Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Elbow / Kananaskis

The eastern part of Kananaskis Country. Due to chinooks, this area always come to season the earliest. However, the mountains are generally less scenic than Smith Dorrien area.

Steven Song
 
Opal Ridge
Feb 9, 2013

Ben and I missed the good weather day (Saturday) on the weekend of February 2-3. The forecast was pr ...more

etty similar for both days but it turned out that Sunday was way worse. So this weekend (Feb 9-10), I asked him to have both days free. We would be joined by Mike from Edmonton and Andrea from Calgary. However, the forecast was getting worse and worse, and we would take what was given there. Flurries on Saturday indicated we should do something less ambitious, and after throwing back and forth objectives, we decided to do Opal Ridge. Obviously there were some confusions regarding this peak. I was mentioning the true summit of Opal on Facebook messages. Andrea has done Opal South twice, and obviously she thought I was planning on the Kane scramble - Opal North...

To give us more flexibility, I said we should start our day by 8am... This was very unnecessary for a summit as small as Opal, but it turned out we made a GOOD call. Andrea was surprised that we drove to Fortress ski hill turn-off... This is the start of direct route up Opal True Summit, aka, Opal Ridge South. I pointed out an alternative objective just on the opposite side of the Highway, namely The Spoon Needle. But we decided to stick to our original plan, and we quickly got ready and started. The route was very dry and we didn't bring snowshoes up.

The route follows the cut-line until crossing an obvious creek. We went up too soon and ended up post-holing and bushwhacking. We did correct ourselves not far up, by crossing the stream to its other side. From there on, we were treated with summer condition.. Weather was also much better than expected. The flurries ended and more and more blue colours started to show up. There were some optional moderate scramble sections up some rock bands, but I believe you can bypass all of them if you do look for the easiest line.

Some cool rock formations started to show up higher up. We were aiming at an obvious break between some walls. The travelling was easy going, and soon we made to the ridge crest. The view was so nice and we decided to play with a cool looking boulder. We all climbed up it and enjoyed some hands-on scrambling. I highly recommend this variation. It only adds maybe 10 minutes. The summit was not far up, and it was mostly just a hike. Some snow offered good step-kicking. The view to the other side fully opened up. We could see the impressive Mt. Denny and Potts. They both are scrambles and I'd like to tick them off in the following summer. Some snow just made them even more attractive. Looking back, the entire Opal Ridge traverse looked to be very inviting. There would be some difficult sections so you might want to attempt the traverse in summer.

While being amazed by the views, we could see the nasty weather moving in fast, from north side. We figured that we would have another 30min before being soaked in... Oh well, we soon started the way down. Indeed, the clouds rolled in and we got snowed. The descent went by very quick. It was such a pleasure to get rid of the heavy stuffs after more than 2 months of snowshoeing and skiing, and to realize how fast I can travel without these extra pounds on my feet. Round Trip Time: 4 hours.

It was only 12:30 at noon, and despite the weather, we decided to do something else. And yep...

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Steven Song
 
Mount Howard
Nov 18, 2012

The crux of this trip was the driving. I woke up at 5AM in Canmore in a freezing rain, had a quick b ...more

reakfast in MacDonald, and drove to Bragg Creek. I met Andrea at 7:30, and squeezed in her SUV. The snow got heavier and heavier as we were driving down Highway 66, and near Rainy Summit, the visibility was almost zero. We couldn't see where the road is, and it was all covered by a layer of new snow. It was just all in a whiteout. But somehow she managed to drive past the worst area, and we made to the snow covered Powderface Trail, and she managed to drive all the way in to Upper Canyon Creek without winter tires. Wow, I guess that's the difference between a SUV and a car... Anyway, I have to thank her a big time for driving. As forecasted, the wind was very strong, but not crazy enough to knock us off balance, so we kept our original plan.

The walk in was mostly directly against the wind. It wasn't a pleasant feeling when all the blowing snow smashes on our faces. We kept marching, passing the turn-off for Bryant's normal route and then it's east ridge route, and 1 hour later, we were facing at the Howard's ascending ridge.

As soon as we entered the forest, the wind died off completely and it started to feel very hot. We had a quick lunch break in the forest. The hardest part was right after breaking treeline. We slowly progressed up the steepest part, sometimes step-kicking, sometimes post-holing, while facing against the howling wind. Andrea was smart enough to bring ski goggles (I bought one after this trip)... With good attitude, we kept moving, at least we had some blue sky at this moment.

