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post #31 of (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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May 16, '20


Don't know what it is about me and Cougar Canyon; everyone would loathe 8hrs walking on shifting bedrock that give you sore feat, clambering up boulders, wallowing in deep snow, negotiating half-frozen pools, jumping over spring runoffs xxx times, but I still had fun. Cougar keep calling me over and over, and now I ventured for the first time into far upper reaches past Carrot junction. Conditions considerably deteriorate, walls rear up and there were several scrambly moves as I could not pick easiest path because water or snow. Took me good hour to clear this section till canyon widens again, and oh what a place. Stenton drainage left, Sphinx Rock drainage to the right with Townsend looming above. It was clear I'd not get anywhere today because of conditions but I still continued for an hour & made it to Townsend turnoff, where main channel makes sharp right and starts ascending towards Mythic ridge. Conditions were brutal & I called it a day, but oh it is calling me so strong. On return water levels have seriously risen and it was whole river by Canadian Forks. Think I had to jump back and forth over 30 times till I made it back to Benchlands, and I did get my feet wet. For next month or so Cougar will be off limits because of melting snow, but next time I'll go for Sphinx Rock loop. It is sobering to realize how much effort is actually required to get there; it will be a long day. Couple of pics:


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[Narrow section about 30min past Carrot turnoff; snow made it really awkward in this part]


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[Sphinx Rock! Loop around this feature is high in the cards now]


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[Shot of Townsend near my turnaround point. Clearly not in shape yet]


Stay tuned
martin and lobo like this.
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post #32 of (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 06:04 PM
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I have only been up Cougar creek to play on the SE ridge of Lady Mac but it is a special spot... you are probably aware of this but the Town of Canmore is building a debris dam starting this summer, it will be a fairly major project that will limit access for a period of time. See:

https://canmore.ca/projects/mountain...n/cougar-creek
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post #33 of (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevbo View Post
I have only been up Cougar creek to play on the SE ridge of Lady Mac but it is a special spot... you are probably aware of this but the Town of Canmore is building a debris dam starting this summer, it will be a fairly major project that will limit access for a period of time. See:

https://canmore.ca/projects/mountain...n/cougar-creek

Yes; last yr they were taking geological samples, and now clearing on west (Lady Mac) side has been going on for quite awhile. This pic is ~3 weeks ago

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They will probably start works once spring runoffs subside; this was partially reason why I went for this hike now.


Interesting part is "Cougar Creek Canyon will be closed during construction" from that City of Canmore link. This would have major impact on many rock climbing routes further up the canyon; I am quite certain different bypass routes will develop (I know one or two that already exist and emerge sufficiently upstream from planned construction). So hiking objectives in upper parts -- Carrot drainage, Charles Stewart, Cougar Peak, Townsend, etc etc will still be accessible with bit of extra effort at the start.
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post #34 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2021, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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mid February 2021

Bit of update on Cougar Creek. Area has been closed for awhile now; according to signs at construction site entrance, project completion is sometime in 2022 (!). I know for a fact people are still doing Lady Mac, is anyone still venturing up Cougar? The answer is yes. There is well broken path in snow going up the canyon past construction site; I thought it would finish at first climbing area (~10min past the old berm), but it goes on. There are some ice climbing areas further up & this was probably the target. Here are some pics:

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[North side closure sign, ~8 min past the old berm, looking back]

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[Looking north up the Canyon from same spot as previous photo]

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[Sunset skies above Canmore as week of brutal cold temps in the Rockies is coming to an end]

Last edited by zeljkok; 02-14-2021 at 11:31 PM.
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post #35 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2021, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
[Sunset skies above Canmore as week of brutal cold temps in the Rockies is coming to an end]
I wouldn't be able to handle the cold. Below zero temp makes it too challenging to operate my camera as I need to take my gloves off to manipulate the controls. Even though it's not as cold here, every winter I end up with chilblains (inflammation of the small blood vessels in the fingers) with repeated cold exposure.
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post #36 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2021, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
I wouldn't be able to handle the cold. Below zero temp makes it too challenging to operate my camera as I need to take my gloves off to manipulate the controls. Even though it's not as cold here, every winter I end up with chilblains (inflammation of the small blood vessels in the fingers) with repeated cold exposure.

Funny part is, after week of -20 to -30 (for day high), when it "warms up" to -10 or so, it doesn't even feel cold. Last nite as I returned from Cougar I sat on the bench for a bit; -14 only, almost balmy


Rockies will always be integral part of my life, but enough is enough. It is very hard to live full time here, for more reasons than one.
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post #37 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2021, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Early April '21

Made it to Canadian Forks this evening. Typical early spring conditions in the Canyon. Creek is flowing, but there are also some sections with hard packed snow and small ice bridges. Peeked a bit up east fork; SE is completely choked, NE initial part looked mostly dry but I don't know for how long. Couple of phone pics:

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[Icefall 5 min before Forks that always brings smile to my face]

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[Pano at the Forks looking up East branch (that splits almost immediately)]

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[Looking up NE branch from turnaround point. That outlier in foreground always intrigued me; it is seen from so many vantage points around Canmore. One could probably trash up to these stint of pine trees above treeline, but it probably gets technical after that. It doesn't connect to main Cougar summit anyways]

Last edited by zeljkok; 04-04-2021 at 12:07 AM.
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post #38 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2021, 09:50 AM
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Those phone pics are quite good. By the way, it appears that where you live, there are a lot of opportunities for scrambling according to your photos.
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post #39 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2021, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, yes phone cameras have gone a long way. It won't compose a frame for you, but it knows how to expose a photo quite well. I rarely use it & was amazed about in-phone pano stitching ability


There is also lots of globally famous rock climbing in Fairholme range. Cougar has also several ice climbing areas.
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