September 8, 2012
Kananaskis – Highway 40, AB
“The Big Traverse” is a combination of 1 official and 5 unofficial summits in Fisher Range in core of Kananaskis’ front ranges and involves fair amount of difficult and exposed scrambling. It’s well documented in Andrew Nugara’s More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies book and had been on my radar for a while, and I’m glad to finally find capable, fit and motivated partners for it: Neil (Travelin’ Jones) and Tyler Owen Cassley.
Without too much of a sleep, three of us met at the Even-Thomas trail-head 6 am on Saturday morning. There’s where we’d finish the traverse so we all squeezed into Neil’s car and got to Kananaskis Village turnoff. The trail-head for Wasootch Peak wasn’t obvious. It was much further north than expected (about 50 m north of the Kananaskis Village turn-off for the least). We didn’t want to use headlamp so we waited until 6:50 to start the day.
There’s nothing fancy about Wasootch Peak. Due to its short and easy nature it just starts to get popular in recent years despite the name being unofficial. Therefore even though the trail isn’t shown on any map, it’s very well maintained. The trail follows the left hand side of the major drainage but eventually veers left and aim for Wasootch Peak. Near the treeline, we got excellent view of Kananaskis Valley and the mountains on the other side. There was one rock band higher up but other than that, it was a ‘highway’ to the top. It took us 1 hour 40 min to get there.
I’m glad we got the most significant elevation gain in the shade, as it was forecasted to be a hot day. We didn’t bother to do the lower north summit, instead we immediately went down towards Wasootch/Kananaskis col. Summitting Wasootch Peak via its normal scramble route was just the warm-up of this traverse. The fun parts were just about to begin. Next objective, Kananaskis Peak.