Again, with positive attitude, it was just preserving. The blue sky slowly disappeared as we gained elevation. We traversed the last false summit on climber's left side. The snow slope was rock hard but we didn't bother to use crampons. I slowly kicked tiny "holds" and it worked. There's some hands-on near the summit, and that's the only hands-on section for the entire mountain. The blowing snow made the visibility very low.

Note this is my 150th summit. One way up: 4 hours 15 minutes.

There was very little hope for the weather to improve, so we quickly moved down. We decided to take the Nugara's alternate descend route, straight down the slope. This way we could avoid the howling wind. I ended up getting some fun glissading down the snow slope. Since we took an earlier exit, we were facing at a much longer creek bed walk... There were more snow in this part of than the major Canyon Creek. Thankfully the post-holing wasn't bad. After eternity we made back to Canyon Creek. During the final slog, we got some good evening view. It wasn't evening yet but the sun was low enough to provide orange colours.

Overall, very successful weekend in the mountains again.

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Steven Song
 
Mount Bryant
Nov 17, 2012

One week after the awesome trip to Valemount, I found myself driving south down Highway 2. A couple ...more

of roads will be closed by December 1, so I was more interested in those areas. So I set my objectives to Bryant and Howard. My partner for Bryant will be Travelin' Jones (Neil), while Andrea Battistel will accompany me on Howard. The road condition wasn't as bad as a week before, and temperature was much milder, around 0 degree even in the evening.

My wind shield didn't even freeze up overnight, but that didn't matter as I gonna squeeze in Neil's car. Powderface Trail could be very icy and I definitely don't wanna drive it without winter tires. The condition was better than I thought, and we made to Upper Canyon Creek parking area with no problem.

Due to the front range location, Elbow area was much less snowy. There was no need to bring snowshoes. We soon started the slog up Upper Canyon creek. Due to the snow cover, we didn't bother to find a "path", but just simply walked straight in. About 25min we made to the junction where the standard route leaves the main creek bed and goes up the right hand branch. We both wanted to try the difficult east ridge route but I voted for descending it rather than ascending, simply because I didn't want to increase the chance of failure. The cruxes are near the summit so we wouldn't get ourselves into trouble if the route doesn't work. So we started the even longer slog up the right-hand-side branch. There're a couple of boulder sections that slowed us down a bit due to the snow, but generally we could manage to hike on a fast pace.

After a long time of hiking, we suddenly found a cairn on the left side of creek bed, and a faint snow covered trail. We didn't know if we should follow this trail up but our logic was, it makes no sense if this isn't the correct trail. So we left the creek bed and followed this trail steeply up forested slope. It didn't take long to break through the trees, and now we were contouring around treeline towards the Bryant Lake.

In order to avoid elevation loss, we decided to take a short cut over two short rock bands, and straight up the slope towards the summit. The rock hard and icy snow made things much trickier than anticipated. It could be much easier if we put crampons on, but oh well.

Soon after this big of challenge, we were facing at the huge foreshortened slope leading straight towards the summit. The summit is higher than everything else surrounding, so my suggestion will be keeping eyes on other peaks so you won't get fooled by the view. You should constantly look back and you'll be surprised by the views. The frozen Bryant Lake shows up, and then the infamous 4 peaks of Lougheed, Sparrowhawk & Bogart, and then Fortres/Gusty/Galatea group shows up behind Mount McDougall. One way up: 3 hours.

It was a big windy on the summit, so we didn't stay long. We tried to follow the exact ridge crest down the East Ridge, over a couple of slightly exposed sections, then up a scree ramp to another high point. Now as Nugara mentions in his book, things start to get trickier. We were forced to descend to skier's right side of the ridge crest, and traverse below the notches. There was one step not necessary, but the rock is very solid. Neil took the challenge while I descended on skier's right side (only moderate level). I confirmed that the descend would work, but he needed to traverse towards my side after the most challenging moves as the last bit of his line was actually overhanging. I ended up ascending towards him and helped him selecting footholds, the holds are tiny at places. I'm very impressed. I'm sure this won't be find in any scrambling book if it's a must. Now we could aim for the "orange scree slope" described in Nugara book.

