April 6, 2012
David Thompson Country, AB
The forecast for this past Easter long weekend was pretty good and I was keen on some bigger plans. Friday looked to be the worst among all four days so I decided to take my mom up Shunda Mountain near Nordegg for warming-up. This mountain is also known as Baldy Fire Lookout. Since I’m a peak-bagger, I prefer the name that’s associated with a “mountain”. It’s adjacent to the more popular Coliseum Mountain and starts pretty much at the same place.
This doesn’t seem like a popular objective so I’m giving some direction. Drive along Highway 11, turn right to RR 152A about 300 m past Nordegg turnoff. Then keep left towards Shunda Hostel. In summer, turn right at the Y-junction then keep left all the way to the Gate. But for us, we had to park at the Y-junction due to the snow. We did try to drive up the road, but turned back immediately. My car almost got stuck in the snow. After some pushing and shoveling I managed to back-track to the Y-junction. Then we tried to drive to the nearby Shunda Hostel, but failed again. Again, my car almost lost control on the last steep down-hill, and thankfully I managed to stop the car. After some intense moments I turned around and drove back to the Y-junction. It sucked big time without winter tires!
The next morning we woke up very early since we had to walk the full length of that road. We had to break trail with snowshoes pretty much all the way up, and the supposed warming-up trip turned to be quite a slog… It was boring and tedious as the view only showed up when we topped out on the summit. There’s no need to describe the route as you are following the road to the summit.
After some quick summit shots, and admiring the giant structure on the summit, we leisurely walked back down to our car. We stopped on several viewpoints along David Thompson Highway particularly to examine the route up Mount Michener. And then I went down to Mistaya Canyon checking things out near Saskatchewan Crossing. It was pretty boring. Later in the afternoon, we drove to Bow Lake, and the story continues to next day.