Mount Engadine is part of the Kananaskis Range named after WWI battleships. (Engadine is also a famous tourist spot in the Swiss Alps). Kananaskis Provincial Park borders to the south the four connecting national parks that make up the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Mount Engadine was first ascended in 1956 by Fraser, Gorrill and Hicks.
Mount Engadine is one of the less-frequently climbed peaks bordering Spray Lakes Road. More than likely due to its tedious bushwhack approach and descent. But the fact that you can do a full western traverse of the mountain makes it an interesting objective. In summer conditions Engadine’s west-northwest ridge is a difficult scramble. In early season or winter conditions it is an alpine climb. Its summit gives up fine views of the Spray Lakes Reservoir and surrounding peaks. I climbed Mount Engadine in June of 2005, but in early conditions with prevailing mini-storms. My scramble, therefore, became a full on Alpine climb. No glacier travel, but a 800’ steep hardpack snow ridge, some waist deep know on the final summit ridge making a line along an overhanging cornice and a deep snow descent through considerable avalanche terrain.
Without the snow, I am sure the route is much more reasonable. There are no published alpine rock or ski routes on Engadine.
From the Canmore Nordic Center, drive 32 km south on the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorrien Road (gravel). Turn right at signs for the Buller Mountain Day Use parking lot. You are guaranteed mountain sheep on the road and once in a blue moon, a moose or two. Watch for hazardous rock fall on the switchbacks above Canmore.
There are no permit requirements to enter, climb and/or park in Kananaskis Provincial Park.
This is active grizzly country however. Take bear spray. There are no park headquarters on this road. Kananaskis Park headquarters are located on Highway 40 east of Canmore. Any recent notices will be posted on the bulletin board at that location. If they are open, check in with the ranger staff, they have tons of beta and are always friendly.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. We just had a grizzly fatality in Canmore, June, 2005. I do advise checking with the park website link provided above for possible trail closures.
When To Climb
As with most scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. However, I climbed Mount Engadine in June and faced full on alpine conditions requiring crampons, alpine ax and gaiters. There appear to be no reasonable ski routes to the summit.
The closest camping is located back at the north end of Spray Lakes Reservoir across the dam at random campsites located on the west shore of the lake. You cannot camp outside of the marked specific camping areas in Kananaskis. Refer to the Kananaskis Provincial Park website
for more information regarding camping and/or lodging.
The Kananaskis Provincial Park website
is a very thorough park website, including trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices, weather conditions, avalanche conditions, camping permits, whitewater conditions, etc. It is an excellent source if you are going to spend any time here and comparable to any National Park website I have used. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association
is also useful, particularly for winter travel.
External Links100’s of Canadian Rockies multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routesOR: Best True Technical Clothing and Accessories in the Outdoor IndustryScarpa, has surpassed La Sportiva in terms of quality, function, valueOsprey Backpacks, Not a Second ChoiceGreat Outdoors DepotMont-BellCascade Designs (MSR; Thermarest; Platypus)