Looking for scrambles in Banff / Canmore - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default Looking for scrambles in Banff / Canmore

My daughter and I are planning a trip to Banff/Canmore the beginning of July and want to do a few scrambles. I'm looking for some ideas on which mountains to do. Ideally the biggest bang for the buck and maybe a 3000m too. I've done a bit of research and these ones look good to me - Ha Ling, Yamanuska, Chester Lake peaks. Any thoughts / recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks (We are pretty good to good fitness level)
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 04:37 PM
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Ha Ling would make for a good warm up and/or quick day (especially if you're staying in Canmore). I'd also highly recommend Mount Chester. Yamnuska is fun but quite crowded and suffers from a poorer view than the other 2 peaks.
If you can, I'd suggest driving a little further towards Lake Louise. Fairview Mountain is absolutely stunning and will be in form by early July. A little further up the Icefields parkway, Cirque Peak is also spectacular. Both of these peaks are in my top 3 for "bang for your buck."
Closer to Banff, Mount Bourgeau is beautiful but long (24 km round trip and 1500 m gain). The views, however, are worth it!
Hope you enjoy your trip!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 05:37 PM
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Just get Alan Kane Scrambles and you can't go wrong. It lists number of peaks per area with (very accurate) description of difficulty as well as info when route usually comes into shape.

Every bookstore in Banff will have it if you can't find it here in BC, but I think I've seen it in MEC.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 06:18 PM
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Beginning of July, still a bit early in the season for 3000-meter peaks. Bring your ice axe and crampons and Mount Sparrowhawk is an easy and rewarding summit.

http://stevensong.com/mount-sparrowhawk

The next one I'd pick is Mt. Bourgeau. Don't need snow gears but bring gaitors and prepare for post holing.
http://stevensong.com/mount-bourgeau

If you have to stick to Banff/Canmore rather than the Parkway, then next, Mt. Chester and The Fortress.
http://stevensong.com/mount-chester
http://stevensong.com/the-fortress

For a long day up a lofty (3100+) but easy summit, consider Mt. Aylmer
http://stevensong.com/mount-aylmer
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 07:07 PM
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I would second the suggestion for Mt Fairview at Lake Louise. Also Mt St Piran at Lake Louise.

Others would be Mt Indefatigable by Upper Kananaskis Lake, East End of Rundle above Canmore.

http://www.truedino.com/fairview.htm

http://www.truedino.com/mtstpiran.htm

http://www.truedino.com/indefat.htm

http://www.truedino.com/eastend.htm

Might be quite a few mosquitos around in July.

Better to buy a annual Park pass for around $135 vs $20/day to enter the park, then sell online later. Or perhaps there are skiers selling a pass online right now.

Best regards
Allan A

http://www.truedino.com/
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
quote:Better to buy a annual Park pass for around $135 vs $20/day to enter the park, then sell online later. Or perhaps there are skiers selling a pass online right now.
Or you could choose to support the parks by buying your own pass, since they are technically not transferable. "Non Transferable : National passes are to be signed by the passholder and will be rendered void if re-sold or transferred to another individual." (Source: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/ar-sr/lpac-ppri/ced-ndp.aspx ) I realize that the park fees are not popular, but if you plan to come and use park facilities like roads, trails and parking lots, why try to get out of paying the applicable fees?
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 01:31 AM
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I don't think I've purchased a brand new Parks pass in over 10 years or so now. There are always plenty of Americans, British, others who will gladly sell you their pass once their short term vacation in the Nat'l Parks is over. No point in letting an annual pass that was used for at most a two month visit go to waste the other 10 months of the year. Just make sure the seller has not signed it and you are good to go.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 10:59 AM
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I don't know that it would be worth trying any 3000m scrambles. You'd be investing a whole day and may encounter snow and ice.

I would say scratch Ha Ling off your list. East End of Rundle provides better views with fewer people. Yamnuska, although interesting, is a zoo in the summer. Windtower is mainly a hike and provides nice views of Spray Lakes and Bow Valley. Chester Lake peaks are great. The Fortress would be my favorite of the bunch, especially done as a loop view Headwall Lakes. The 2013 flood did quite a bit of damage in that area, hopefully it's still as pretty as it was.

