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Tag : LT1000

Fortress South Outlier

As I wandered back along first the small Headwall Lakes trail and then the much larger Snowdrift trail to the Chester Lake parking lot I reflected on all my 2021 scrambles and trips and the ideas that I’m considering regarding explor8ion and lifting all of the restrictions I put in place last year. For me it’s come to a point where being grumpy and upset about others using, or even overusing and/or oversharing (whatever that means) the landscape gets more tiring and depressing than the actions themselves.

Smutwood Peak

I loved this hike even more than I thought I would. Sure! It’s overused and over photographed and definitely overshared but that doesn’t change the fact that I had a wonderful time with my daughter enjoying some of the best views of my year from this lowly objective. And that’s what it all comes down to in the end isn’t it? Sharing nature and fresh air while exercising with loved ones and being amazed over and over with stunning views of wild landscapes in all directions. The fact that thousands of others have shared this experience shouldn’t lessen it but should encourage us to seek out new experiences rather than going back to the same ones over and over. I won’t be back to Smutwood in the fall any time soon but I sure am thankful for this particular trip.

Apparition Mountain

I enjoyed the ascent of Apparition Mountain very much. The early evening lighting, the sneaky route through the cliffs and the exposed ridge walk near the summit block all added up to more engagement than I expected when planning this scramble. At less than 2.5 hours round trip from a camp at Spectral Lakes it’s an obvious no-brainer for anyone brave enough to stay overnight in such a ghost themed area!

Bramwell, Mount (+ Hummingbird Ridge)

The Bighorn Backcountry from Tinda to David Thompson Country is a very special place. There are open valleys with grasses gently swaying in the winds coming off the high ranges to the west. There are bubbling brooks and gushing streams. There are waterfalls and little tarns, sparkling like gems in the vast landscape. There are open ridges, small hills and towering peaks. We are privileged beyond telling to be able to enjoy such a pristine, beautiful and wild area.

Ram Mountain (Lookout)

I loved the Ram Mountain hike and will likely repeat it again some day with family or friends if I’m in the area. The views are far reaching and the hiking is easy and consistent grade all the way up to the upper mountain.

Falls Lookout

It’s for good reasons that me and my friends are spending time in the Ram / Clearwater areas. Despite being a long drive, it’s really no longer than most hwy 93 objectives and despite not having glaciers, this area has a remote feel to it and wonderful views over many creeks and rivers.

Onion Peak

Without a doubt, Onion Peak was our favorite of the three summits we did this day. With a round trip time of only around 4 hours (with bike approach), this is a half day objective if you do the more direct route rather than Cornelius’ route. The ascent was fun on snow and the views are stunning from the summit, which is the highest in the area (higher than Sufi, Kista and Falls Lookout).

Bellevue Hill

I wasn’t in a hurry whatsoever as I started ascended scree / grass slopes on the east side of the SE ridge. Why should I be? I knew the hike would only take me ~3 hours and the weather was gorgeous as were my views. Waterton rarely disappoints in the views department, usually it’s the wind that puts a tiny damper in an otherwise sublime outdoor experience here.

Sparwood Ridge (Natal Lookout)

I had a nice day traveling in a “new” area with some unique views but there is enough route finding, bushwhacking and stumbling around on this ridge to justify perhaps waiting for the easier west access roads to dry off before tackling it.

Limestone Mountain (Lookout)

Limestone Mountain is definitely worth doing but likely not as a sole objective if you’re driving the 2.5-3 hours from Calgary to the trailhead. We were happy to do it as the primary summit – one that actually has great views.

Prairie Mountain (2020)

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.

Wolverine Ridge (+ Purple Mound)

Wolverine Ridge is a nice ski objective when the weather isn’t perfect or when you aren’t sure about snow conditions. There are enough sheltered and reasonably angled runs to be safe in all but the worst conditions and steeper options when conditions allow for it.

Burstall Pass (South)

It’s been a while since I skied to Burstall Pass. It used to be my go to spot for early season or shorter day trips but over the years we found many other spots and BP sort of dropped down the list. On a cold Monday in late December 2020, Wietse and I decided it was finally worth a repeat trip in our new ski gear that we bought way back in early November already.

Old Dutch Man Peak

Obviously a small “peak” like Old Dutch Man is never going to make any top 10 lists, but it certainly doesn’t make a bottom 10 either. 😉 As far as front and mid-range hikes goes, it’s a worthwhile late day or 1/2 day objective.

Fly Hill

Fly Hill is a classic “Spirko hike”. A front range bump with some great views, tiring mid-route height losses and gains and a questionable claim as a “summit” of any official status.

Vision Quest Ridge

Vision Quest was much more fun and scenic than I was expecting. It’s Prairie Mountain but with a nice lake (normally) in view and slightly more scrambling if you continue to the high point I did. I enjoyed it despite the smoke and the busy trail.

Coral Ridge

The upper part of the route was much more scenic and enjoyable than I was expecting. I really wished for better views of the lake here.

Allstones Ridge (Lake)

I liked this short hike. It’s a great family option too. Be aware of some hard-pack dirt to the summit that folks in runner might not enjoy if they’re not used to slippery trails that are this well used. Just don’t expect solitude unless you’re up and at it early in the day.

McCarty, Mount

Mount McCarty was a strange mix of very pleasurable hiking in fields of wildflowers surrounded by impressive mountains and a bit of a thrash through heavy vegetation (soaking wet) and myriads of bugs including mosquitoes.

Mist Ridge

I highly recommend this hike for fit hikers who don’t mind putting in some work for excellent views.

Colisieum Mountain

I highly recommend Coliseum Mountain for any hiker that is in the Nordegg area. This easy mountain hike is comparable to Prairie Mountain or Cox Hill and can be done by anyone who is used to height gains around 700 meters and mountain environments.

Carbondale Hill (Lookout)

Would I recommend my route on Carbondale Hill? Yes and no. If you want to try a north approach I recommend trying the cutline route. Start where I did and follow the track I did a bit further to see if there’s a trail up the cutline. If there is, this could be a wonderful option.

Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is not destined to be one of the greats. But it’s a thing with a high point – possibly even an official “summit” that’s not the one you hike to. And you can never have too many of those on your bucket list. Can you?

Ginger & Maverick Hill

IMHO there is much value in a peaceful front range solo rambles where the mind is free to wander along with the butterflies, the bees and the sharp scents of spring as they carry along on crisp front range breezes. I think that in a world that only seems to admire extremes, there is a deep satisfaction in realizing that “simple” is fast becoming the new “extreme” – if only because it seems so hard for many of us to do.

Chimney Rock

I recommend this hike for people looking for a front range hike with a bit of scrambling and some nice foothill views. Just make sure you ask for permission before setting foot on someone else’s land so that we can all keep enjoying little gems like this.