Larch Time in Pocaterra Cirque Thumbnail

Larch Time in Pocaterra Cirque

Highwood Pass is a popular venue for larch viewing. While there are a few larches at the pass for the driving tourist, the nearby cirques — Pocaterra and Arethusa — contain one of the highest concentrations of larches in Kananaskis Country. We headed out to photograph the larches in Pocaterra Cirque and climb Pocaterra Ridge.

There is a new approach to the two routes up Holy Cross Mountain that is much better than the approach in Volume 5 of the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide and in More Scrambles. A good trail is developing that leaves the Gunnery Passs trail shortly before the pass.

Mystery on Mount Quirk Thumbnail

Mystery on Mount Quirk

Recently we stumbled upon what is possibly a memorial on the east end of Mount Quirk ridge just below a bulldozed fire break. There was a post off in the middle of the bush nowhere near a trail with two names and a date carved on it.

The High Rockies Trail heads south from Goat Creek above Canmore to Elk Pass at the BC border. The newly constructed section from Goat Creek to Pocaterra Dam was built as a multi-use trail for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing. South of Three Sisters Dam it is mostly a narrow, winding trail through mossy forest and old burns with increasingly better views as you head south.

GNSS survey

GNSS survey on South Opal Ridge. Primary receiver at centre.

Accuracy of Mountain Heights in Kananaskis Country?

This is a question that many hikers using GPS devices ask when they obtain summit heights that are different from information online. Gérard Lachapelle, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary is trying to get some answers. Thank you Gérard for the following blog.

Wind Ridge new start Thumbnail

Jeff & Tony on replacement bridge over Pigeon Creek

Wind Ridge new start

There is a new section of trail in Wind Valley that gives easy access to the Wind Ridge trail. It has 4 new bridges if you count the replacement of the 2015 bridge over Pigeon Creek that was recently demolished by a falling tree.

Porcupine feature

View from an easy section of the rock ridge of the objective—the small pinnacle to the left of the big one.

Porcupine Ridge

Running parallel to the much longer and more popular Wasootch Ridge to the north, Porcupine Ridge is a short scramble ridge with one amazing viewpoint. Apart from the couple of scramble steps, there’s a trail  all the way.

We have Updated our Web Site Thumbnail

We have Updated our Web Site

While appearing similar to the previous site, there are some significant differences. Improvements we hope. The new site is slightly wider to allow for the larger righthand sidebar, and the sidebars now appear either side of the blog. The main differences and additions are:

The Great (Trans Canada) Trail in Kananaskis Country now has a paddling section. The trail from Stewart Creek Interchange to Dead Man’s Flats is now shown on the Great Trail map as a 6.5 km Water Trail from Bow River Campground to Three Sisters Campground. Unfortunately, whoever dreamed up this idea didn’t consider the practicalities.

There’s lots of snow on the High Rockies Trail and conditions along the Smith Dorrian section are excellent. I took a quick snowshoe up to the suspension bridge yesterday to see how it looks near the end of a heavy snowfall season. There is enough snow on it to reduce the effective height of the handrail and it has been closed. 

Starting this month, Alberta Parks will be working on the much-needed upgrade and re-route of the Ha Ling Peak hiking trail. As construction will require tree removal, blasting and new trail construction, Alberta Parks will implement occasional full mountain closures, and will not permit access to hiking and climbing routes on Ha Ling Peak during the closures.

Mustang Hills

The lone tree atop the centre hill.

Mustang Hills to be Logged

The Mustang Hills is a group of three hills in the upper Elbow located northeast of Rainy Summit between Highway 66 and the Elbow River. At first glance, they appear to be covered in trees, but in reality they harbour meadows offering great views. This coming December, Spray Lakes Sawmills are slated to clearcut the lightly-treed slopes most hikers use to access the hills.

Mesa Butte

Mesa Butte from Curley Connector.

Winter Walk Mesa Butte +

Easy climbs, open ridges and panoramic views from Mesa Butte, Curley Connector and Curley Sand trails allow  surprisingly good outings for the short, cold days of winter. The shortest option, to the top of Mesa Butte and back, is only 3.4 km with just over 200 m of height gain. The whole ridge is 6.4 km and requires 2 vehicles, if you don’t want a 3.6 km road walk back to your car.

Nakiska-Snowshoe

Descending the upper section of Mid-Mountain Road

Getting to Marmot Basin via Nakiska Snowshoe Trails

Nakiska Ski Area is advertising snowshoe trails and guided snowshoe trips!  While the original press release had the trail open to everyone, guided or not, just before Christmas they declared their snowshoe trail would be for guided parties only. No other snowshoers allowed. This decision may affect how the the rest of us get to Marmot Basin. The upper section of Mid-Mountain Road (the old Marmot Basin Road), part of the Nakiska snowshoe trail, is the only way for snowshoers and skiers to access Marmot Basin.

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