Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Scrambles In Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country is located east of Calgary in the outer ranges of the Rocky Mountains. There are many excellent places to go hiking in this area. A number of these are easy to moderate scrambles. A scramble is basically a strenuous hike up the least exposed route to the top of a mountain. Although scrambling is not considered mountaineering, it can be dangerous, even fatal. It is recommended you undertake take this activity in a group.
Mount Lady MacDonald
Mount Lady Macdonald overlooks the town of Canmore in the Bow River Valley. It is considered an easy to moderate scramble. It is an easy scramble up to the abandoned tea house, just above the tree line. However if you choose to go beyond the abandoned tea house to the summit, you will encounter some exposure. Getting to the summit involves traversing a knife-edge which leads to a short but very exposed section. If you slip and fall here you will be in a world of hurt. Once you reach the summit your elevation will be 8546 feet. To get to the trail head follow Elk Run Boulevard in the town of Canmore to the Cougar Creek parking lot. From the parking lot follow the trail until you reach a sign that points to the trail leading up to the top of Mount Lady Macdonald.
Mount Baldy
Mount Baldy is considered an easy scramble. But I have met people coming down the mountain who turned back because of the exposure. In fact some spots on the scramble route are not for people with a fear of heights. To get to the trail head travel west from Calgary to the Kananaskis trail. Go south till you reach Barrier Lake. On the opposite side of the road you will find an area to park. From the parking area follow the trail to the top where your elevation will be 7,192 feet. From the top you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Barrier Lake. If you are an experienced scrambler, you can hike beyond this peak to South Baldy and then to West Baldy. You will have to scramble down an exposed tricky section to get to the connecting ridge. The rock must be dry as a slip could be deadly. Once you get to the peak of South Baldy, getting to the peak of West Baldy is basically a hike along a ridge. The quickest way to get back to the parking area is to descend a scree slope between South and West Baldy, to a drainage gully. Follow the drainage gully to the highway.
Remember when you hike in Kananaskis Country you are hiking in active grizzly bear territory. It is recommended you carry bear spray and know how to use it. Travel in groups and be aware of your surroundings. Most bear attacks occur because of a surprise encounter. Obey all trail closures.

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