Mount Lorette is a relatively insignificant peak located on a small ridge bordering the Kananaskis River Valley in Kananaskis Provincial Park. Kananaskis Provincial Park encompasses over 4,000 square kilometers of foothills and mountains bordering Banff National Park in the central Canadian Rockies. Mount Lorette is more famous for its name than its size no doubt. It was officially named in 1922 after the “Lorette Spur” in WWI. The capture of the Lorette Spur from the Germans by the French was a significant battle in the war. Mount Lorette was first ascended via the alpine route by Hind, Richardson, Keeling, Dodds and McAllister in 1952.
Mount Lorette sits directly across the Kananaskis River Valley from the popular scramble objective of Mount Baldy. The only published route up Mount Lorette is an Alpine II-5.4 route via the south ridge. This route does involve a river crossing. It is such an accessible alpine climb compared to most in the Canadian Rockies that it sees its share of traffic.
Two solo climbers died in two separate incidents on Lorette in 2003. Armed with this beta, I chose to ascend Mount Lorette with a partner, pvalchev, versus a solo attempt. I found the route nothing more than a difficult scramble and would do the route solo, but can imagine the looseness of the ridge no doubt contributed to the two fatalities in 2003. I believe it was a mere coincidence that they occurred in the same year.
The most immediate views on ascent are Mount Bogart, The Wedge and Mount Kidd to the south. Once on the summit, Mount Joffre, Mount Lougheed and the backside of Three Sisters come into full view.
Take the Kananaskis Highway (Highway 40) exit off of the Trans-Canada Highway between Calgary and Canmore. Travel past Kananaskis Park headquarters and Barrier Lake on your right and look for the Mount Lorette Ponds Day Use Parking area on your left. Continue past this pull out and park along side the road on the right hand side before the next bend, placing you squarely in line with the southeast ridge of Mount Lorette. This spot is approximately 40 minutes from Canmore, or 50 minutes from Calgary.
There are no permit requirements to enter, climb and/or park in Kananaskis Provincial Park. This is active grizzly country however. Take bear spray. Pvalchev indicated he spotted a dead grizzly cub near the descent route in 2004. There have been numerous 2005 trail closures in Kananaskis due to mountain lions and grizzlies. Therefore it would be prudent to check recent notices posted on the park’s website. You will pass the park headquarters en route on Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail) several kilometers south of the Trans-Canada (on your right). Notices are posted outside if they are closed. This is a solid information center with good staff and beta.
As with most climbs in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. We did this climb in September and conditions were completely dry. There are no published backcountry ski routes on Mount Lorette, however, skiing to the col north of the summit via the descent route might be plausible.
There is a significant lodging and campground complex several kilometers south called Kananaskis Village. The lodging options here include the Ribbon Creek Hostel and posh Delta Lodge. 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.