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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Default Ha Ling - Miners Peak (new trail)

Everyone knows Ha Ling (formerly Chinamen's Peak); best known landmark on south side of Bow Valley. Ultra popular and clear parallel with Vancouver Grouse Grind can be made. Steep forest slopes and 100s of people every day have badly eroded the trail; as result Alberta Parks have shut down the area in 2019 in order to re-route the trail. Model / map were actually displayed in City of Canmore building during the summer. I've seen this map; all I could really conclude was that switchbacks would now be made wider. Finally area re-opened late last year.

I've been to Ha Ling dozen of times before, but was fairly curious about this new trail. Beauty of the day, and expecting consolidated path with no need for snowshoes finally decided to check it out. Put only gaiters on & packed micro spikes; they were quite helpful on descent. Here's the scoop, for those of you familiar with old trail: Initial part has been completely re-routed, and moved to the right, gently looping back left. Switchbacks are generally the same, although I was a bit surprised to see couple of turns not flowing into each other; instead they were separated by steep-ish vertical bit, which had fence and railing. In upper part around treeline there are 2 major improvements -- flights of stairs to bypass badly eroded bits (stairs -- Grouse Grind anyone?). Final bit is about the same.

There were still much more people than expected; and needing some solitude I headed up to Miners peak first, and as usual had it to myself. It is much superior to Ha Ling for me. Then returning from Miners, as crowds disappeared -- maybe because of strong wind, maybe because of lateness in the day -- went up Ha Ling as well. Wind almost blew me off the mountain, so I just snapped couple of pics and quickly descended back, treated with nice sunset colors as I neared Goat parking. Some stats, for both peaks: 5 hrs return, ~9km and ~950 vertical. Pics:


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[Ha Ling/Miners Peak reflected in lower Grassi lake (old photo)]

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[Trail sign after you cross the dam. Old trail would go left from here, new trail contours right]

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[Halfway up you come to left/right switchbacks and this opening giving unobstructed views across to EEOR. Frozen Whiteman Gap below]

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[Upper stairs bridging badly eroded area. This was actually bit challenging with snow as people were sliding down on descent]

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[Ha Ling / Miners Saddle (nicely seen from Canmore), looking back towards Ha Ling upper right]

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[Nice pano from Miners peak summit; Ha Ling upper left. Lots of familiar peaks on north side of Bow Valley on Horizon]

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[Looking back to Miners peak and connecting ridge from near Ha Ling summit. Two summit of Lawrence Grassi upper center]

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[Bow Valley pano from Ha Ling summit]

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[Burning skies from Banff area crossing the dam near Goat parking]

Finally, it is a nice trail but being so popular, new one will become eroded as well. It will need lots of maintenance, just like the Grind. But it is good leg stretcher, and views from the top are quite nice -- so it is worth checking out, and/or coming back regularly.

Last edited by zeljkok; 04-29-2020 at 04:09 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2020, 01:30 PM
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Nice one, looks like the good weather is widespread these days.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2020, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks; yes, good weather seems only good thing nowdays. I am somewhat hesitant to post these reports now, but I figure enjoying & sharing nature can never be inappropriate.



btw for those that haven't heard yet, Parks Canada has suspended all visitor services across the country
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...d-19-1.5500817


Here's relevant excerpt from that article:


Quote:
Visitors will still be able to use front country and backcountry areas and green spaces but should check the Parks website first to see safety conditions and look for any closures. Search and rescue services could be limited, Parks said.
Parks staff will limit their work to critical operations, including:
  • Highway management and snow removal.
  • Fire response.
  • Dam operations.
  • Water management on historic waterways.
  • Avalanche forecasting and control.
Private tourism businesses within national parks may continue to operate, but Parks Canada suggests that visitors check with businesses before visiting to confirm there has been no change to their services.
No new reservations for camping or accommodations can be made until April 30, and all existing reservations will be refunded. Parks Canada said it's also working on an approach to honour passes in light of travel restrictions and closures.


