Take a hike (in April!)

A view of "Midnight Peak" from the North Ridge

A view of "Midnight Peak" from the North Ridge

Tough to decide: A beautiful day was forecast (+22C and bluebird!), so do you go downhill skiing, mountain biking, road biking, kayaking, or hiking? Since winds gusts were forecast, we elected to do some early season hiking in KCountry (Kananaskis). A short 35 minute drive from Canmore, Baldy Pass (from the south) is not a bad choice. The hike is only 4 km to the col, but it does gain 487m (1600 feet). It offers great views of the Nakiska ski area (on Mt Allen) across the valley, and from the top you can see the great peaks of Lougheed behind Mt Allen. Note that we originally intended to hike the fantastic Centennial Trail on Mt Allen, but found it closed for lambing until late June.

The Baldy Trail was "modified" by the Great Flood event of 2013. Being in a narrow draw, there are various scree slopes dropping onto the trail that provided plenty of alluvial debris to be moved along by the immense precipitation that fell in those rainy days in late June. Much of the lower portion of the trail was buried, but is slowly getting turned back into a walkable route. Further up, the trail is intact, but was still iced in. We met a group of elderly hikers from a Cochrane hiking club that had poles, but not "icers". We happened to bring a couple of sets, and they were invaluable for a few hundred meters (up and down). I've attached a picture below for those that are not familiar with these light weight pseudo crampons.

Once at the col, we ventured up to the south (towards Midnight Peak) for a bit, until we encountered a bit too much isothermic snow for our liking. We had some lunch, and then descended down to the col, and then up the north ridge. At that point, we were into the winds! The gusts were likely in the 80 kph range, and they pushed you around a bit too much to want to get on to narrow exposed ridges. Thus we sat, took in the view, and then headed back down.

A nice little hike to get the quads in working order for the coming hiking season!