Sunday, September 10, 2017

Trip Report - The Big Sister

In this week's edition of Summit Saturdays, we're going to play a game of Good idea/ Bad idea. Good idea: getting out to scramble up a mountain. Bad idea: taking your buddy's 12 year old son up a nearly 3000m peak (1200m elevation gain) for his first real scramble. Our bad.

Good idea: Enjoying the outdoors by chilling out in a copse of trees, halfway up the mountain. Bad idea: starting a campfire up there. Seriously, we saw the ashes of a fairly recent campfire some moron hikers had decided was necessary, despite it being a terribly dry season, with rampant wildfires raging in our national parks. I wish I could find these morons and punch them until they could no longer have kids...

Anyways, back to our main story. We ascended The Big Sister (the tallest peak of the Three Sisters) in the Canmore area yesterday, topping out at a high point after about 800m of elevation gain, shy of the summit because the kiddo was not feeling it (again, our bad). But for his first real experience scrambling a mountain, he did awesome. Lesson learned: start small next time.

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Scrambles - Big Sister-1
The early part of the hike through the trees. Steep.

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Above the treeline. Continuing steeps.

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This little dude was a trooper.

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Navigating a steep and lengthy downclimb... which we would later discover was completely unnecessary.

Scrambles - Big Sister-9
Scrambling on all fours.

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The highpoint we would call it quits at.

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All that matter is your state of mind.

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And lastly, the ashes remaining from the fire I talked about. STUPID PEOPLE!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Trip Report - The Orphan

Summit Sundays, with a side of smoke from the BC wildfires. We took a jaunt up a seldom visited minor peak called The Orphan, and aside from the smoke obscuring the views and some terrible wind gusts up top, we had a pretty decent outing with the entire mountain to ourselves. Beginning to finish, we encountered nobody else... likely because the actual hike in isn't terribly interesting. A mindless trudge up a big wide open creek bed, then a longer than it appears scree slope leading to the summit. But the summit view of the neighbouring peaks is pretty striking (see the panoramas below).

Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-4

Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-14
This hike may have been boring, but this view (Anita sitting on the false summit in the middle)... stunning. Click to view a larger version.

Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-16
And the view looking the other way.

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The beginning part of the hike on a large creek bed, with not much to see.

Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-2
Finally getting to some views.

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Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-13
Summit beer!

Scrambles - The Orphan - August 2017-5
A view of the Three Sisters, but from a much less common vantage point.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trip Report - Storm Mountain (Highwood Area)

Before we get to the photos of our scramble up Storm Mountain, I wanted to relay a story from our first attempt up the peak. I had to pee, so quickly sprinted off into the bushes to relieve myself. And all I could think was, why does it smell like I'm swimming in a sea of delicious Gin and Tonics? Turns out, the trail was littered with juniper bushes, and the aromatic berries temptingly tantalized my nostrils. Mmmm... Gin.

Anyways, we made two attempts at summiting this weekend, and failed both times. 1) Saturday: we didn't make it as one of our party didn't feel so hot, and we were forced to turn back shortly into the hike. 2) Sunday: we decided to turn back just below the false summit as we could see the rain coming, making the thought of descent down the steep scree and slabs a nightmare. Turns out it was a wise decision as we reached the end of the sketchy part of the descent right as the heavy rain started. #livetofightanotherday

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-13

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-1
Juniper Berries!

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-2
Gin and Tonics for all!

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-3

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-6

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Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-9

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Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-11

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Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-14

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-15

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-17

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-18

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-5

Scrambles - Storm Mountain - Aug 2017-4

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trip Report - Ship's Prow to Miner's Peak

Our original plan for Sunday's hike was to scramble up Ship's Prow Peak, but as with all plans made for the day after a night of drinking... things didn't exactly work out as we expected. Let's rewind.

Saturday evening, I declared that I wasn't going to drink too much at Tytus' birthday shindig, because hiking. Naturally, I drank too many delicious beers that evening, and woke up feeling a bit dehydrated and tired. Anita woke up even later than me, having hardly slept, and I assumed that she would suggest we skip the hike altogether. But when she saw that I was ready to go despite the hangover, she didn't want to appear soft, and so off we went, two hours later than planned. We arrived to unsettled weather, couldn't find a trail, and set off to bushwhack through some light mossy forest, when Anita said something about seeing a black shape moving in the distance. I told her not to spook herself... but shortly after, we encountered the fairly freshly picked clean bones of a deer carcass (see photos). Then we were both spooked, and decided that fighting some top level predator like a bear or cougar was not on our wishlist for the day.

As a backup plan, we headed up Miner's Peak, where we had the entire summit to ourselves as all the others on the route turned to head up Ha Ling Peak instead. Not quite as planned, but an awesome day nonetheless.

Scrambles - Miner's Peak-11

Scrambles - Miner's Peak-2
The ominous bones that made us turn back from Ship's Prow Peak...

Scrambles - Miner's Peak-1
A deer?

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Scrambles - Miner's Peak-4
Separating ourselves from the rest of the crowd heading up Ha Ling.

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Nearing the summit of Miner's Peak, Anita is bagged.

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One of my favourite shots from the day.

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What an odd feeling, standing at the edge of the light, watching the storm roll in.

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Incoming smoke and ash from the BC wildfires.

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Some of the beers that lead to our truncated late start...