Gap Peak

 Posted by on September 26, 2003  Kananaskis Provincial Park  4 Responses »
Sep 262003

Friday September 26th 2003

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My original objective, Banded Peak, is a long day. I was laying in bed, healing/sleeping when it occurred to me that although I had missed my opportunity for Banded Peak, at roughly 10:30 AM there was still enough time to get to a scramble I had completely forgot about, Gap Peak.

With that realization I bolted from the sack, suddenly energized with the realization that I could be on a summit near the Bow Corridor, on a beautiful fall day.

That’s an incredible enticement to me!

Off to the Mountain

After the preparations and drive I found myself under way, going up, at 1:00 PM. On the way at last I was surprised by the familiarity of it all. I thought summer was over but on a day like today, a beautiful fall day, it seems that all of the best is saved for the last. The fall colors and temperature were perfect.

In such pleasant conditions, I reflected on my growing belief that difficult exercise, alone in such demanding yet awesome settings  does not grow strength but power.

The distinction being that power unlike strength garners more personal responsibly. You have to harness it like a flame, or it’ll burn ya!

It had been a long time and I was grateful to be on the mountain again, in excellent settings and conditions. I was going up slope, had great views, could smell the forest and fresh air and was on a great peak.

This little Bow Corridor peak was more demanding than I thought it would be. Unlike it’s neighbors Exshaw Mountain and Doorjamb Mountain, this one demands a few more hours of exertion.

The Upper Mountain

After about an hour you exit the trees onto a pleasant slope of firm scree.

Up the scree is a cliff that must be circumnavigated. There’s a trail on the right (east) side. After that is a steep slope with trees. The slope tends back to the left after rounding the base of the cliff. Lo and behold you find yourself at another obstacle. A short amount of scrambling brings you to another cliff.

This time you have to go on the other side of the cliff. I’m not bluffing! Go to the left side (west) of it. After that more slopes. Argggg! Just keep on plodding.

Once on the narrow summit ridge you can finally see the summit proper. Uh…., oops…, the false summit.

This last part is fun, but be cautious. Although it’s not terribly exposed, the wind can be gusty in this region of the Canadian Rockies. You have to walk with deliberate steps, anticipate each foot placement and generally crouch to maintain a low center of mass and therefore be less bifurcating.


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I've replaced the Crow. This sure beats eating Crow.

I’ve replaced the Crow. This sure beats eating Crow.

Small Movie

Small Movie

The ridge is a good scramble but please be cautious as even a small fall can have lethal consequences. At one point my concentration lapsed for just a split second and I stepped on a rock that rolled under foot at an exposed section.

It was a freak rock!

I reacted perfectly but it just goes to show how with a long ridge like this, with gusty wind, care and attention are tantamount to survival unscathed. After a 25 minute break for food, water and panoramas on the summit, the increasingly hostile gusts forced me to abandon my hard fought throne.

The Obsticle

The final obstacle on the way down.
This Gendarme is easy to climb from this side but the difficulty is on the way down the other side.

The forest near the bottom The light is fading

The forest near the bottom, The light is fading.

Small Movie

Small Movie (thumbnail too 😉 )

The down climb was more difficult, as always, but the knowledge that I had succeeded helped.
I was buoyed!

Looking back to the Canadian Rockies at sunset on the way home.



Gap Peak Panorama

The poetical impression of any object is that uneasy, exquisite sense of beauty or power that cannot be contained within itself; that is impatient of all limit; that (as flame bends to flame) strives to link itself to some other image of kindred beauty or grandeur; to enshrine itself, as it were, in the highest forms of fancy, and to relieve the aching sense of pleasure by expressing it in the boldest manner.

William Hazlitt
1778-1830, British Essayist

Gap Peak Gallery


Cascade Mountain

 Posted by on July 20, 2001  Banff National Park  7 Responses »
Jul 202001

Cascade Mountain – Canadian Rockies

Ann on the summit of Cascade Mountain

Hey Ann you’re on the summit of Cascade Mountain!

If you’re wondering why the content of this page keeps changing, my editor killed the page and I had to resurrect an older version from a backup. Same thing with my Mount Cory page. It’s very strange no? Hey Ann you were on that “hike” too; have you been sharpening your hacking skills that the computer faculty/department is no doubt and yes very obviously teaching you? (tutelagening)

The first attempt I made on this peak failed. My partner hiking bud for the day Officer Rob Davidson of the Calgary Police Service had a knee injury that we thought would be OK. About half way up the mountain, the knee was hurting.

I told him I had no problem going back down; “Cascade isn’t going any where” I said. Rob is a determined individual, but when pain talks we get lame walks. It just isn’t worth a chronic injury to push that hard.

July 20/2001

The next attempt was with “Hey Ann”, eight days after we summited Mount Cory. About half way up I experienced some dizziness and a heart palpitation. This was my first adrenalin rush of the season, and not the last.

I sat down, drank some fluids, then continued to the summit. The rush was spawned by a look over a sharp crest. In lousy shape, I was pushing hard and so the adrenalin was more than my straining heart could take. It lost it’s rhythm and blood flow to my brain was compromised for a moment. Some people also talk of tunnel vision, this is a sign of pushing too hard.

