meaningless little bumps such as the Mustang Hills.
An easy ramble along a number of front range foothills with some surprising views and a lot of unsurprising non-views.
It’s been roughly 15 years (!!) since I tackled the main summit of Mount Baldy and 8 since tackling the west summit. I don’t like repeats if there’s other options but on this particular day in June 2019 I decided it had been long enough and it was time for some updated photos and some exercise.
On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Wietse and I finally completed a nice front range hiking / scrambling loop that I’ve been eyeing up for several years. The loop starts with an pleasant hike / easy scramble up Porcupine Ridge before leading over moderate terrain to a few more summits west of Tiara Peak. From just north of Tiara’s summit the route ascends to Boundary Peak along an undulating Boundary Ridge before finishing off with a nice moderate scramble over Midday and Midnight Peaks.
Summit Elevation (m): 2310Trip Date: Sunday, May 13, 2018Elevation Gain (m): 850Round Trip Time (hr): 7Total Trip Distance (km): 15.5Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your wristDifficulty Notes: Almost all the scrambling sections on this ridge can be avoided. This is mainly a hike with some routefinding if you do the loop like we did. There are options for difficult scrambling. GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words On Saturday while driving back to YYC with Wietse after scrambling Cougar Peak, I […]
Summit Elevation (m): 2066Trip Date: Friday, May 4, 2018Elevation Gain (m): 1050Round Trip Time (hr): 8.5Total Trip Distance (km): 22.5Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you’re stupidDifficulty Notes: No difficulties other than some routefinding and choosing the right conditions (early or late season).GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words There isn’t a ton to say about this hike to be honest with you. Phil and I were planning a much “sexier” peak for Friday, May the 4th (be with you), […]
I’ve been planning to take my daughter, Kaycie up a mountain to bivy over night on the summit for a while now. The perfect opportunity seemed to arise on Friday, May 23 when rumors of a spectacular meteor event started circulating social media and the news cycle. The Camelopardalid meteor shower was a rare astronomical event – a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness a potential of up to 1000 meteors / hour!! (As a comparison, the common Perseids have a rate of around 100 / hour.)
After talking to Steven and Wietse about their recent trips up Powderface Ridge (Steven ‘shoed and Wietse skied) I decided that with avalanche danger too high again, I had to so something – even if it was just another easy objective. I’ve been getting some smack talk lately from friends on my “lowly objectives” this winter. I know it’s all in good nature, but trust me – I’d rather be off bagging some more serious stuff. I made a pact with my wife a few years ago when she started catching on to the fact that a lot of people were dying each year doing exactly what I do – backcountry skiing. The pact was simple. I would not intentionally go into the backcountry if avalanche ratings were ‘considerable’ or higher for that area. Period. No exceptions, unless I’m out for a few days and the danger spikes while I’m out there. Ironically this year I even bought an avalanche air pack to make things even safer, but the ratings have been too high almost every weekend.
After reading that Jose and Fabrice had kindly set down a ‘shoe track on Volcano Peak in late March 2013, I decided that Good Friday would be the perfect opportunity to do a solo trip on a beautiful spring day on their hard-won trail to finally finish off the ‘grand traverse’. I was right! Volcano Peak can be done as part of the “grand traverse” from Wasootch all the way to Volcano, passing over GR338442, Kananaskis Peak.
Summit Elevation (m): 2728Elevation Gain (m): 1800Round Trip Time (hr): 10Total Trip Distance (km): 20Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 3 – You fall you break somethingDifficulty Notes: There are some moderate scrambling sections (especially when snow covered) on the ridge traverse from Old Baldy towards Mount McDougall. Note: I got lost twice on this outing which accounts for all the extra height gain.GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)Map: Google Maps On my last week off in the first week of October I decided […]
On Saturday, January 7 2011 I joined Raf, Wietse, Marcel and Greg for a front range scramble up Kananaskis Peak in (this will be hard to fathom), Kananaskis. Why were we scrambling instead of skiing? I’m not sure, to be perfectly honest. Maybe it was all the avalanche fatalities over the past week or maybe it was the spring-link weather that Calgary has been getting, but I was more in the mood for a scramble and obviously so were the other 4 guys so that’s exactly what we did!
I’ve wanted to scramble Mount Bryant for a while already. We’d gone past the mountain back when we scrambled Mount Howard and I met So Nakagawa for the first time afterwards – he’d just come back from Bryant. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular but I was very pleasantly surprised by this outing. First of all, it felt quite remote. I stopped several times in the creek bed on approach and listened to the sound of silence – a very pleasant sound. The creek approach is also surprisingly fun and easy, thanks to a great trail that runs along the sides.
I don’t have very many (any?) GR’s in my summit log. (Grid References, or unnamed summits). The reason is obvious – without a named summit it’s hard for others to relate what the heck you’re referring to if you simply reference a number! Lately I’ve been reconsidering this logic. I actually like going up obscure peaks and out-of-the-way spots and calling everything by it’s GR might be kind of fun… 😉
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. 🙂
On Sunday, June 12 2011 I decided that I needed a break from work and headed off to the mountains for some “me” time. I had an idea in the back of my mind that if the weather looked decent I would attempt a short, but difficult, scramble out of Andrew Nugara’s book – Mount Baldy via the West Ridge. As I drove into K-country I noticed that the weather was cooperating. There was a mix of sun and cloud with some scattered showers but nothing too dramatic.
On Remembrance Day, November 11, 2009 I joined Bill Kerr, Wietse Bylsma and Kelly Smith for a hike up Mount Howard in Kananaskis Country in the front ranges of the Alberta Rockies.
On Saturday, January 12 2008 I bagged my first peak of the new year. Wasootch Peak is not a glamorous or lofty goal, but it was good exercise and considering it’s mid-January and I was solo, it was a great day out.
On November 24th 2007, Wietse and I dragged ourselves out of bed way too early and headed out to the Powderface Trail and the parking area for Tiara Peak and Belmore Brown.
I had a score to settle with Mount Romulus, so when TJ mentioned on the web board that he was going to be attempting it on Friday, November 2 2007, I decided that work could wait. Kevin Papke and Bill Kerr also decided that their work could wait, so we all hooked up on Friday morning and drove two vehicles with our bikes, to the Big Elbow Loop trail head.
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.
Summit Elevation (m): 3053 Trip Date: Saturday, September 2, 2006 Elevation Gain (m): 1570 Round Trip Time (hr): 10.5 Total Trip Distance (km): 28 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 4 – you fall, you break something or worse Difficulty Notes: Climber’s scramble on low 5th class, loose terrain. People have fallen to their death on this mountain so treat it seriously. GPS Track: Download GPX File Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th) Map: Google Maps On Saturday, September 02 2006, Raf, Jason […]
October 30, 2005 found the RMB Kane Troopers attempting to bag yet another peak before winter could prevent such outings for another season. A bunch of us (9) decided to meet at the trail head, around 0830 on Saturday morning.