I highly recommend this quick and scenic trip for an after work or half day outing. It took me less than 4.5 hours to do all 3 peaks and includes a fast and fun bike ride at the end of it all.
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 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?
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.
Honestly this set of 4 “summits” was a nice day out (better than sitting on the couch) but it certainly wasn’t a highlight of the year or anything. There were a bunch of wildflowers on Carry’s south ridge if you’re into that but otherwise don’t expect too much from this hike other than fresh air and exercise – never a bad thing.
I highly recommend this four peak day for early season scramblers. The trick is finding the right balance between snow and dry. If it’s really dry you might wish you did a bigger objective but if it’s too snowy you might not navigate a safe route between Livingstone and Morin Peak.
Wietse and I agreed that despite initial misgivings on these small “nothing” objectives, they did sport some pretty sweet views and the combination of bear tracks and wild weather made them worthwhile. Just barely. The cards peaks are a good option for families looking to try some off trail hiking with some pretty sweet views.
I would rate Bluff Mountain as an excellent and easy scramble via the SE ridge and I would highly recommend going back over Greenhill Ridge. We didn’t run into any “No Trespassing” signs or private land issues and the pictographs are a pretty unique Rockies experience.
I can’t say Loop is a premier hike, but it doesn’t fall into a bottom category either. It’s worth a spring trip when other peaks are still out of condition and you’re looking for mountain views, some exercise and fresh air.
Since my last ill-fated trip with Dr. Phil in an ill-advised November 2018 attempt of Stenton Peak with an immediate subsequent follow up failure on an unnamed pile of choss nearby, my mountain mojo has been sitting somewhere between a 0 and a 1 with 10 being the amount of mojo required for peaks like McConnell or Cataract and 8+ being the amount required to get me out of bed at 04:00 on a weekend morning.
Summit Elevation (m): 2485Trip Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018Elevation Gain (m): 650Round Trip Time (hr): 4Total Trip Distance (km): 6.5Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you’re stupidDifficulty Notes: No difficulties. Your aunt Edna could do this one blindfolded – assuming you were yelling good directions at her. Some avy hazards with copious amounts of snow in the “right” conditions but none otherwise..GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words Despite being in the midst of the worst stretch of Fall […]
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), […]
Since it was a gorgeous day and it only took me approximately 2 hours to bag my first summit of the day, I figured I might as well wander up a couple more summits before heading back to the concrete jungle. I drove a few kms back along Maclean Creek trail (hwy 549) before parking near another well site belonging to Pengrowth, along yet another access road. I chose to leave the snowshoes in the truck for this hike, and proceeded up the road in very pleasantly warm sunshine. I was questioning my choice to leave the ‘shoes behind as I forked off the main (dry) road and started up an icy / snowy side track leading towards the lower Jack Hill.
Summit Elevation (m): 1738Trip Date: Sunday, April 22, 2018Elevation Gain (m): 370Round Trip Time (hr): 2Total Trip Distance (km): 7.2Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you’re stupidDifficulty Notes: No difficulties other than finding good conditions that don’t involve endless post holing or severe bushwhacking.GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words There’s not much to say about Death’s Head, other than it’s name is very dramatic compared to it’s reality. I wanted to spend Earth Day (April 22, 2018) hiking in warm […]
You know it’s been a long winter when Phil and I go up a treed bump with no summit views after work in April. To be fair it was 13 degrees outside as we parked near the municipal building in the small hamlet of Exshaw. Kids were roaming the streets playing their after school games and the sounds of birds chirping over top of happy kids, playing in the warm afternoon sunshine was very pleasant.
Summit Elevation (m): 2820Trip Date: Monday, September 25, 2017Elevation Gain (m): 1700Round Trip Time (hr): 7.5Total Trip Distance (km): 15Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you are sillyDifficulty Notes: No difficulties other than having the motivation to slog to the summit after presumably already scrambling nearby Mount Howard Douglas.GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words After a delightful easy / moderate scramble up Mount Howard Douglas, it was time to add a second peak to my day. Why? Don’t ask. […]
Summit Elevation (m): 2813Elevation Gain (m): 1600Round Trip Time (hr): 13.5Total Trip Distance (km): 40Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your wrist.Difficulty Notes: If you ski up the peak, the main difficulty is planning your trip around a good snow pack and stability. There are avalanche slopes on this route despite reports suggesting otherwise. If hiking dry I’m sure it’s no more than a hike.GPS Track Download: Download GPX FileTechnical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)Map: what3words On Saturday, April 22 I finally […]
On Sunday, April 16, 2017, I joined Phil R, Raf K and Taras for an easy snowshoe ascent of Tent Mountain. This mountain is located along Corbin Road on the Continental Divide between AB and BC and has the dubious reputation for having some pretty ugly views of a former open pit coal mine that was in operation in the area from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, supplying the Japanese steel industry. We were hoping that the snow cover would add an interesting texture to the landscape, hopefully hiding some of the mine scars.
Ever since snowshoeing and hiking up Monola Peak in extremely strong winds and a fair amount of snow back in 2012 on November 18th, I had a trip filed away in the back of my mind that would entail both Isola and Monad Peaks to the south and west of Monola. After a stretch of incredible late fall weather in the Canadian Rockies which saw me bag around 7 peaks since the end of October, I was ready to give this trip a shot. Raf Kazmierczak was looking to hike up Monad Peak, so we agreed to team up for this one.
I’ve been interested in Southfork Mountain and the traverse to (or from) Barnaby Ridge for a while now since reading multiple trip reports on it over the years. It seemed to be the type of trip that is more effort than you expect – which describes a lot of the Castle Wilderness Area peaks and trips that I’ve done over the years. I imagined the views must be pretty sweet, as a previous trip in the area with Wietse up Gravenstafel Ridge and Mount Haig was very scenic.
After scrambling Prairie Bluff in the morning, we found ourselves with plenty of time for a short objective on our way to setting up camp for the night at the Beaver Mines Recreation Area in the Castle Wilderness. I had a trip report on Mount Backus from Bob Spirko who snowshoed it in March of 2014. Backus was located along the highway leading to Beaver Mines, so it made perfect sense to try it. I was a bit nervous about the level of bushwhacking required but it was short enough that I foolishly decided it couldn’t be that bad. 🙂
On Sunday, January 24, 2016 I was joined by Mike Mitchell for a long ski tour up Unity Peak in the Skoki region of Banff National Park near Lake Louise. Due to a ‘considerable’ avalanche rating, specifically around ridges and wind loaded, faceted slopes, we had to be very choosy with our choice of ski tour. Originally I was planning to ski Mount Turner, but the weather forecast was calling for snow flurries and essentially 100% cloud cover for most of the day which defeated the point of ascending a peak with great views!
After a few weekends at home, I was ready to explore some front range areas again – somewhat of a tradition when the weather turns and it’s not quite ski season yet. After conversing with Wietse for a while, we settled on Cabin Ridge, also known as Twin Peaks. I was too lazy to research the route, so Wietse did some Googling and decided that road 532 through the “Windy Gap” to hwy 40 (gravel) was closed (due to the 2013 floods) and we should take Township Road 104A (Oldman River Road) to hwy 40 instead – driving past the parking area used to ascend Thunder Mountain. We decided to check out Windy Gap ourselves on the return trip, because I had a hard time believing it was still closed from 2013!