We ended up doing some bushwhacking after the orange scree run. It wasn't long before we made back to Canyon Creek. Another 40min walk we were back at car. Since we still had about 1.5 hours of daylight time, we decided to tick off Jumpingpound Mountain as we were there anyway. It was longer than expected though. Note that Jumpingpound has elevation gain of 400m, which is almost half of Bryant's elevation gain... Oh well, we dumped most of the gears, and 1 hour later we made to the summit. The evening sky made for some good photos.

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Steven Song
 
Jumpingpound Mountain
Nov 17, 2012
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Steven Song
 
Mount McDougall
Sep 8, 2012

From Old Baldy - McDougall col, we had to regain all of the elevation loss because McDougall is only ...more

marginally lower than Old Baldy. We took another lengthy break here and discussed a lot about our summer adventures. Eventually we decided to descend. Don't forget to grab Volcano Peak (aka. Little McDougall) at the end of the day. It's not really a mountain, but judging by its popularity, you shouldn't give it a miss. To me, any mountain that has a name is a mountain, doesn't matter if the name is official or not. Getting there involves some difficult rock bands. No wonder why Nugara failed McDougall twice in winter. If snowy, these rock bands can be tricky to down-climb. With the afternoon sun, the rock formation in Fisher Range looks impressive.

Town of Canmore was already soaked in, not by rain though, but by smoke... I guess there was a forest fire somewhere in Assiniboine - Sunshine area. There's even a register on this peak, which surprised us a bit. We decided to take the gully immediately towards skier's right. Poor decision, this gully turned out to be very miserable. It reminds me about Storm Mountain, the worst scramble ever... There's even a big cliff near the end and forced us to do some bushwhacking to get around. Once down to the main drainage, more bushwhacking was waiting for us... After what seems like eternity of nasty stuffs, we finally managed to find the trail on the right side of the stream. We followed the trail eventually back to Evan Thomas Trail and another 20min brought us back to car. Round Trip Time: 12.5 hours including all of the stops.

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Steven Song
 
Old Baldy Mountain
Sep 8, 2012

Getting to Old Baldy is the longest section of the entire traverse. The connecting ridge isn't a pie ...more

ce of cake neither and gets pretty exposed at places, although not as bad as Kananskis Peak. We took a lengthy break at the summit of Old Baldy. It's the highest point of our day, and we all enjoyed the view. Getting to McDougall is not easy scrambling neither. We tried to follow the ridge down, but immediately we were blocked by a nasty and exposed down-climb. I tried to give it a go but decided to back-up as the holds are very loose. We backtracked for 20m and traversed to the scree / rubble on skier's right, and slogged down to the col.

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Steven Song
 
Kananaskis Peak & GR338442
Sep 8, 2012

The ridge to Kananaskis Peak went easy until we were facing at the slab wall. I guess the easiest li ...more

ne is to traverse climber's right for a bit and aim for the least slabby area. We decided to stay on ridge which proved to be also good. The slab is very grippy and offers better footing than the tedious rubble. The ridge gets very exposed at places and we had to be very careful. I don't know if you can avoid these parts because we didn't even bother to search for an easier line. Judging by the fact that this is a Nugara difficult scramble, I doubt if you can find a much easier route. Now we were facing at a vertical 5m step. Neil led up this step and it proved to be very technical. It involves finger holds, arm strength, and friction. I think you can bypass this step on climber's right but that's down-sloping.

The ridge section immediately after this step has very questionable rock. This part reminds me the final traverse on Mt. Sarbach, although harder than Sarbach for sure. We had to double-check each step before moving. As you can see from these photos, if you are a fun of rubble slog, you might can bypass all of the hands-on by following the tedious slope on the right side, but I'm not sure. The difficult section isn't over yet. You still have to do some slab scrambling and exposed ridge walk to get to the summit.

We went to the west sub-summit and now we were looking down at GR338442. From Kananaskis Peak, this GR doesn't look at a peak at all, but rather a bump on the west ridge... But oh well, it's part of Nugara List, so I have to do it anyway. It's a good call actually as we got the most exciting scrambling of the day on this part. Getting there reminds me going to Southfork Mountain from Barnaby Ridge, as we gotta descend 200m, with maybe 15m regain... Following the ridge, we encountered moderate terrain here and there, until at a shear drop-off. The route goes on skier's left on scree. The scree isn't fun at all. Once the scree is over, we traversed back to the ridge crest on tedious rubble. Right before the summit, there's option for difficult scramble if you want. I bypassed it on the right side while Neil and Tyler climbed head-on. The summit offers better view down to Kananaskis Valley, as well as the impressive slab wall on Kananaskis Peak. It's not worthless.

