Sanson Peak

 Posted by on June 16, 2003  Banff National Park  Add comments
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

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