May 21, 2012
Kananaskis – Highway 40, AB
After finishing Mount Yamuska, I drove down Highway 40 for Mount Baldy. This is another short popular scramble documented in Alan Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies book. In fact, it’s one of the most popular scrambles in Kananaskis Country especially in early season when other peaks further west are still snow bound.
The trail-head was not very well signed and is at a small pull-out on the east side of the highway. There’s often other cars parking there if you choose to come on a weekend. The trail/path was easy to follow and I managed to hit the treeline in about 20-30 minutes. Some loose terrain later the ridge narrowed down to a short (~2 m) down-climb. This is the normal crux of this route with some moderate exposure, but the holds were reasonably solid.
The next obstacle is a slabby gendarme. Most people will choose to skirt around it on the right side, but I made my route harder by attacking it directly. I would say it’s “difficult scrambling”, but again, the holds were very solid. After this, the terrain gradually eased and I made to the summit in short time. If you are ambitious, you can traverse to the south peak and then west peak, and descend via an obvious gully between south and west summits. I didn’t have the time nor did I feel ambitious so I went back the same route.
I didn’t find anything overly exciting about this peak other than it’s indeed a very short ascent. I did find the scrambling around the crux and the gendarme to be enjoyable though, but if you’re a newbie scrambler you might feel a bit unnerving on those sections. This concluded a fairly intense scrambling long weekend in the mountains.