Scrambles in the Rockies

30 Aug

My favorite type of cross training is climbing up mountains.  This summer I’ve done three scrambles with my friend Bert.   Two in Canmore and one in Kananaskis.  I wish I could do one every weekend.   This long weekend my sister and I, along with our friend Robin, are going to Calgary.  On Saturday I’m going to meet a friend so we can go do the Big Sister scramble in Canmore, while my sis and some other friends plan to float down the Bow River.

from Wikipedia

The big sister is (obviously) the big peak on the left.

Other scrambles of the summer included:

Mount Baldy
800 m height gain.  Classified as a moderate scramble in the Alan Kane book, with a difficult part getting down to the south ridge.  I’m not sure if we just did it wrong, but it felt like real rock climbing without the safety equipment.  It took us 4 hours to complete.
The trail was obvious all the way up, which was nice, and someone had built a rock couch and fireplace somewhere along the ridge.

Bert taking a break on the rock couch

We hiked up the ridge on the left and then ridge walked over to the scree slope on the right (after the middle peak) to get back down.  This was probably one of my favorite scrambles so far.  It’s easier to show the whole mountain from wikipedia pictures than the ones I take at the base of the mountain.

Baldy- Taken from Wikipedia

Heart Mountain
875 m height gain.  Classified as easy with one moderate step.  This took us about 4 hours.  Woulda been less but I missed the arrow showing us the way and while Bert climbed up the ridge on the right, I scrambled up 2 steep scree slopes at the base of that ridge and hiked up the back side to get to the summit.
This is a cool mountain because it looks like a heart.  It was also a pretty fun scramble, but very crowded.  We started early, at 8am, so we were alone on the way up, but passed hoards of people on the way back down.

From Wikipedia

The last scramble I did was Opal Ridge.  This peak looked pretty cool from the highway so I wanted to give it a try.  Height gain was 870 m, and it took us about 5 or 6 hours I think, because we clearly didn’t start in the right place.  It’s classified as a moderate scramble.
This was probably the most frustrating scramble ever, because there apparently isn’t a clear indicator of where exactly to enter the forest to get to the ridge.  We spent the first part of the scramble climbing through trees and back tracking until we reached 2 rock walls that met in a v-shape, which we proceeded to climb up and eventually found a trail.

We thought we were safe because we could just follow the trail all the way back and see where we went wrong, but eventually the trail disappeared and we were looking down over a cliff with no obvious way down.  In the end we found a mossy forest floor and bushwacked outta there.  This was probably my least favorite scramble.  Possibly due to all the getting lost, and being scared.


Where is your favorite place to hike?
Have you done any scrambles in the rockies?


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