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Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

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Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby blueshade » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:24 am

I'm looking at a trip that would include southern British Columbia and the national parks into Alberta.

In particular, there seems to be less clear, easily available information on what are some of the best scrambling peaks in the region.

Suggestions?

Scrambles - Preferably 1 day affairs, but can be more and can include big mileage. Up to Class 4/low Class 5.

Climbs - Up to 5.9/low 5.10

Hikes - Best of the best (backpacks, views, waterfalls, lakes, etc)

Thanks!
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Dow Williams » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:21 pm

blueshade wrote:In particular, there seems to be less clear, easily available information on what are some of the best scrambling peaks in the region.

Suggestions?


Not really. In contrast, I have actually done most of the Canadian Rockies scrambles, added my first hand description to summitpost and given recommendations as to my favorites via a star system. It is the most utilized source on the internet. Just google Canadian Rockies Scrambles.

Same for the climbs you seek. You can google Banff Rock Climbs, Canadian Rockies Alpine Climbs, EEOR Rock Climbs, Yamnuska Rock climbs, Ghost Wilderness Rock climbs, etc.....it all sorts to the top of Google, is well organized, first hand beta only and recommended routes are starred and listed in geographical order.

Enjoy your trip.
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby blueshade » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:39 pm

Dow Williams wrote:
Not really. In contrast, I have actually done most of the Canadian Rockies scrambles, added my first hand description to summitpost and given recommendations as to my favorites via a star system. It is the most utilized source on the internet. Just google Canadian Rockies Scrambles.



I saw that, and that is perhaps a good starting place. However, listing 50 different climbs and either giving them 3 stars or no stars isn't that helpful, especially to someone that isn't familiar with the area. Also, at least personally, I much prefer giving climbs a Class rating, rather than just easy, moderate, or difficult. There is too much room for interpretation and allows for more accurate ratings (5+ levels vs. 3). Perhaps list your favorite 5 or 10?
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Dow Williams » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:57 pm

"Listing 50 different climbs"....is not the way it was done...the Canadian Rockies offer more diverse climbing then you are probably use to in Colorado. Big wall climbs, extreme waterfall ice climbing, alpine climbing (in the traditional sense, meaning glacier travel is always involved), 20 pitch sport climbs, 20 pitch trad climbs with glacier travel involved (Bugs, etc), ski mountaineering, scrambles involving grizzlies, ice and high river crossings during summer months.

You can buy 30 different guidebooks, some good ones too, Chic Scotts ski mountaineering book a favorite of mine, Kane's scramble book is good although he does not really sort out his favorites..our alpine print resource that has been nick named the "book of lies" for good reason....Corbett's really good 11er book....JJ's waterfall ice climb book is good.....from there it becomes quite geographical, a rock book for Yam, Bow Valley Rock, a rock book for the Ghost, Marc Piche Bugs rock book, Banff Sport climbs....most of which are good guides...not all still avail in print.

The way we have it sorted on SP is extremely logical...by discipline, then by geographical and starred for preference/recommendations. If you want, or in your case, request, information from locals, you have to live with their grading system. Kane got us all on the Easy-Moderate and Difficult scale for scrambles. I along with my friends from Calgary, all appreciate that scale and have no problem living with it. In Canada we do not consider this climbing and they are not mixed with climbing on this site. In my case, I am quick to point out any 5th class sections on a scramble in my beta.

You are not going to get it any more "dumbed down" than that. A little mystery is good for the adventure aspect of what scrambling is all about.
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Bill Kerr » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:22 pm

All covered by Dow's beta on SP but if you want a starting point for scrambles and Hikes - best to start with some easy scrambles and move up from there. My favorite suggestions are:
Canmore area - easiest is Ha Ling - mostly hike with great view,
Lake Louise area - mount Fairview - mostly hike with spectacular views - may still be snow in June/July - Temple is most popular but 5000 ft gain and mountaineering early in season.
Banff - Mt Edith - three peaks - harder difficult scramble with route finding but neat three peak day with great views. If not up to that then Cascade is great choice.
Icefields parkway area probably will still have too much snow until Aug but Cirque is great hike with views. Do snow coach trip on Columbia glacier.
Jasper - several local mountains scrambles and Edith Cavell is popular(5.3 ridge) but if short of time the day hike in/out of Berg lake by Robson is more recommended. Robson has 10,000 ft Prominence.
Bus and day hike trips around Lake O'Hara are are also spectacular - may still be lots of snow early in summer.
That should give you a flavour of the areas - mostly broken limestone and shale so takes a bit to get used to it.
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Old School WB » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Dow’s lists of Canadian Rockies ascents are truly impressive. His summitpost pages of scrambles, alpine routes and climbing areas is the best web based resource for the Canadian Rockies. The limited range of rating scrambling to three classes was established by Alan Kane in the watershed book, “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”. There are many local Calgary (and other area based) scramblers who maintain and update individual websites with lots of beta and photos. If you have the time, the below links could provide a lot of great background to plan the scrambles portion of your trip. Alpine climbing beta is tougher to get. Dow’s pages, Gravsports (very limited in summer) or MCR guide reports are your best source for alpine conditions and beta. For sport climbing, TABVAR provides lots of guide books updates (PDF) online. Bivouac.com is a good source for many types of climbing and mountaineering, but a sign up fee is required.

