NOTE: These pictures are in the process of being sorted!

Comments on Scrambling

Walking involves using your feet, scrambling requires feet and hands and rock climbing involves safety equipment, hands and feet.
This vacation trip involved a fair bit of "scrambling" up the odd mountain peak. Unfortunately it was all SOLO. I strongly suggest that if you do this you make sure that people know where you are and when to expect you back and that you always take at least one other person with you. You should also take enough clothing and food to survive in the mountains. Anything can happen. In my three weeks I was hiking in 35C heat as well as snow storms!

Trip Pictures

Here is what I did and the associated pictures.

Daily liking varied from 2km vertical to nearly 30 km with > 1,000m vertical in a day. I found that I could easily do over 2km of climbing in a day - but it would likely have slowed me down on the following day.

I did abort some scrambles up mountains because I was getting tired - or more often - because I was doing this solo and the hiking was getting more dangerous than I was comfortable with.

Boot skiing or glissading can be lots of fun - but I had one bad experience when I was coming off of a peak and jumped from a cliff on to a large snow pack. Unfortunately the snow was hard - too hard for my boots, or hands, to get a grip. As a result my "descent" was far from controlled - it was a straight down the mountain plummet with a relatively soft landing in scree (boots first of course). The only dammage was a tear on my pants, 3 broken finger nails and hands that were tingling, from the cold, for nearly a day. That and a brused ego.

Hiking in > 30C temperatures was not fun - esp. with the climbing. I spent the 7 hour hikes limiting how much water I drank - until I started to carry 3L of water. At the end of the trip when it was only 2C to 9C I would only drink about 500mL of water in 7 hours; but carrying a sweater and rain gear was absolutely necessary (not to mention gloves and possibly a balaclava)!!

  • Favorite Pictures from this trip

  • Airplane Flight Pictures
  • Flowers and Animals on the trails

  • Peter Lougheed Prov. Park
  • Waterton Lakes National Park
  • E.C. Manning Prov. Park
  • Vancouver Island
  • Cathedral Prov. Park
  • Yoho National Park
  • Banff National Park

    Pictures to sort:

    Trip Schedule

    HI and Backpackers Hostels & Planning

    Places to visit (driving east to west and back)

    1. Mountain Scrambling. From Scrambling in the Canadian Rockies by Allan Kane (3 days)
        This is an excellent book for hikers wishing to go beyond just hiking. My experience is that if he has rated something as easy - then it is just a hike - even if that means 4 hours of going up steep, loose, scree! When he rated bits as moderate (Indefatigable North peak) I thought nothing of it. Where I differed with his ratings was when the "moderate" bits were protracted. For example a bit of rock climbing, even if exposed (ie a drop off under me), I can breeze thru since I've done a bit of technical climbing and free climbing (no ropes, support or equipment). However, when I am route finding or going up an ever-increasing slope (with smaller and smaller hand holds) and this goes on for 30 min; then I get very edgy and backed out of several climbs.

        Things may have been different if I was not doing these solo - or if I had more experience. The only climbs I backed out of were right at the start of my trip. In hindsight the descent was nowhere near as bad as I though - in fact it was much easier and faster than the ascent.

        I have graded the hikes which I performed. Generally if Mr. Kane said that a scramble took 5 to 7 hours; I found myself under, or at his lower time (say 4.5 to 5 hours). I was taking many pictures - but when I was hiking I was going fairly hard - with my pulse around 150 on steady climbs. If I had people with me I would not have the breath for talking a lot, or eating, while climbing. I'm quite capable of going faster (when cycling I maintain a pulse of 170 for over an hour); but hot weather and focus must kept. As in cycling, the faster you go - the less blood goes to your brain and the less alert you tend to be.

      • Mount Rae
          Oh my gawd! Maybe I just went the wrong way. This one had my heart racing after rouding the corner of the cirque - you'll see where you need to go - up and up the scree and then up a steep rock incline. I turned around (perhaps 5 to 10 m from the col) for fear of slipping and not having good grip on the descent. The descent wasn't as bad as I thought.
          Unless you make the col, the views are not inspiring.
      • Gap Mountain (p152), 82J11, 4-6 hour, Kananaskis, moderate, 2675m +780m
          I backed out of this scramble. This is an EASY moderate scramble. In the book he points out a section which required a few rock climbing moves (with exposure - a gully under you) but I was not bothered by that at all. What bothered me was the route finding up a broken ridge. I was very concerned about finding my way back down. In hindsight it wasn't hard. I could easily have gained the peak.
          This scramble is a step above his easy scrambles as you will be using your hands a fair bit - but it may well be the easiest scramble of his moderate ones. Views were very good. Recommended.
      • Indefatigable + North peak (p162), 82J11, 5-7 hour, Kananaskis, easy, 2670m +1000m
          This was a good hike that was steep in places. The views were good, the ridge walk was windy and my only problem was a shortage of water. The only mistake I made was that when I came off of the north peak - I should have stayed on the ridge and instead I descended a technical section. If I had water I would have continued to the smaller peak and then descended. Definately recommended.
      • Pocaterra (p176), 82J11, Tyrwhitt +3-4 hours => 7-11 hours, Kananaskis, moderate, 2934m

      • Mt. Wilcox (p309), 2884m + 900m, 3.5h, Icefields area
      • Observation Peak (p298), 82N9, 5-9 hour, Icefields Parkway (Peto Lake), moderate/easy, 3174m
      • Cirque (p297), 82N9, 5-8 hour, Icefields Parkway, easy, 2993m +1050m
      • xxSunwapta (p312), 83C6, 7-12 hour, Jasper!, 120km N of Louise, easy, 3315m

