Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ha Ling

5.4km 5463ft trailhead 7897ft summit vert gain: 2400ft

Trip 2 took us to the lofty heights of Ha Ling Peak. This is the peak that dominates Canmore and is rather imposing as seen from the north. But like many peaks in K-country, they are angry steep on the northwest side but sloping less vertically on the southeast side. Mount Rundle being the most famous example.
The hike starts at the Spray Lakes reservoir at the eastern foot of EEOR (East End Of mt Rundle can't take credit for that one, that's what the locals call it.) The goat path winds relentlessly straight up never ending switchbacks. For trail interest we had to give this 2 chewy bars out of 10. But after much stamina and 2500 feet later, you find yourself straddling a razor edged col with enough empty space around you to properly cow any hint of agoraphobia lurking within. The picture at the right is the view from the col looking into Canmore and the Bow River. Its straight down from where I'm standing and truth be told, it actually made me a little ill to have my back to the abyss. Suzanne poses in front of the Three Sisters with Big Sister poking above the ridge line. Brilliant day but definitely a work-reward kind of trip as opposed to a hike. And its pretty cool to sit at an outdoor cafe in Canmore and gaze up almost in disbelief to think you you were standing up there.

Baldy pass

7.4km 4500ft trailhead 6200ft pass vert gain 1700ft

This was our first hike of the year. The trailhead was marked with a rather imposing warning sign claiming that there was bear activity in the area. Upon discussion at the interpretive centre down the road I concluded that we really weren't in anymore danger than you are at any other time and so off we went. The trail follows the seasonally dry streambed in the photo. Rather lovely dotted here and there with some hardy and aromatic balsam poplar. Then over a scree avalanche and up to the pass.
A grand vista awaits with views across the bow valley towards Calgary. 8km round trip with around 1000 ft elevation gain. We gave this trip 7 chewyy bars out of 10