The climbing, hiking and scrambling books published by Rocky Mountain Books are the best source of hardcopy beta.

Happy planning and enjoy the research.
Cheers

http://www.freewebtown.com/anugara/log2.htm

http://www.explor8ion.com/

http://sonnybou.ca/photogallery.html

http://www.soistheman.com/diary/

http://summitsearch.org/

http://www.gravsports-ice.com/icethreads/

http://www.acmg.ca/mcr/

http://www.tabvar.org/

http://bivouac.com/

http://www.rmbooks.com/display_category.php?cat_id=46
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby rsac » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:38 am

I haven't done much hiking or climbing in BC but I can give some suggestions for the Bow Valley area. There is definitely a lot to do out but here are some of my favourites.

Scrambles:
Kananaskis is not to be missed even though it's often overlooked for the National Parks to the north. It's much less touristy than the Banff area and I've found that I usually see a lot more wildlife here than in other areas. Mt. Indefatigable is a nice easy scramble and the views are great from the summit ridge. Also the traverse to the north summit is an enjoyable ridge walking extension with a bit of exposure. Mt. Engadine is another fun scramble but it is quite a bit more involved with 4th class scrambling up the ridge. The rock is typically quite sound and the scrambling on the ridge is awesome.
In the Canmore region I like Mt. Lady Macdonald. It's mostly a hike with the last 20 minutes of exposed difficult scrambling to the summit. The rock's solid and there are views of the Bow Valley.
I agree that Mt. Edith and Mt. Temple are excellent scrambles. Also, Mt. Whyte/Niblock is a nice day with great views of Mt. Victoria.

I haven't done many scrambles along the Icefields Parkway but Mt. Chephren was a great, difficult(4th to low 5th class) scramble with views of all the surrounding icefields and Mt. Howse's spectacular NE buttress. It can be done in one very long day or two. Also its prudent to bring an ice axe and crampons on this one. At least drive up the Icefields Parkway to see the scenery.

Hiking: Lake O'hara is a must-see area although access is a little trying. The Little Yoho Valley and Skoki region are both spectacular. My favorite backpacking trip is definately Northover ridge in Kananaskis (not to be confused with Mt. Northover). It's beautiful country spread over a nice 2-3 day trip.

I've just begun multipitch climbing so I don't know too much about that however there is quite a lot of single pitch sport climbing in the Bow Valley. Grotto Canyon has some nice climbs although a lot of the rock is very polished. Heart Creek is a nice canyon with multiple walls and a multitude of 9's and 10's to do (the rock has become quite polished in spots though) Grassi lakes is also quite nice with steep pocketed climbing and lots of moderate routes. Cougar Canyon is supposed to have lots of 10's but I haven't climbed there much. Lake Louise is the best crag in my opinion though with bulletproof quartzite and trad and sport climbs of all difficulties.

I hope this was helpful. Enjoy your trip!
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Stu Brandel » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:54 pm

I second the above suggestion of the Lake O'Hare circuit as premier hike - though it has more of a class 2 scramble/route finding feel to it than your typical hike. You have to go through a lot to get a permit, but it is truly worth it.

My other long hike suggestion for a more typical long hike that is full of sustained grandeur is taking the Iceline trail in Yoho over the Whaleback to Twin Falls, then exiting down into Yoho valley and back. Long but stunning all the way.

I have only limited scrambling experience here. I enjoyed a scramble up Bow Peak, which has a more wild feel to it than the more crowded trail/small class 3 scramble to nearby Cirque Peak, though that summit view is without parallel. Someday I want to put Bow Peak up on SP, once I scan some photos.
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Re: Best Canadian Scrambles, Hikes, and Climbs

Postby Old School WB » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:24 pm

Stu, Bow Peak is also a great ski, skied nearly to the summit, only a short walk on rock to the summit. We had great powder on the ski out.

The suggestions made are great. Lake O'Hara is incredibly scenic and beautiful (don’t get Dow started on the limited access ;-), Yoho National Park in general has great hiking trails and fantastic scenery. Any hiking out of Lake Louise provides unbelievable scenery, but has the crowds. The suggestion for Skoki is ideal, short backpack in to several campgrounds, great trails and many moderate to easy scrambles. The historic Skoki Lodge is legendary in Canadian Rockies history. The peaks and trails in Skoki have a tenth of the tourists compared to across the highway in Lake Louise, and great views back to the glaciated peaks above the Lake, especially from Mt. Richardson (easy walk up, Class 2).

Sonny has some great photos on his site.

http://sonnybou.ca/ssbou2006/richardsonpika.html
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