Interesting part is this last paragraph about back-country reservations. I am also not clear about Park Passes; if Visitor Services are closed, this means only place to purchase them will be Park Gate, but I don't know if this remains open? If not, then can you go without the pass or with expired pass? Will post update when I find out. Btw Banff National Park is still officially open, but town of Banff has declared public emergency.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 07:24 AM
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Thank you for trip report. I had seen YouTube videos of Ha Ling (by Harlan; seems as though folks here might know him?) and it was on my list for next visit to Canmore-Kananaskis area. Love the vast spread of peaks north of Bow Valley!

The early news this morning (US picking up from Canadian distributors) is that Parks Canada is closing all national parks and historic sites to vehicular traffic, unless you live in one of them.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdBrook View Post

The early news this morning (US picking up from Canadian distributors) is that Parks Canada is closing all national parks and historic sites to vehicular traffic, unless you live in one of them.

Yes, Visitor Vehicular traffic in Banff National Park has been closed. Transit without stopping is still allowed - and this is obviously for truck commerce Alberta - BC. Hiking is still allowed, but parking lots will be closed with red tape and parking on shoulder is forbidden; parks stuff will patrol & issue fines.



Alberta Parks are still open (https://albertaparks.ca/) but IMHO it is only question of time before they close too. Places like Chester or Burstall parking lots get insanely busy in season. Also today City of Canmore followed City of Banff and declared local emergency. Municipal playgrounds are closed, and they are monitoring local parking lots (Quarry lake, Cougar Creek, Grassi lakes etc) & will close them if necessary. They are also installing signs on Highway exits telling visitors not to come in. This is very very serious & hiking does not seem so important anymore.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2021, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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April 14, 2021

I usually do this trail early March but for this spring it was later. Solid compact trail all the way, bit slushy at some places and then quite slippery higher up, specially around these stairs as one exits to alpine. Seeing lots of people at Ha Ling, I simply turned up Miners and as always had it to myself. On return noticed interesting looking tracks down steep gully below Lawrence Grassi on Canmore side & went to check it out -- guess what, these are skier tracks. Photos:


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[New table at trailhead -- avalanche map]


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[Great view of EEOR halfway up; I think this was also feasible, although I'd wait couple more weeks]


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[Crux -- problem is that loads of unprepared kids in city shoes go here daily & then being unable to descend safely sslide on their bums which creates slippery surface. Spikes felt good even on ascent]


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[Ascending Miners ridge, this bit is so awesome & always brings smile on my face. Miners peak upper left]


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[View back to HaLing from Miners ridge]



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[Traversing steepish, but quite safe slope below Miners peak. Kinda alpine feel]


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[Bow Valley pano from Miners peak]


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[That ski gully below Lawrence Grassi I mentioned in write-up. I admire skill level of people that are able to ski down this safely]



Beauty of a day, about 4.5 hrs return incl. generous breaks
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2021, 04:00 PM
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wow, Zelzkok, makes me wish I was dragging my butt up there with you

Looks like they've done a lot of work on the trail

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2021, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj6response View Post

Looks like they've done a lot of work on the trail

Very much like Grind in Van. Heavy traffic, erosion, trail re-routing, stairs. Views are infinitely better thou
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2021, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Very much like Grind in Van. Heavy traffic, erosion, trail re-routing, stairs. Views are infinitely better thou
The landscape in the ranges around canmore/banff is top notch, even if the popular trails are heavily used. Hopefully not as bad as the north shore with so many trails a nightmare of wear+tear, roots and mud

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2021, 04:39 PM
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zeljkok,
I can't quite figure this out. Do you cross the knife-edge col between Miners Peak and Ha Ling?
Thanks!
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2021, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdBrook View Post
Do you cross the knife-edge col between Miners Peak and Ha Ling?

It is not knife edge; it might look so, but is in fact quite wide and not exposed


Interesting enough, some people hike up Miners/Ha Ling saddle from the front. This looks impossible when seen from Canmore, but is just class 3 scramble. See here. It must be snow free & this is main reason I haven't been up that way because by the time snow melts I am usually hiking somewhere else.
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