As for the Mountain;

…my whole life, every time I passed through Banff, I always looked up at the pyramid of Cascade Mountain with awe. Now on the summit, it was a special moment in a special place (to me). As for this Hey Ann Chick, she unjustly blew it off as “just a hike”. 😐

Cloud over Cascade Mountai

Cloud over Cascade Mountain

Hey Ann

When we got back to my dear Ann’s truck, she mumbled something about Superman. I was very flattered, but on that day it was obviously true. One can always aspire to great heights, can’t one? I must fly! If you need lessons just let me know, no problemo

Cascade is a wonderful mountain, the object of many an artist. I’ve noticed however that none have captured the mountain from the Bow Valley. They all seem to derive their perspective from each other. I’m going to set my tripod just below the falls some morning, looking up at the looming mountain from an inferior oblique perspective, cowering laughing under it’s massive girth. And then I will go conquer it again, as fast as I can.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin
8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900, the leading English art critic of the Victorian era

Hey man where did you go?
Thought I, but I guess
I don’t know you
Gave you my heart
You looked to take it apart
Hey man what did you do?
Walked away we weren’t through
Last time was a fake shaken head
Now I think it must be said

Hey man
Can’t be everybody’s friend
Ain’t no way man
To be everybody’s friend

Jane’s Addiction
“Everybody’s Friend”

Sanson Peak

 Posted by on June 16, 2003  Banff National Park  1 Response »
Jun 162003

Monday June 16 2003

Sanson Peak from the highway

Sanson Peak from the highway

Sanson Peak is my first scramble for this season. It’s not really a scramble though, just a hike.

The day was sunny and fairly hot. The temperature was such that I didn’t really need any more that just the basic thin layer of dry clothing, even when on the summit ridge.

I started, like anyone else should, by going to the Parks Canada office in Banff and asking about the conditions. I had originally indented on going up Deadman’s Ridge. This ridge is closed for now and the foreseeable future as it traverses a wildlife corridor. Funny though that the Parks in their infinite wisdom have seen fit to locating a residential sub development in the immediate area.

I went to the Second Cup in Banff.

Banff has no Starbucks. I sat down and had a coffee and decided to take the fire road to Sanson Peak instead of abandoning the day.

I had the opportunity to bag two peaks and wasn’t about to let a bloody (used by cougars, bears and wolves) wildlife corridor get in the way.

The rest is history, read on…..

The fire road is visible from the Trans-Canada highway when you drive east and are near the Sunshine Village turn off. It appears as a huge zigzag on the slopes of Sulphur Mountain. The fire road summits at a small peak called Sanson Peak. This is the site of the Cosmic Ray Observatory.

Panorama of Sulphur Mountain from Cascade Mountain The peaks are marked in the enlargement

Panorama of Sulphur Mountain from Cascade Mountain The peaks are marked in the enlargement

Start by parking at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Then hike along the Sundance Canyon path. It’s not a trail, not unless you count an asphalt road as a trail. Follow this for 700 meters until you get to a branch to the left. This is the horse trail and is not intended for humans. The park prefers that you not use this but I did. They told me to. You see, you get a different story about which way to go from each Parks employee you talk to, at least I did that day.

Map of Sanson Peak access

Map of Sanson Peak access

The fire road is another 1.4 kilometers down the way and is a left, like the horse trail.

Follow this up the mountain.

If you took the horse trail you would intersect the fire road about 200 meters above the Sundance Canyon Road/Trail/Asphalt-Scar.

Panorama of Mount Rundle, Sanson Peak – Sulphur Mountain and the Sundance Range From Mount Edith

Panorama of Mount Rundle, Sanson Peak – Sulphur Mountain and the Sundance Range From Mount Edith

Once on the fire road proper you can expect easy going on a steady grade with a smooth surface devoid of rubble. This would be great for Mountain Biking but again the word is the Parks prefer that no bikes are used on this fire road.

Bow Valley Panorama from Sulphur Mountain Sundance Range on the left, Mount Cory and Mount Edith in the center, Sanson Peak on the right.

Bow Valley Panorama from Sulphur Mountain Sundance Range on the left, Mount Cory and Mount Edith in the center, Sanson Peak on the right.

Hike up the fire road for an hour or so and eventually after a switchback or two near the top you arrive at the boardwalk. Yup, that’s right a boardwalk. The parks have constructed a boardwalk complete with metal railings for the tourist to enjoy. This wooden walkway connects the Cosmic Ray Observatory to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola Station.

From hear you can continue another 3.5 kilometers to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.

In sex we have the source of man’s true connection with the cosmos and of his servile dependence. The categories of sex, male and female, are cosmic categories, not merely anthropological categories.

Nicolai  A. Berdyaev

That more fiendish proof of cosmic irresponsibility than a Nature which, having invented sex as a way to mix genes, then permits to arise, amid all its perfumed and hypnotic inducements to mate, a tireless tribe of spirochetes and viruses that torture and kill us for following orders?

John Updike
1932-, American Novelist, Critic

In asking forgiveness of women for our mythologizing of their bodies, for being unreal about them, we can only appeal to their own sexuality, which is different but not basically different, perhaps, from our own. For women, too, there seems to be that tangle of supplication and possessiveness, that descent toward infantile undifferentiation, that omnipotent helplessness, that merger with the cosmos mother-warmth, that flushed pulse-quickened leap into overestimation, projection, general mix-up.

John Updike
1932-, American Novelist, Critic

cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.

Gilbert K. Chesterton
1874-1936, British Author