      • Vermillion Pk (p220), 5-7 hour, Castle Jn, moderate, 2622m +1500m
      • xxStorm Mtn (p215), 6-11 hour, Castle Jn, moderate, 3161m +1300m
      • xxCastle Mtn (p209), 7-11 hour, Castle Jn, easy, ?, +1400m
      • xxBosworth (p265), 5-7 hour, Yoho, moderate, 2771m +1200m
      • Paget (p266), 4-5 hour, Yoho, easy, 2560m +1000m
          This is a must-do for many people. A trail takes you to a view point about half way up. Beyond that the scree is mostly large rocks, not small scree. The peak always seems beyond reach - but it's not too far. You can continue on a nice ridge walk once gaining the peak. The views are wonderful! Highly recommended.
      • Mt. Field (p264), 5 hour, Yoho, easy, +1400m
          This should be an easy scramble but I didn't think that the view would be esp. good after having climbed Paget Peak.
      • Mt Burgess (p260), 5 hour, +1300m, Yoho
          This is easy - although you're plowing up and up a lot of scree. The descent can be fast and many trails stick to the edge of the gully - where there is some stable rock.
          Unless you make the peak, the views are not inspiring.

      • Mt. Fairview, (p239), easy, 4.5 hour, 2744m +1000m, Lake Louise
          This comes highly recommended and a trail takes you right up. It's easy, it's high and the view is good.
      • Mt. St. Piran, (p237), easy, 4 hour, 2649m +900m, Lake Louise
          This is a hike. There is a marked trail going up and the views are quite nice. Be careful if descending this peak on the back side. The back descent has no clear trail and you are aiming to come out somewhere on the approach to Niblock. I performed my descent on the side, coming down near the end of the lake. It was a technical descent with many cliff bands that had to be climbed down. The climbs were not very dangerous (max exposure was a 4m drop); but there were a fair number of them and it would be very easy for an inexperienced person to pick a bad line which would put them down the gully (which has a nasty cliff band). It doesn't take a high drop to create serious injuries.
      • Niblock (+beehive), (p229), 82N8, 4-9 hour, Lake Louise, 6-9 hour, moderate, 2976m
          This is definately a moderate climb - likely on the harder end of moderate. Look at my pictures and you'll see why. There was snow and although it line is pretty easy to see - it's much more of a climb than a walk!
      • Eiffel, (p244), 82N8, 4-9 hour, Moraine Lake, moderate, 3084m
      • Panorama Ridge, (p240), 82N8, 4-6 hour, Moraine Lake, easy, 2800m

      • Alderson, (p40), Waterton, 6-9 hour, easy, 2692m +1100m
          This is an excellent hike. It's definately easy and a good day will also take you up Carthew Mtn.
      • Bertha, (p37), Waterton, 4-7 hour, moderate, 2440m
          I don't like his approach and would not suggest this scramble. Instead, go up Alderson and Carthew as you'll see the lower Bertha peak from them!
      • Carthew, (p38), Waterton, 4-6 hour, easy, 2630m +1000m
          This is an excellent hike. It's definately easy and a good day can also take you up Alderson Mtn.

        Hike above 3 using shuttle to Cameron Lake (info at Prince of Wales Hotel info center)
      • Crandell, (p34), Waterton, 4-7 hour, moderate, 2378m
    2. Peter Lougheed Prov. Park (Alberta) (2 days hiking), 130 km from Calgary Kananaskis Camping - conditions etc and Peter Lougheed 2nd www site and Kananaskis Country - Parks info
      • Pickup topo map from Visitor Center $1 (hiking trails)
      • Indefatigable Trail - 7.6km, 500m to 2.5km high - DOESN'T go to peak!
      • Ptarmigan Cirque - 4.5 km, 230m, Highwood Pass parking lot
    3. Waterton Lakes NP (2 days hiking) 300km from Calgary
        Hiking not well described on web or in pamplets.
    4. Kokanee Glacier Prov. Park (1.5 days hiking?) 350km from Top of World, 550 km from Calgary
      • Only 85km of trails, multiple entrances, looks like the only way into the park is hiking!
      • Lots of bears and porcupines (wrap tires in chicken wire to protect them!)
    5. E.C. Manning Prov. Park (4 days hiking) 120km from Cathedral
      • Cascade mountains, Park office for trail information (250) 840-8836
      • Camping reservations for one campsite only, Note: Need permits to enter/leave from US and Cdn Customs
      • Lots of trivial hiking; some nice alpine & mountain hikes - web page does not list hikes well
        • Frosty Mountain - 29 km - 10 hours return, 1200m gain Looks ok
        • Skyline 1 - 21km, 775m, 7 hours, nice
        • Skyline 2 - 25 km (one way) - 610m, 9 hours, July to mid Sept.
        • Centennial Trail - 84 km (one way), 3 days
  • Golden Ears Prov. Park [1 day?] by Vancouver, only 1500m high
  • Cathedral Prov. Park (3 days hiking) 350km from Kokanee
  • Top of the World Prov. Park [1 to 2 days] 24km dirt road, 5km hike into park
  • Bugaboo Prov. Park (1 day hiking) 22km gravel road entrance
  • Kettle Valley Railway

    Food & supplies

    Hiking Links

    Suggestions from Friends

    Hiking Conditions in the Rockies

    There were lots of snow storms, heavy snow and late snow depositions. At Peter Lougheed in Chester Lake the snowpack is:

    Parks droped from consideration