Tag Archives: trail running

Smuts Pass, Birdwood Traverse and Burstall Pass

We planned a grand adventure for the day – from Canmore, then out to Smuts Pass, along the slopes of Birdwood, and over Burstall Pass, then back to Canmore. First of all to ride along the dusty roads, through biting headwinds, along rough gravel, by many cars. We attached the magnificent velocipedes to a hidden tree, snacked and tied on some speedy shoes. Beating through the vicious creek until the valley opened, we began our ascent to Smuts Pass, where the trees finally relinquished their grasp on our flesh. There we found snow, and trod carefully for fear of getting … Continue reading Smuts Pass, Birdwood Traverse and Burstall Pass

Grizzly Ultra race report

At 50km, the Grizzly Ultra is barely an ultra-marathon. Which just goes to show how perspectives change – when you’ve started hearing all about other people who are out doing 300km+ trail races, 50km barely seems any sort of distance. Which isn’t the best mind set to fall into. Despite having the best of intentions when I signed up for this race, I managed to yet again fail to train properly. I definitely got in a lot of long, slow runs, but apparently that wasn’t enough, and I really did need to get in some more shorter runs that actually … Continue reading Grizzly Ultra race report

Climbing the un-climbable mountain

Cascade Mountain isn’t so much un-climbable as un-climbed. It’s been shadowing my every move for years, continuously reminding me that I still haven’t scrambled my way to it’s summit. So finally this autumn I proclaimed, enough is enough! I shall reach the summit of this magnificent mountain, even if I have to crawl there in a snow storm! (Or more accurately, wait until I finally have a day free with nice weather and not too much wind) The levels of indecision were high in the morning though, and so by the time I hit the road with Lincoln, it was … Continue reading Climbing the un-climbable mountain

Lake O’Hara – I think this might be paradise

A gloriously cunning plan came together at the last minute, after our original weekend plans were scuppered. I sat refreshing the Lake O’Hara website until I saw that someone had cancelled and there was a free night of camping for either Friday or Saturday night. I missed the first Saturday, and then a Friday spot, but was successful in snagging the next Friday spot that someone had cancelled – presumably because they didn’t fancy the rain-filled forecast. Due to the afore-mentioned rain, we didn’t bother booking the early bus up. Instead we opted for the 3.30pm bus, and while the … Continue reading Lake O’Hara – I think this might be paradise

North-nearly-over Ridge

Grandmothers are very handy for enabling quality adventuring time with Alex. So handy, that we took advantage of one more opportunity, and had a go at running Northover Ridge with Al and Lincoln. This year the southern side of the lake trail had re-opened, with the flood damage largely repaired. We did a slightly better job of picking a route around Hidden Lake this time (compared to last year), and flew up the trail above it to the scree beneath Mount Sarrail. Sadly wildflower season was basically over by this time though, so we missed out on the gorgeous splashes … Continue reading North-nearly-over Ridge

Frosty run out from Assiniboine

Warmer this morning, we breakfasted, got mostly packed, then left the small child with the grandmother and hit the trails. It was perfect running weather – cool, crisp and clear, without being cold enough that fingers, noses and toes started to freeze. By the time we reached Wonder Pass, the frost had melted. And as we dropped down towards Marvel Lake, the day kept getting warmer and warmer, and we dropped more and more layers. The trails were deserted, the views were wonderful, and the running was mostly pretty fast. Of course eventually we hit the double track that would … Continue reading Frosty run out from Assiniboine

Running into Assiniboine – A Winter September Wonderland

A few months before my Mum came to visit, I checked in with the Assiniboine Lodge folks to see if there was any availability in the Naiset Huts in the weeks she would be staying with us. There was – but there were only two nights left. So we booked them, and hoped for good weather. Based on the other weather we had while she was here, it could have been much worse. But it was far from perfect. While she and the now 4-year old boy flew in by helicopter, Alex and I ran in together from Sunshine Village. … Continue reading Running into Assiniboine – A Winter September Wonderland

More passes! More lakes!

This one was my idea. We were looking to run something new, that didn’t involve summits or ridgelines (it was forecast to be windy), that didn’t involve convoluted car shuffles, and was ideally under 35km. With this run from Highway 93 through to Sunshine Village we managed the first two criteria ok, got around the third one with a drop-off at the start, and decided that seeing as the last 9km were mostly downhill they nearly didn’t count – which would mean we were only covering 31km. First up was Vista Lake, with the sun peering out we were still … Continue reading More passes! More lakes!

