I highly recommend this tour for those days when you just want a low key, safe day in the hills with some good fitness training.
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.
I was very satisfied to ski this circuit again after 12 years. It was easier and simpler than I remembered – this would make a great beginner backcountry ski tour with limited avalanche slopes and pretty easy navigation in clear weather.
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.
Summit Elevation (m): 2560 Latest Trip Date: Monday, December 30, 2019 Elevation Gain (m): 1100 Round Trip Time (hr): 5 Total Trip Distance (km): 16 Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something Difficulty Notes: A very easy backcountry ski or snowshoe trip with minimal exposure to avalanche terrain. Technical Rating: OT2; YDS (Skiing) Map: Google Maps As the year closed out in 2019 the avalanche ratings were still fairly high and the weather was bitterly cold. […]
On Sunday March 27, 2011 So Nakagawa and I skied to the summit of Crowfoot Mountain and on Saturday March 16 2019 I repeated it with Wietse Bijlsma. I always figured I’d repeat this mountain since it’s relatively easy and a surprisingly short day despite being over 1200 meters of height gain and almost 20 km of distance from the Bow Lake parking lot.
I forget when I first heard of BowCrow Peak but it’s been on my never ending and never shrinking list of Rockies summits for years. Something that was frustrating me was that even though I had a general idea where it was located, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how anyone bagged it!
After braving fairly cold temperatures the last weekend of February 2019, I was ready for some more bravery on the first weekend of March 2019. When I say “ready”, I really mean I was desperate enough to get my ass off the couch and out of the city to suffer -30 temps – frostbite be damned! When I contacted Ali to find out what she was up to, she mentioned Matt Clay was planning something.
After missing out on a gorgeous day on Family day, I was absolutely determined to try something (anything!) on the following weekend. The weather forecast wasn’t looking ideal with 2 hours of sun and overcast conditions but I decided to follow Matt and Alison’s ascent tracks up Helena Ridge East no matter what the views might be.
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.
Finally the weather, our schedules, and back country avalanche conditions lined up over a weekend, allowing Ben, Steven and I to plan a 2 day excursion to the northern end of the Wapta Icefield. I am rapidly closing in on a long-sought summit list of all the Wapta peaks and only one peak remained for me on the hard-to-access northern end – Peyto Peak. As is usual for us, original plans varied from Youngs Peak to Lilliput (I was willing to repeat it for exercise) and finally we settled last minute on the Peyto Hut area. The plan was to leave Calgary around 04:30 and hopefully arrive at Peyto Hut with enough day light for Ben and Steven to bag Mount Baker on Saturday. Sunday we would ascend Peyto Peak before heading out. For the most part, this plan was executed flawlessly.
On Saturday, February 1 2014 I was joined by half of Calgary and part of Deadmonton for a ski / snowshoe ascent of Heather Ridge in Skoki – behind the Lake Louise ski hill in Banff National Park. Ok – it wasn’t quite half of Calgary, but close! It started with Steven, Wietse and I and ended with Steven, Wietse, Raf, Andrea, Mike, Sonny, Spencer, Brandon and myself. We met up in the Skoki Lodge parking lot in chilly temps of -28 degrees Celsius. Yikes. After laying up it was time to warm up with a ski up the ski out from the Lake Louise Ski hill. The last time I was on this road was way back in September 2005 when cousin Jon and I managed to knock off all the Kane scrambles in Skoki within a 72 hour period.
Five years ago I read about a little front range peak called Mary Barclay’s Peak in a trip report that Frank Nelson posted on the RMBooks web forums. For some reason it sounded like a trip I wanted to do but I never got around to actually trying it till I read about it again in Andrew Nugara’s new book, More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies.
On a beautiful day in early March, TJ, Megs, Wietse and I completed the French / Haig/ Robertson ski traverse in the heart of Kananaskis Country under the looming summit of Mount Sir Douglas over the French and Robertson Glaciers.
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 Saturday, December 08 2007 a whole bunch of us skinned up the the ski-out at the Sunshine ski resort in Banff National Park with the intention of bagging a small peak near the ski resort called Twin Cairns.
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.
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 Friday March 09 2007 Wietse and I decided that we’d had enough of winter and set out for the Livingstone area to bag some peaks. We decided to try Mount Burke on the Friday and give Raspberry Ridge and Gunnery Peak a shot on Saturday.
Opal Ridge North is not a grand objective by any means. As a matter of fact, in my research to see how far up the ridge I should go to ‘officially’ nab the north summit I couldn’t find two accounts that gave the same idea of the summit.
Wow. Who would’ve thought that I’d be bagging my first scramble of the year only 6 days into it?! OK – it’s not like Grizzly Peak is such a hard or worthy adversary but for a winter scramble it does very nicely thank you.