This one wasn’t my idea, but instead Lincoln came to me and said: “I have a cunning plan”. The plan was to run Rummel Pass, to Guinn’s Pass, to North Buller Pass. Possibly with a side trip to a summit thrown in. Heading up towards Rummel Lake was the typical Rockies start – get out of the car and start heading straight uphill. The lake came and went without much fanfare, and then eventually we topped out on the first pass of the day. It was quite windy – we probably weren’t going to be hitting any summits today. Dropping … Continue reading Passes, lakes and flood damage
With a couple of sunny days at our disposal, a new set of bike bags for Alex finally complete, it seemed about time for an overnight bike adventure. We’d been hoping to do a big loop from home and out into K-Country, via the Elbow loop. It’s still in poor shape following the floods though, so instead we opted for good old Jumpingpound Ridge, where the camping is free and the views can’t be beaten. The road is still closed to cars, hurrah, and so we had a quiet ride out, much like last time. This time we were riding … Continue reading Bikepacking Jumpingpound Ridge
An afternoon hike up the Windtower… The boy hiked most of the way up to West Wind Pass. And then from the pass, it was onwards and upwards. Below is the view from West Wind Pass up towards the Windtower. There were a few snow patches on the traverse around. Family photos with a 3.5 year old. After a long scree slog – the summit! Which was alarmingly narrow and surrounded by cliffs, and required keeping a good hold on the boy. Alex is looking down at Canmore, visible in the valley behind Wind Ridge. And views down the Spray … Continue reading The Windtower
My next cunning plan was to ride my bike from Canmore to Fernie. But part of this plan involved convincing someone else to come with me, for at least part of the journey. For company, and so the bears would have someone else to eat. The only difficulty was that the person who seemed most likely to come was being told that Elk Pass was under four metres of snow, and the whole expedition was foolhardy madness. We would be starting our joint journey at the Elk Pass trailhead. Elk Pass is the highest point between Kananaskis Lakes and Elkford, … Continue reading Scouting Elk Pass
Against my better judgment, we headed over to Chester Lake for some ungroomed skiing – for the first time this winter! The backcountry hasn’t exactly been appealing, so we’ve been sticking to nordic skiing on groomed trails. Sadly everything was a little crusty, and the weather remained pretty overcast, so the old familiar trail wasn’t rendered exciting by awesome weather. Thanks to the crusty trails, we didn’t get the boy to ski much, but he did manage 600m or so once we were up around the lake. The rest of the time he was hanging out on my back in … Continue reading Chester Lake
More new trails! Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is down in K-Country, and has an absolute nest of cross-country ski trails set for classic skiing. And that’s probably why we’ve avoided it for so long. Because up until this winter, we’ve only ever had one pair of classic skis between us, and we’re both much more competent when it comes to skate skiing. Our classic skiing is slow and a little bit painful. PLPP is a lovely spot though, and as we went to explore the trails it snowed and snowed and snowed all day. Not much in the way of … Continue reading Invasion of PLPP
Boxing Day dawned a bit grey and dreary, but at least it wasn’t terribly cold or windy, so we headed to Mount Shark for a ski. It was surprisingly quiet as we set off, with very few other cars or people to be seen. Somehow I ended up being talked into skiing out to the Spray River bridge, despite being on my skate skis, which were totally unsuited to the trail. I think this largely ended up happening as I had no idea what I was agreeing to. But it worked out to be a nice little 16km jaunt. As … Continue reading Boxing Day ski
We’d been hoping to get out on a few overnight trips this summer, but our options had been limited by the flooding in June. Thankfully Kananaskis had finally opened up a little, and so we set on Jumpingpound Ridge as a likely destination. Here’s my faithful steed all kitted out for the ride. Thermarest strapped under saddle, all our sleeping gear strapped onto handlebars (with some dodgy home-made straps we knocked up). Extra water carrying capacity on front fork. We both wore hydrapacks to carry our spare clothes/extra layers plus a few other bits and pieces. After unloading and packing … Continue reading Our first bike-packing adventure: Jumpingpound Ridge
I was dropped off at the Elbow Lake trailhead, and shooed up the trail. The menfolk would be meandering their way up to the lake and back, while I ran the loop all the way from Elbow Lake, through the Sheep River Valley, up Rickert’s Pass and out along Mist Ridge. It was to be a little over 30km I thought, all through the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park. I was hoping to do it in under four hours – although with the enormous climb up Rickert’s Pass in the middle of that, there was always the probability of taking longer. … Continue reading Elbow Lake – Sheep River Valley – Rickert’s Pass – Mist Ridge
The plan to hike up Mount Lougheed was hatched after Alex stumbled across a few online trip reports that suggested it wasn’t necessary to do a terrifying ridge scramble to get to the summit. Indeed, it was possibly no more than a difficult hike. We set off early on Sunday morning, planning to beat the heat (with a forecast of 30oC and a possible afternoon thunderstorm). The route we followed was roughly as described by Bob Spirko and discussed in the Clubtread forums here. There’s nowhere handy to park, but there’s a well-defined trail most of the way up to … Continue reading Hiking/scrambling Mount Lougheed
Mosquito-ridden it may have been, but at least it was scenic. It began with a roadside bull moose, as we were on our way to the trailhead. We set off, and the Moosling did a lot of hiking, until we hit the uphill. He was very interested in the river though, and made a few side trips to see if he could get into it. Bridges were fun though, for trip-trapping over, and for throwing things off. We reached the cirque, and Warspite Lake, and ate lunch while running around in circles being eaten by mosquitos. And then on the … Continue reading Black Prince Cirque is a hike. A mosquito-ridden hike.