It's pretty discouraging to see Old Baldy Mountain from GR338442... It's a long way to go, so we didn't rest but immediately turned around towards Kananaskis Peak. Once at the scree section, we decided to "scramble" up that slab wall. I guess Neil and Tyler wanted to see what's all about Mt. Northover... Anyway, it's pretty fun to get some slab climbing. Soon we got back to Kananaskis Peak's sub summit. Now we could focus on the traverse to Old Baldy Mountain.

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Steven Song
 
Wasootch Peak
Sep 8, 2012

The Big Traverse was on my list for a while, and I'm glad to finally find partners for it. Neil Jone ...more

s and Tyler have recently done two impressive traverses: Lawson to Inflexible to Kent Ridge North; Indefatigable to Invincible to Warspite, while I've just finished the hardest scrambles in Kane List: Northover and Smuts, so we also very wanted to know how difficult are those.

I forgot to charge my camera battery the previous evening, so I didn't leave Edmonton until almost 9:30pm... Well, I just drove directly to Evan Thomas Trailhead and sleep. This TH reminds me the lengthy foggy approach to Fisher Peak one month ago, not a mountain I'd like to repeat. Anyway, three of us met at this TH 6AM the next morning. We somehow squeezed in Neil's car and got to Kananaskis Village turnoff. Locating the TH for Wasootch was the first crux of the day. It was much further north (about 50m north of the turnoff for the least). We didn't want to use headlamp so we waited until 6:50 to start the day.

The trail isn't shown on any map, but to our surprise, it's very well maintained. I guess it's due to the popularity of this mountain. The trail follows the left hand side of the major drainage but eventually veers left and aim for Wasootch Peak. Near the treeline, we got excellent view of Kananaskis Valley and the mountains on the other side.

Getting up Wasootch Peak is probably just a little bit harder than Ha Ling. It has one rock band but other than that, it's a highway to the top. It took us 1 hour 40min to get there. I'm glad we got the most significant elevation gain in the shade, as it was forecasted to be a hot day.

We didn't bother to do the lower north summit, instead immediately went down towards Wasootch - Kananaskis col. Right after the summit, there's moderate scrambling involved. I assume you can avoid those bands but if you have trouble here, you won't like Kananskis Peak. So I guess you want to do a bit of warm-up here. There's more elevation loss than anticipated and we dipped below treeline actually. We had to do some brief bushwhacking at the col. Don't worry, there'll be more bushwhacking at the end of the day...

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Steven Song
 
Fisher Peak
Aug 11, 2012

I bumped into Granticulus on Mount Burstall two weeks ago. We briefly talked to each other on that t ...more

rip and we found we had lots of similarities regarding peak-bagging. We both love long traverses and multi-peak days. Therefore we scheduled an ambitious trip of Mount Northover to Worthington to McHarg, along with Aster Lake - Northover Ridge - Three Isle Lake traverse in one day. One week ago, I bumped into Kevin Papke on Kiwetinok Peak and he showed the interest on Fisher Peak. Due to the flooding on Aster Lake trail, we decided to head to Fisher on Saturday, August 11. So?? Biking or not? If asking me, then as tradition, of course no bike. And both of them agreed. As the date came closer, Kevin had other plans on Saturday, and the weather forecast was getting worse and worse. A mix of sun and cloud in the morning, isolated showers with chances of thunderstorms in afternoon... Okay, due to the life-threatening experience on Mt Niblock, Grant and I decided to leave Calgary by 4:30.

The weather was much worse than anticipated. I didn't see a piece of sun on the drive in and almost every mountain was soaked in clouds... Oh well, since we were there, we gotta have to go anyway. By this point, I was totally mentally prepared for turning around as I knew how long how high and how difficult this mountain is... Grant was optimistic as he had more experience regarding whiteouts and thunderstorms.