Passes, lakes and flood damage

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

A few random summer adventures

July – Views from an evening trail run up EEOR. We also saw about five mountain goats. And a lot of wildflowers. July – Towards the end of a slightly epic ride – Trans Canada Trail, Quaite Valley, Jewell Pass, Stoney Trail, up to Skogan Pass for sunset. After this we hammered down to the car, hollering for bears the whole way. We made it at 9.59pm, just as it started to get properly dark. August – Running Mount Bourgeau in the fog and cloud – we hammered up, then hammered down. I felt like a particularly uncoordinated baby mountain … Continue reading A few random summer adventures

The Grizzly50 Ultra

A year ago, the Grizzly 50 was my first ultramarathon, the first time I’d run further than 35km, the first time I’d raced further than 21km. In the intervening year I’d run the Frozen Ass 50 (on sealed trails in Calgary in the middle of winter, a terrible idea), and the Powderface42 (held at the Canmore Nordic Centre due to flood damage around the actual route). I’d been signed up for a couple more 40-50km trail running events, both cancelled due to the floods. But by now the idea of running a long way on trails was no longer slightly … Continue reading The Grizzly50 Ultra

The mighty Yamnuska

This was my first time on Yamnuska – it’s one of a few classic local destinations that has been on my list of places to go for a while. I had an afternoon free, and Sarah was keen to come along with the dogs, and so we thought we’d see how far we could go with them. The answer? Not past the chains, but dogs that are happy to scramble a little can definitely make it that far. It was a sort-of trail running day. The running was slow and a little unenthusiastic (recovering from illness, jetlag and three weeks … Continue reading The mighty Yamnuska

A crazy long run

I’d been wanting to do something a little epic on Saturday, but couldn’t decide what. But then I was invited to run along the Rundle Riverside trail from Canmore to Banff. “What a fantastic idea!” I said to myself, “And then if I’m still feeling chipper I could run up and down Sulphur Mountain as well, I’ve been meaning to do that.” It’s been a while since I’ve ridden it, but I think Rundle Riverside makes a better running trail than biking trail. The Canmore end is horrifically rooty. After a while though, it eases off and becomes a very … Continue reading A crazy long run

The amazing Northover Ridge

First of all, a taster of what lies ahead: We’d all been talking about running Northover Ridge for a while. The plan had always been to do it in a day, and finally we had chosen the day. Many folks were invited, but in the end it was just the four of us who made it. Debate began about how long it might take us, what gear we should take, and how early we should leave Canmore. We settled on a 6am departure from Canmore, which crept a little later, and after the one hour drive down to Kananaskis Lakes, … Continue reading The amazing Northover Ridge

Running the Iceline

The cunning plan for the day was to go and run the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. The added difficulty was having to take it in turns, so we didn’t have to tie the Moosling to a tree with nothing more than a bottle of water, a toasted cheese sandwich, and a can of bear spray to defend himself. Alex got to run first, heading off at 8.40am from the Takkakaw Falls carpark. He headed straight up onto the Iceline from there. Meanwhile, back at the river we wandered about, threw stones, and checked out the relief map of … Continue reading Running the Iceline

The not-Powderface 42

A long long time ago, Alex and I thought it might be fun to sign up for a 42km trail race together, the Powderface42 in K-Country. The flood had other ideas though, and the race ended up being relocated to the Canmore Nordic Centre. Less effort to get to, but not very exciting when we’d been looking forward to running new trails. After some indecisiveness we decided we may as well run it anyway. The course involved two laps that reached all the way out to the end of the Nordic Centre and back, with a particularly cruel section of … Continue reading The not-Powderface 42

The Grizzly50: Where I inexplicably manage to run 50 kilometres

Although I couldn’t really claim to have run all fifty of the kilometres – like most people, I walked a lot of the steep uphills. On a course with 1700 metres of climbing, there were definitely some steep little climbs in there. And I did stop for a bathroom break, and to stock up on food. And to take a photo. But mostly I ran. And ran. And ran. For over five hours. But it was strangely easier than I was expecting. I was assuming there would be soul-crushing agony, teeth-gnashing, and stomach-gurgling, dead legs and embittered spirit. But instead … Continue reading The Grizzly50: Where I inexplicably manage to run 50 kilometres