The Elbow Loop is one of those rides I kept coming across in lists with descriptions like: “Classic K-Country Rides”. And in fact it is a classic – in the sense it comes from the days when mountain-biking was all about riding on rough dirt roads, back before the day when someone realised they could ride single-track, and that was actually a lot more fun. With all that double track, we figured we may as well take the Chariot along. I’d never ridden the loop before. Alex had, but seemed to think it was worth doing again – and it … Continue reading Biking the Elbow Loop with a Chariot
In front of Mount Sparrowhawk in K-Country, there sits a little jutting lump of rock, covered in scree. I didn’t know beforehand that it was covered in scree, I just knew it was called Read’s Tower, and we were going to hike up it instead of Mount Sparrowhawk as it was supposed to lack the slightly dodgy-with-baby scrambly sections. Spray Lakes views from Read’s Tower It was completely lacking in dodgy scrambling, but the trail had plenty of steep and unpleasant dirt sections, and lots of the slogging variety of scree. Not the worst track in the world, but … Continue reading Read’s Tower (a.k.a. Read’s scree slog)
Old Goat Glacier is one of the K-Country hikes that is closest to Canmore. Behind the Spray Lakes campground, it’s easily accessible, tucked under Old Goat Mountain. And it’s a nice enough little walk. As long as you don’t go out expecting too much from the glacier. I was underwhelmed. Unfortunately my photographer didn’t capture my thumb silhouetted against the sky, but it’s definitely getting a firm thumbs down rating. The glacier obviously used to be much bigger. And there was a nice moraine to walk in along. But otherwise – not terribly exciting. And walking into the dead-end glacial … Continue reading Old Goat Glacier – thumbs down
Being a stinking hot day on Sunday, it seemed like the perfect day to go and ride a bike up a very steep hill. Note that this is the Bow Valley definition of stinking hot, meaning it was just about 30oC, not over. When it only occasionally reaches 25oC, anything hotter can be a shock to the system. Anyway, it was hot, so we decided to ride up a steep hill, settling on Jumpingpound Ridge (and thinking we’d maybe tack on Cox Hill on the end). It’s one of the best rides in the area, getting the ‘world class’ descriptor … Continue reading Jumpingpound Ridge
There’s a small network of ski trails about Ribbon Creek, near Kananaskis Village and Nakiska Ski Resort. They’re track set for classical skiing, and there isn’t really enough room between tracks for skate-skiing. A nice little set of trails to spend a day exploring, there is quite a lot of up and down – and so some nice views as well. It’s nice to ski somewhere different for a change.
We were supposed to go skiing on the Rae Glacier, but the snow looked thoroughly uninspiring. Also we realised once we were on our way that none of us actually knew where the Rae Glacier was. So after driving around in K-Country for a while, we decided we’d just park where all these other cars were, and go for a walk and see what was there. First we found a frozen lake, which was good for throwing rocks onto. Elbow Lake And then we managed to find the Rae Glacier, and weren’t too distressed about the fact we … Continue reading the weekend of fail
A snapshot of our day at Even Thomas Creek, K-Country.
Because standing in a snow and ice filled gully receiving no sun is a perfect place way to spend a negative fifteen degree day. Even the glacier worms were finding it cold