We started Even Thomas trail at 5:40AM, and we soon set up a racing pace up. Glad I was smart enough to do warm-up before. When I go solo, I will consider the first 1-2km as warming up and I will go very slow at the start. But after the trip to Edith with Wil, I know I have to do warm-up when not soloing as most scramblers start fast... There are several side trails but basically you just follow the main branch. I usually don't feel the approach distance on the way in because I have the peak in mind. The trail was poorly surfaced at places due to horse traffic, as well as flooding sections. Grant managed to hop the first major creek crossing, while I forded that because I didn't like to risk wetting my boots this early... We also passed a horse camp. After exact 2 hours in, we were facing the second creek crossing. We got pretty confused by Kane's description and Grant's GPS. The GPS showed 10.5km while according to Kane, we had to start up at about 9km... After a bit of discussion, we decided not to cross the second creek, but directly bushwhack up. The bush was not as bad as thought, and there was not many pushings required. We made our way up pretty fast and soon we arrived at a giant boulder field. We tried to ascend the boulder field but decided to go up the grass on the side which turned out to be a good decision. Because we were in the clouds we couldn't see how high we still had to go to top out on the north ridge, but as I remembered, this section took a long time. Due to the poor weather, I didn't take many pictures on this part.

Note: The north ridge of Fisher Peak can probably be reached from anywhere below so you don't have to be picky about where to leave the trail and start bushwhacking.

Once we topped on the north ridge, we couldn't see anything more than 100m away... We didn't encounter the pinnacle described on Vern's trip report, so that means, we must have topped out before the plateau / bump. Going up the plateau was a bit mossy and feeled like post-holing... Once up there, we still couldn't see the upper mountain due to clouds, and immediately we had to loose elevation. From there on, it was a talus / boulder slog. Sloging and sloging, you will find the ridge getting narrower with increasing drop-off on climber's left. Continue up the ridge until reaching the first crux down-climb. By this point, we got better view towards north (Kananaskis Village direction), but the summit were still covered.

My first reaction when seeing this downclimb was, "is this the crux??" Oh man, that's just like a longer version of the downclimb from Pollinger to McArthur... I quickly figured both Kane's and Vern's route (straight down the nose), and I decided to use Vern's route. Except for the first few moves which was exposed, the entire down-climb was quite straightforward. The easiest line is easy to spot as well. Once I finished, I watched Grant climbing down while taking photos for this section. Another shorter down-climb soon followed this one.

After this bit of fun, we started the trudge towards False summit. Why I say false summit? Because according to altimeter, we still had quite a long way to go. So the one ahead must be false peak. Once up there, the second crux waited for us. Compared to the first one, this is shorter, as exposed, but involves one long reach (according to Alan Kane). I didn't feel the long reach whild down-climbing though, but did realize that move whild climbing up (on the way back). I would say, this is as difficult as the first one. After this part, we had to balance over a 10m long exposed ridge section, and then another short but difficult downclimb.

Then, the final trudge up talus slope brought us to the summit, the highest mountain in the range. Ironically, except for the cairn and register, we couldn't see anything else.... Fxxx, we wanted the views!!!!! Ascent time: 5 hours 15 minutes, without bike. We waited for 35min on the summit but there was no sign of improvement. Grant didn't bring extra closing so we had to get moving. Plus we all had the concern about thunderstorm in afternoon. The entire ridge is exposed to lightning so we had to descend quick. I led up the crux again because I wanted to get scramble photos taken from above.

Now what.. The fun parts had gone, and the rest of the day? One word: Tedious... On the way up I already noticed the entire route was solid, and therefore, the every step going down should be all on the knees. The terrain was mostly talus and boulders. We took our time and carefully made our way down the north ridge. We spotted Vern's pinnacle but we didn't feel like doing a new route down, so we regained elevation to the plateau, where we took a break soaking in the views. The summit was still in the clouds so we didn't regred coming down anyway. We took a slight different line down from the north ridge, and, big mistake... This line was full of boulders. We soon traversed to our original line and we tried to use grass for as much as we could. Once reaching treeline, we bushwhacked diagonally down towards more skier's right. We poped out on the trail just 10m downstream from our leaving point in the morning. Now, a tedious 10km walk back brought us to the car. Very boring and tiring. Round trip time: 10.5 hours including all stops.

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Steven Song
 
Mount Collembola
Jun 25, 2012

The descent from Allan to Allan - Collembola col went on pretty quick. It wasn't scree run but still ...more

loose which helped a lot on the knees. Then solid ground quickly led me up to the false summit of Collembola, where I faced a series of moderate down-climbs. I was too lazy to skirt around for most of them. I descent slightly towards skier's right for the last one in order to find a weakness. The rock was wet so I couldn't trust the friction, and that's why I didn't downclimb that band directly. Dark clouds were building above me and I knew thunderstorm was gonna come. I descent about 20m on the talus slope towards SE for a bit of security. The clouds passed by after about 10min and I used the talus slope for the rest of the ascent. Thankfully the last section only lasted about 15min long. I quickly took a panorama and signed the register. The last entry was Jeff Shaw's, in December, 2011. The pencil was in bad shape.