I'm not sure it's worthwhile for you to get the Alan Kane book for a short visit. You can get more info from various trip report sites. I would recommend Bob Spirko's Road Not Taken, which also includes GPS files.

If you're willing to go to Lake Louise, I would say the biggest reward for the least effort would be Tower of Babel and Devil's Thumb. Mount Fairview has great views from the top, is mainly a hike, but a bit longer.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 05:42 PM
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I agree with Marko and would suggest to scratch Ha Ling and Yamnuska off the list. They grant average views (for the lofty standards of the Canadian Rockies). Good objectives for the shoulder season or winter, but not for July.

The Fortress (3005m) is a scenic mountain that fits your criteria. Should be in condition by early July. The best way to do is how Marko recommends: Headwall Lakes - summit - Chester Lake loop (although Chester Lake is often closed due to the grizzly bear activity).

I think Mt. Lougheed (3105m) should be doable by early July via this route (south-facing slopes):

https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...Terms=lougheed

You can download a GPS track from Bob Spirko's web-site for easier navigation.

I think Gusty, Chester and James Walker (all above 3000m) are doable too, but they are in the same area as the Fortress.

Good suggestion is to head to the Lake Louise area and do some smaller mountains that offer the postcard quality views (Fairview, St. Piran, Tower of Babel, Devil's Thumb) or further north (Cirque Peak - expect snow near Helen Lake but the summit ridge is normally snow free by early July).

Indefatigable South off Kananaskis Lake is a good choice as well. Another postcard quality summit panorama.

PS. If you like summit views with glaciers and don't mind driving to the Columbia Icefield, Wilcox Peak offers a fantastic view of Athabasca Glacier. I did it in early July a few years ago and found no snow on the summit ridge but Wilcox Pass was very boggy. It's a solid moderate scramble though, not recommended for beginners. In the same area, Tangle Ridge (3000m) fits your criteria and should be doable too. It's little more than an off-trail hike.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 06:26 PM
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I concur on the Headwall Lakes / Fortress / Chester route. Have a plan B and always check the trail reports as either or both valleys can be shut due to grizzly activity.
http://claytonditzler.zenfolio.com/p785112316 It is necessary to cross one snow slope that I imagine would be similar to when I went that downslopes into one of the Headwall Lakes. Ice axe and/or crampons or nerves of steel - your mileage may vary.

Nice thing about the Bow Valley (Canmore) area is it should be snow free, whereas Lk Louise etc not so much. It's been a big snow year but a lot depends on weather the next while how quick they come into shape.

I quite enjoyed Mt. Fable.
https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=22544

Lady MacDonald isn't bad either, but has some exposure on the crossing to the true summit. You haven't really given us much of an idea of the level of scrambling you are after.
https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=22379

I kinda enjoyed Yamnuska the day I did it http://claytonditzler.zenfolio.com/p692258932 - its one of those road side ones you can look back at later and has that impressive south facing face. An early start should get you ahead of the crowds. Has a couple fun scree run-outs.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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We are good to go for up to moderate scrambles with some exposure. I don't want to burn out my partner on our first day so I'm trying to plan it on a bell curve - start easy, then a bit harder, next the 'big one' and end on another easy one. Of course, plans usually work great until you actually get your boots on the ground.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by zeljkok

Just get Alan Kane Scrambles and you can't go wrong. It lists number of peaks per area with (very accurate) description of difficulty as well as info when route usually comes into shape.

Every bookstore in Banff will have it if you can't find it here in BC, but I think I've seen it in MEC.
I thought bc library has Alan Kane Scrambles ebook for borrow
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by woodyacat

My daughter and I are planning a trip to Banff/Canmore the beginning of July and want to do a few scrambles. I'm looking for some ideas on which mountains to do. Ideally the biggest bang for the buck and maybe a 3000m too. I've done a bit of research and these ones look good to me - Ha Ling, Yamanuska, Chester Lake peaks. Any thoughts / recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks (We are pretty good to good fitness level)
how did your scrambles go?
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