Crowsnest Pass is an obscure thin section of the Canadian Rockies that connects Kananaskis Provincial Park with Waterton National Park along the continental divide (border of British Columbia and Alberta). To drive from Canmore and/or Banff to Crowsnest Pass can take 3.5 to 4 hours. There is not much in the way of technical climbing in the area, ice nor rock. However, Crowsnest Pass offers a few scramble objectives amongst a smattering of small Canadian mining towns. Waterton National Park to the south at least offers some fine waterfall ice objectives in the winter along with its scramble collection. The Crowsnest area in contrast offers little in the way of technical climbing (in comparison to the National Park areas/towns). You are more likely to run into hunters and fishermen on their ATVs and snow mobiles than climbers, skiers or scramblers in the backcountry.
Window Mountain is, in my opinion, the most interesting of the scramble objectives near Crowsnest Pass. Crowsnest Mountain is the most popular objective in the area, but Window Mountain truly possesses one of the more unique formations in the Canadian Rockies, an arch the size of which I have only seen via sandstone in the southern Utah desert. How a limestone arch of this size can sustain the weight of itself is beyond me. The window created by the arch could fit a two story house.
Many scramblers abide by Kane’s suggestion in his guide book to just meander up to the base of the window, which is not the summit of Window Mountain, and call it a day. Thus he gives the objective an easy rating in his scrambler guide book. However, avid and fit peak baggers will prefer to bag Mount Ward, Allison Peak and Window Mountain in a day, dropping down to the base of the window on descent. This makes for a true circumvention of the entire area skirting the continental divide repeating few steps. This strategy also lends Window Mountain’s true summit to the difficult category of scrambles, in both the descent from the connecting ridge between Mount Ward and Allison Peak and the descent from the summit of Window Mountain to the base of the window itself. Although involving some 5th class moves, I still consider this objective a scramble versus an alpine climb. Despite all the peaks and sub peaks involved, I made this complete three peak ascent and descent in 4.5hrs from the Window Mountain Lake trailhead to my vehicle parked out on the Allison Creek Road (Range Road 52A-53A). I have read another party record 8hrs for this trip, so plan accordingly. In any regard, the elevation gain and loss among the Crowsnest objectives is far less than most located in the National Parks.
The window itself frames Crowsnest Mountain and Seven Sisters to the southeast. I descended upon, within 10m, a goat and her kid at the col between the highpoint on the Ward-Allison Ridge and the Window Mountain summit. If I were a mountain lion, the kid would have been toast. On return to Range Road 52A-53A, I pushed a young black bear down a clear cut road (before he entered the thick regrowth) for about a km in late September during prime berry season.