OverviewLimestone Mountain is a minor peak, more like an outlier of The Wedge, than a separate summit. This peak is the runt of the Opal Range, but it is an officially named summit. This little peak only reaches 2173 metres (7,129ft.) and has very little prominence from its larger neighbour. From the shared col with The Wedge, the elevation gain to the summit of Limestone Mountain is only 53 metres. Prominence measurement on topographic base map – Northern section of Opal Range.
This summit likely only sees attention from hikers and scramblers since it has an official name. No information is available on the source of the name or the first ascent party. The predominant rock type in the Canadian Rockies, and in the Opal Range, is limestone, assumedly this is where the name for this peak originated from. The only published information is in Andrew Nugara’s book, “More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”.
Easy highway access from Highway 40 along the western edge of the Opal Range provides the best approach. Highway 40 provides access from the Trans Canada Highway in the north, and continues south to the Longview area, but the southern section is closed for wildlife protection from December 1 to June 15 each winter/spring. Best vehicle access from Canmore/Banff or Calgary is via the Trans Canada Highway, south along Highway 40.
Both the West and South Ridge routes can be accessed by parking in the Galatea Day Use Area parking lot, 32.5 km south of Highway 1. Rocky Creek crosses Highway 40 about 1.5 km south of the Galatea parking area, and one can park in the roadside ditch, but ensure your vehicle is parked in a safe location off the highway and not damaging any vegetation.
Red Tape/Camping and BivouacsThe parking area to access Limestone Mountain is located in Spray Valley Provincial Park. No permit or fee is required to park or climb in this park. The ascent of Limestone Mountain is easily completed in a day and a bivouac is not required. Backcountry camping permits are required at all designated backcountry campgrounds anywhere in Kananaskis Country. Random backcountry camping is not permitted in Provincial Parks or Provincial Recreation Areas in Kananaskis Country. For more information contact the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre or the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Visitor Information Centre during normal hours of operation.
When to ClimbTypical Canadian Rockies situation with July and August providing the best conditions for high elevation climbing. Limestone Mountain is actually really low elevation, and with the position in the dry front ranges, this extends the summer season and the peak is usually dry from May to late October.
For the West Ridge approach, head east across the highway from the parking lot and pick the line of least resistance up the steep treed slope. Occasional horizontal ledges provide some relief from the steep grade. At approximately 1800 metres (250m of elevation gain from the highway) a lightly treed bench is reached, head to the base of the West Ridge.
Parking in the ditch at Rocky Creek is the best option for the South Ridge. From the ditch head east and upstream for about 400 metres, then take a left, north, to gain the lower South Ridge through light trees.
Route DescriptionsThe only published information is in Andrew Nugara’s book, “More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”. Andrew describes the South Ridge route.
- West Ridge, Class 2-3 (easy/moderate scramble)
- South Ridge, Class 2-3 (easy/moderate scramble)