Page Type
Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Difficult (some exposure)

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Created On: May 12, 2005
Last Edited On: Jun 6, 2005


Place your bike at the Fortress Junction service station off of Hwy 40. Drive back to the Opal Day Use parking area and park along side of the road if closed. Head straight up east from here via no trail.

Route Description

Some small rock climbing is involved to avoid snow this early in the season. You top out onto a small ridge that takes you to the base of a false summit. Zig zag your way up to a gully on the right, hop over the shoulder and head up snow/scree to another corner. Turn left and hit a little saddle just left of a small problem. Climb up and onto another ridge.

This flat terrain takes you to another false summit. Make sure to angle left low around this project to avoid the steeper snow. Find a line across the snow to the left that is not as steep in regards to avalanche danger. Skirt on across and ramp up this false summit if you like, or continue straight for the real summit. Once you gain the next altitude towards the real summit, you will have a 10 meter step of rock up and onto a small flat summit which is the northern peak of this traverse. You have just begun, be ready for a long day and some more technical scrambling.

Descending this peak is treacherous in early season. Everything was loose (that really goes for the whole ridge, but this descent is particularly rotten). Once on the traverse, you will hit several problems. One of the largest is a section of tightly folded strata. You have to pick a lot of lines and be equipped with route finding experience to tackle this ridge. Eventually you will come to some overhanging and deeply exposed wall protruding for quite a distance down the mountain. Glissade approximately 800' on steep snow seeking a suitable place to climb over this problem. Trudge right back up the ridge and continue on for the south summit. Several more technical sections block your path. With snow in April, I found it best to hit everything straight on. One should be skilled and confident in their scrambling/climbing abilities for these sections.

The south summit gives way to views of Kananaskis Lakes. Once you take a breather, head back north to the last bump and straight down from there for a flattened area and continue straight down even further and you will find your first trail of the trip (if you are going this early) free of snow. This trail takes you to a fire road where you will eventually find a trail that takes you down to the service station and your bike. There is public drinking water here to refresh your yourself with, no matter what time of day or night. Bike on the road back to your car.

Essential Gear

Early season, snowshoes, ice ax, mini or regular crampons, helmet and a rope if you are not an avid scrambler-climber.


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