Pigeon Mountain - ClubTread Community
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Pigeon Mountain

We headed up to Pigeon Mountain yesterday (just outside Canmore).

When we started the hike it was -20 and the highest it got, from the summit and back down, was -12. With the 30-40 km/h wind at the summit, this was one very, very cold day.

There is very little snow at the beginning of the trail - perhaps an inch or so - but this steadily increases as you ascend along the power line and old road. By the time you reach the normal hikers exit from the old road there is about 6-8 inches of fluffy snow down. For some reason we chose to stick to the old road and ascend to the south summit via the southeast slope. While this route would likely be lovely in the spring or earlier in the fall, it turned out to be a poor choice with the snow. I had anticipated that the upper slopes of Pigeon Mountain would be windswept, but the southeast slope was the leeward side, meaning - from what I can tell - that all the snow from east of Canmore had been deposited there. For about a kilometer we broke trail through a double crust that at best was a foot deep or so and more commonly over our knees. It took about an hour to go a little over 1 km with a stiff and cold headwind, and upon cresting the northwest ridge en route to the south summit - which was mostly bare of snow, btw - we encountered a much stronger wind that pelted our face with ice crystals. The thermometer on my backpack read -12, but the windchill was far below that. Just a few hundred meters - horizontal ones at that - from the south summit we called it day and raced to shelter in the trees and refuel. The combination of the wind, cold, and exhaustion was just too much at this point.

If anyone is thinking of doing this hike before it closes on Dec. 1st, I suggest you either take snowshoes or attempt the usual hikers route. From our vantage point the usual route - or at least where I think it was - looked snow covered but appeared much more sheltered. From the saddle between the north and south summits to the north summit appeared to be mostly windswept with just a few deep drifts.

One additional note - this is hunter country (bow hunting only I think), so you will likely encounter a hunter or two. We met two very friendly hunters, one of whom had been camped out for a few days in the cold. I don't see this as a problem, but I know there are those that would be upset seeing a hunter drag out a ram or deer so it's something worth noting.

Thankfully the views on this trip were quite nice, and I've got some photos on my website at http://mattclay.zenfolio.com/pigeon_mountain
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 05:50 PM
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Good chunk of elevation for a November hike. I haven't been out for a while... making me grumpy.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 06:31 PM
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Brrrrrr!!! That sounds cold,and looks even colder!!! Nice pictures,hope you were wearing your samsquach hat
Also,ditto what Sodbuster said.......grumpy!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 06:38 PM
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Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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I know what you mean about getting grumpy being away from the mountains for awhile!

After the cold we endured on this hike, we're heading to MEC to buy some balaclava's so that we don't get turned around again. Core temperature is always ok; it's the exposed face that's the problem (and glasses sure don't help...).
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by wildtrekker

Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.
You can start the ACC route from right behind the clubhouse.
More options for the other route.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:32 PM
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This was the first mountain I ever climbed... and I did it solo (really pissing off my parents). Brings back a lot of memories

-Ryan
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Ryan.in.yaletown


This was the first mountain I ever climbed... and I did it solo (really pissing off my parents). Brings back a lot of memories

-Ryan
LOL!

I was there with small group from COC one gorgeous mid-October day in 2007.


I think this is when I first got thinking about eventually settling in Canmore one day...

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by wildtrekker

Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.
The ACC route up, starting right from the ACC Hostel, is a good objective. I soloed it in January. The post-holing near treeline was very exhausting though. http://stevensong.fotki.com/canmore/...otto-mountain/

Also, there're some branches going left and right that are mis-leading. If the trail isn't obvious you probably just wanna go straight up the rib.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 06:56 PM
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Sweet, thank you.
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