Ha Ling Peak (Super Moon)

May 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Attempt date: May 6th, 2012
Start time: 3:00am
Completion time: 5 hours
Participants:  Sarah McLean, Jeff Trudel, Rob Hick, Patrick Latter

Weather conditions at base

Temperature

Minimum Temperature: 2.0 °C
Mean Temperature: 3.0 °C
Maximum Temperature 4.4 °C

Pressure and Dew Point

Mean Sea Level Pressure: 102.71 kPa
Mean Dew Point: 1.6 °C

Wind Speed and Gusts

Mean Wind Speed: 15.93 kmh
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 15.00 kmh
Maximum Wind Gust: 38.89 kmh

Directions

From Canmore follow the directions in town towards the ‘Nordic Center‘. Continue on around the reservoir and dam until you reach the ‘Goat Creek‘ trailhead parking lot. This is the same parking lot you would use for ‘East End of Rundle‘. Once parked, walk across the main road and up the gated service road. You will cross over a bridge and pass a small utility building on the right. Follow the well defined trail from there up the mountain.

Gear

  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm ski jacket
  • Warm fleece
  • Winter Hiking boots
  • Warm socks (or 2 layers of socks)
  • Poles
  • Toque
  • Thermal underwear
  • Snow-pants or gaiters
  • Gloves

Ascent 

You can click on any of the images so a larger size.

It may be starting to seem like we only ever climb 2 different mountains, but they just happen to be relatively snow free in the winter/spring, making for a safer and easier ascent. The trails are also simple to find/follow at night because we have so much experience on them. I promise a new mountain next weekend!

With sunrise expected at 6:07am that morning, we planned to start the hike at 3:00am. With only about 2 hours of sleep everybody was a little grumpy in the morning but once we got started the tiredness quickly wore off. We were lucky to be hiking with a “super moon”, that according to the news would be 14% larger and 33% brighter than a regular full moon. It was so bright that it wasn’t even necessary to use head lamps when out of trees.

With the warm spring weather we didn’t encounter much snow until we reached the higher elevations but with the heavy traffic on the trail, this hard packed snow did not require snow shoes. Once out of trees, we slowly zigzagged up the loose rock towards the ridge separating the two peaks. I was looking forward to re-taking a photo of the town of Canmore at night. A previous hike had strong winds and blowing snow which led to the lens getting covered in a coating snow and ruining the photo. Lucky for me, this time the weather and wind cooperated and I was able to get the shot I wanted.

We stopped on the ridge and continued taking photos and had some food while we waiting for the sunrise.

It was then when that night’s supermoon began to drop below the western mountain ridge in the distance.

As the sky brightened with the impending sunrise, we headed towards the summit. We reached the top and according to Rob’s watch, a height of 2400m above sea level.

The cold winds had frozen Jeff’s camelback water line.

We could see East End of Rundle in the distance and it looked as though it had seen fresh snow since our climb last week.

As the sun crept over the mountains it lit up the tips of the peaks with a brilliant light.

Once most of the good light faded, we started our descent down the mountain. We stayed to the right as we made our we to the tree line towards increasingly deep snow, sliding down where we could. As we reached the trees, the 3 foot deep snow had become so hardened by the sun that we were all able to walk on top without problems. Well.. almost all of us. Rob is quite a bit taller and his extra weight caused him to randomly sink his entire leg into the snow every few steps.

We couldn’t stop laughing as Rob attempted to be as light as possible but failed.

I stopped to take a photo over the small bridge that we crossed at the beginning of the hike. This was the view of the first moon light water photo of the post.

We finally caught back up with the trail another 200m or so down. From here it was a quick jog to the bottom. Before stopping into our favorite bagel shop in Canmore to have breakfast, Jeff decided to do some public stretching.

After another amazing breakfast at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., we headed back to the house in Canmore. We all went out to the deck to get some sleep in the sun before our drive back to Calgary.

East End of Rundle (Spring)

May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Attempt date: April 29, 2012
Participants:  Jimmy Quigley, Rob Hick, Jeff Trudel, Patrick Latter

Weather conditions at base

Temperature

Minimum Temperature: -3.0 °C
Mean Temperature: 4.0 °C
Maximum Temperature 12.0 °C

Pressure and Dew Point

Mean Sea Level Pressure: 101.61 kPa
Mean Dew Point: -7.0 °C

Wind Speed and Gusts

Mean Wind Speed: 11.11 kmh
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 14.00 kmh
Maximum Wind Gust: 38.89 kmh

Directions

From Canmore follow the directions in town towards the ‘Nordic Center‘. Continue on around the reservoir and dam until you reach the ‘Goat Creek‘ trailhead parking lot. This is the same parking lot you would use for ‘Ha Ling Peak‘. Once parked, walk back up the road towards the town a few hundred meters and you will see some telephone poles on your left; begin your climb here.

Gear

  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm ski jacket
  • Warm fleece
  • Winter Hiking boots
  • Warm socks (or 2 layers of socks)
  • Poles
  • Toque
  • Thermal underwear
  • Gloves

Ascent 

I was away on business for 2 weeks and have just been busy in general, so it was nice to finally get out hiking again. We chose a mountain we knew would be light on snow at this time of year. The trail is visible from the road between two of the power lines and begins a long switchback up the mountain.

