Ha Ling Peak
December 21, 2011
After finishing the first term of my university study I was keen to get out enjoying the outdoors in one way or another. Continuing my scrambling adventures in this past summer I decided to head into the Rockies again. Throughout the semester I had read a lot of trip reports and gathered as much information as possible as what can be safely done at this time of a year. I didn’t want to push hard but I did need to buy a pair of snowshoes (Lightning Ascent 25′) and some other winter essentials including a pair of thick pants and “work boots” in Canadian Tire. I had 7 days and the weather was looking fairly descent so off I went towards Canmore. This was my first time driving such as long distance by myself (from Edmonton to Canmore). My first objective(s) was Ha Ling and Miner’s Peaks – two of the “outliers” of the much-bigger Mt. Lawrence Grassi, but a supposed good introductory to winter scrambling.
After a somewhat not-so-comfortable car-camping by one of the pull-outs along Highway 1 I drove up the snowy and slippery Smith Dorrien Road to the (very large) parking lot. For obvious reasons I had none to very little experience in winter travel in the wilderness and right away I wore too many layers. I had to strip off several layers after a mere 10 minutes or so up the trail. The start of the trail was well marked, but as I approaching treeline, I lost the trail and had to strap snowshoes on and break trail. I opted to ascend straight up and the post-holing was tiresome.
Thankfully the snow on the slope above treeline was blown away by the wind, so it’s pretty much just a late season scramble to the summit. With the experience of classics like Mt. Temple under my belt this felt pretty straightforward. Near the summit I intersected the final summit ridge and followed it easily to the top.
After admiring some of the winter view of Bow Valley I didn’t stay long but immediately focused on my next objective of the day.