I didn't like bushwhacking solo so if not because of the thunderstorm I would side-slope around Mount Allan to get to Olympic Summit and descent Centennial Ridge Trail to get back. However, this time I didn't have a choice, instead I quickly made my way down the SE ridge (So Nakagawa's descent route). It took me no time to get down this slope. Just about getting to the drainage, severe thunderstorm hit from behind, lightnings, thunders, and downpour. From the drainage you have to bushwhack about 1km to get to Marmot Basin Road. The bush was quite thick, and since rain was falling I got soaked very soon. The next half an hour was the most miserable of the day. I got lost in the forest and din't know exactly where was the road nor ski runs. I just picked a straight line with massive amount of bushwhacking and dead fall negotiating, and got completely soaked everythere. While listening to thunders above, I had to shout loudly for scary away the bears. I had no reference except for my watch. I knew I shouldn't spend too much time for just 1km distance. I eventually reached a ski run, and followed it down. I still had to make calls as bears love these open slopes, the good thing was I could see them and they could see me as well. The slope went on forever and finally I reached the Skogan Pass Trail, which joined Marmot Basin Road soon. Another 1km or so, I was at Nakiska Ski Resort. Note it was down-pouring all the way from the start of bushwhacking to Nakiska Resort... That was awful, but since I had extra clothing in car it shouldn't be a problem. Because I was moving I could keep myself warm. I didn't bother to use the Hidden Trail, instead I picked a longer way along the road to get to Ribbon Creek parking lot (avoid bear problem for as much as I could). I got no extra boots except for the mountaineering boots so this would be my last day of the trip. Weather also looked hopeless on Tuesday, with 20-30mm rain, so I drove back soon.

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Steven Song
 
Mount Allan
Jun 25, 2012

Since I did Pigeon Mountain and Squaw's Tit the previous day (2200m total elevation gain), I was a b ...more

it tired in the morning on Monday, June 25, and I slept in quite a bit. Weather was promising, sunny in Canmore, so I still wanted a big ascent. I had my eye on the 5-peak-traverse from Wasootch Peak to Little McDougal for a long time, therefore I drove to Kananaskis Village. However, I changed my mind at the last minute to the 3-peak-traverse from Olympic Summit to Mt Collembola, which is more popular and has a trail for most of the part (this one has more elevation gain but shorter distance).

I wasted too much time in the morning, and started the ascent at almost 9AM, which was quite a late start. (If I started 20min later, I would fail Mount Collembola because of afternoon thunderstorms)... There was already cars parking at Ribbon Creek parking lot, but I wasn't sure if those guys were heading to Centennial Ridge, as there are many other trails starting at that area. Centennial Ridge Trail is very well marked, and you just can't get lost. The problem was the feeling of loneliness, and seeing lots of bear scats didn't help though. I started to make lots of bear calls. You gonna travel a good amount of distance before reaching the open grassy slope on the south side of Olympic Summit, where I finally could stop yelling... I passed two other hikers here, one from Edmonton and the other from Quebec. Due to the massive amount of elevation gain in the day before, I was short of energy. I tried to slow down the pace, but only for a few steps and then found myself speeding up again... I guess it's hard to maintain a slower pace when you hike solo, and as a result I had to pause regularly. After a bit of perseverance I stood on top of Olympic Summit. The view of the rock wall: Mt Bogart - Sparrowhawk - Wind Mountain - Mt Lougheed was impressive. All four of those are on my list and I gonna do them when the snow melts. I can attempt Sparrowhawk and Lougheed now, but I just don't like the extra weight of ice axe, crampons, and mountaineering boots (note my hiking boots are not crampon compatible and I have to carry mountaineering boots if there's a great amount of distance with crampons on). My hiking boots are very soft, but crampons are rigid, so that's why. Is there a way to let them work?

After Olympic Summit you gonna have to lost about 80m elevation towards the rock garden, where you can admire some impressive pinnacles. A hail / wet snow storm moved in and I lost the view temporarily after this section. The rest of the way to the summit of Allan was just about perseverance again. I managed to summit Allan literally 2 minute before another big storm, therefore I got a decent panorama from the summit. The register is specially shaped and even contains sugars and snacks. The book was wet and I could barely write on it with pencil. The hail / wet snow storm was significantly heavier than the previous one. I found a shelter place on the east side and waited for more than 30min until it was gone. During which two scramblers joined me on the summit, they didn't plan on Collembola so headed down soon after taking a few white-out summit photos.