With the warm weather, it made finding the trail head easy with little to no snow at the base. This was my fourth time hiking East Side of Rundle and I had yet to see the view because of fog/whiteouts at the summit. With clear skies, it seemed like I may finally get to see the summit view. That changed only 35 minutes in, when rather ominous looking clouds began to roll in from the south and our hopes of a clear view at the top started to fade. It began to snow and the wind picked up, so we stopped to put on the layers of clothing we had shed earlier. Despite the storm like conditions we faced for the next 30 mins, it began to clear up and the sun came out again.

With about 200m to go, we came across a herd of mountain goats almost exactly where we had turned back in February due to bad weather. It was amazing how different the same area looked and felt compared to our last experience in February. The goats were suprisingly tame and did not retreat until we came quite close.

We followed the northern ridge all the way to the large boulder near the summit where it’s best to just circle around on the left than climb over it. From here it’s just some light scrambling and you’re at the top.

Jimmy and I crossed the ridge towards the southern peak to take some photos.

We all agreed that due to the current snow cover, climbing the secound peak would be too dangerous. We spent the next hour and half taking photos and having something to eat. We took a smallish break to have a mountain top knife fight.

As I was taking photos, everybody else began playing a makeshift game of bocce ball on the West face of the mountain. It was a steep snow covered drop from the top all the way to bottom. Everyone took turns throwing rocks at one that had stuck in the snow just 2 feet down the face. After the sun had set behind the mountain ridge we headed back down. We chose not to descend down the ridge we came up and instead follow the cliff bands south and zig zag down to what is normally a scree slope.

At this time of year it was snow covered and made for an easy and fun descent. With the snow covered slopes being so quick, we were at the bottom just as the last bit of light disappeared, with only the final 15 minutes requiring a head lamp.




Ha Ling Peak (Early Morning Climb)

March 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Attempt date: March 4th, 2012
Start time: 4:00am
Completion time: 5 hours
Participants:  Jimmy Quigley, Patrick Latter

Weather conditions at base

Temperature

Minimum Temperature: 5.0 °C
Mean Temperature: 6.2 °C
Maximum Temperature 7.8 °C

Pressure and Dew Point

Mean Sea Level Pressure: 101.87 kPa
Mean Dew Point: 0.3 °C

Wind Speed and Gusts

Mean Wind Speed: 20.93 kmh
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 13.00 kmh
Maximum Wind Gust: 37.04 kmh

Directions

From Canmore follow the directions in town towards the ‘Nordic Center‘. Continue on around the reservoir and dam until you reach the ‘Goat Creek‘ trailhead parking lot. This is the same parking lot you would use for ‘East End of Rundle‘. Once parked, walk across the main road and up the gated service road. You will cross over a bridge and pass a small utility building on the right. Follow the well defined trail from there up the mountain.

Gear

  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm ski jacket
  • Warm fleece
  • Winter Hiking boots
  • Warm socks (or 2 layers of socks)
  • Goggles (extremely helpful once you break the tree line)
  • Poles
  • Toque
  • Neck/face warmer
  • Thermal underwear
  • Snow-pants or gaiters
  • 2 layers of gloves
  • Hand warmers

Ascent 

We left the house in Canmore at 3:45am, Colt 45 in hand. We concealed it in a paper bag to keep things classy.

We arrived at the goat creek parking lot just before 4:00am and began getting ready for the hike. We were the only car in the lot with the exception of a snow covered van that was probably left overnight.

With the trail for Ha Ling Peak being pretty well defined, it was not difficult to follow, despite the 4 or 5 inches of snow that had fallen the night before. With the help of head lamps, we were making good time and were at tree line within 1.5 hours. I snapped a few photos of Jimmy, as he was lit up by my headlamp because my headlamp was pointed downwards; it created a strange invisible man effect.

As soon as the trees ended, so did any sign of the trail. The recent snowfall combined with the darkness made it next to impossible to continue following what we thought was the trail. This made the next 150m of the hike very difficult, as we were having to trudge through deep snow without the help of snowshoes. After about 15 or 20 minutes of tiring climbing, we managed to reach an area of rocky shale that had far less snow on it. We then hiked another 100m to the ridge that divides Ha Ling Peak and Miner’s Col, arriving by 6:30am and stopped to have some food and take some photos. With the approaching storm the valley was covered in a low layer of fog and we could see the glow of the city lights below us.

Just 5 minutes later the city and its lights were completely covered in a dense layer of fog. With what seems like the now common place extreme wind that accompanies Ha Ling Peak we decided to quickly head for the summit. After reaching the top, we found a small area of rocks that were sheltered from the wind where we stopped to have the rest of our food. As we squeezed into this tiny space that could barely fit the two of us.

With the sun now up and the deep snow, we quickly jogged/slid down towards the tree line. Once we reached the trees, we chose to just slide straight down rather than use the trail. The deep snow made it easy for us to slide our way to the bottom in just 30 or 40 minutes. I will try and post some videos of this later this week. We crossed over the small bridge at the bottom just before 9:00am.

Five hours of hiking with relatively no bad falls and Jimmy bails hard in the last 50m on the access road down to the parking lot.

The fresh layer of snow was hiding a completely iced over road beneath. After reaching the car and heading back to town, we stopped in at the Bagel Co. for breakfast. We both had the  ‘Mountaineer’, which was basically a Montreal smoked meat bagel sandwich. AMAZING.