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Steven Song
 
Compression Ridge
Jun 7, 2012

Trip Report: http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=48569

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Steven Song
 
Nihahi Ridge
Jun 7, 2012

Trip Report: http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=48569

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Steven Song
 
Mount Fullerton
Jun 7, 2012

Trip Report: http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=48569

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Steven Song
 
Mount Baldy
May 21, 2012

After finishing Mount Yamuska, I drove towards Kananaskis Trail for Mount Baldy. This is another sho ...more

rt popular scramble described in Alan Kane's book. From the trail head, ascend steeply through the forest. If you go at a steady pace, you will hit treeline in 20-30min. The ridge narrows considerably and leads to a 2m down climb. This is the normal crux on this route. The holds are very solid though, but if you are a newbie, you might feel nervous as there's exposure towards right. The next obstacle is a huge slabby face. Most people will choose to skirt around it on the right side, however, if you are looking for more hands-on scrambling, I suggest staying right on the ridge crest and climb up this face. It would be rated a upper moderate to difficult, but again, the holds are very solid. After this, the rest of your day is just a slog to the summit. If you are ambitious, you can traverse to the south peak and then west peak, and descend via an obvious gully between south Baldy and west Baldy. I want to leave West Baldy for an ascent via the more challenging west ridge, so I decided to go back.

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Steven Song
 
Prairie Mountain
Apr 28, 2012

Finally finished my last exam, on the morning of April 28th. The weather forecast showed clear skies ...more

on the day, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I decided to do a half day hike, and thus started the drive from Edmonton to Calgary. Prairie Mountain is probably the closest mountain from Calgary. It's my first time driving on Highway 66, and it turned out to be a pleasant drive.
Park at the winter closure gate. There is little to say about the hike, as a trail leads you from the parking area right to the top. It's a 3km one way hike with 700m elevation gain, so be prepared for a steep grade if you do it as a season starter. For us, we spent just over 1 hour to get to the summit. Note that it's my first on-season hike in 2012, that is, no post-holing, no trail breaking, etc. On the summit, you can see most of the peaks in Elbow / Sheep Valley area towards west, including the big Glasgow to Banded Traverse. My car cannot take bikes so that would be a 16-18 hours push... We will see in June. Moose Mountain dominates the view to north. To east, you can see Calgary's skyline and the prairie. We didn't linger too long on the summit. Downhill hike on solid ground isn't as fun as on snow... Weather you are on snowshoes or on boots, the snow can reduce the impact force on your knees, or even you can slide down a little bit with every step. On solid ground, it's all on your knees...

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Steven Song
 
Midnight Peak & GR385487
Jan 28, 2012

Midnight Peak is actually a nickname of an unnamed peak south of Mt. Baldy. It has a south peak, whi ...more

ch is somehow nicknamed as “Midday Peak” by So. I ascent them both, but I will call the "Midday Peak" as the south peak of Midnight Peak. This peak is supposed to be an easy scramble. But somehow due to navigation error, I ended up upgrading it to a difficult scramble. Non of the web authors has done the same route as I did, so I’m gonna name it as “NNW Ridge Route”. I strongly not recommend light heart scramblers to attempt my route, because of two obvious reasons. One is that, there’s at least 3 or 4 other routes that are either easy or moderate. The second one is that, this route involves: bushwhacking, loose talus slope climbing, difficult rock band, difficult slab crack climbing, exposed traverse of down-sloping slabs, and a long exposed knife-edge ridge walk. The ridge thing is as exhilarating as Mt. Lady MacDonald’s summit ridge, but definitely much longer. And that’s not the crux. I felt the down slope slab part is the most difficult of the entire route. So you need to have difficult scrambling experience before trying this one. The detailed route description is incorporated into each photo. Too bad I didn’t take picture on the crux slab, as I was too concentrating on route finding to take picture.The traverse from N peak to S peak is very simple but takes energy. My mom was waiting for me at the treeline so I cannot descent the same route as So did, instead I had to get back up to N Peak again. I used the NW face / gully for descending. It's mainly a huge tedious talus slope. But some snow slopes also offer great glissading. With all of these, it took me 9 hours in total...

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Photos taken by Steven