Amidst a 20C day in Calgary, I headed out early morning to the Barrier Lake area of Kananaskis, to scramble up Mt. Baldy. Mt. Baldy is a great hike for the early season, as it loses it’s snow fairly early. It’s also close to Calgary…and is one of the first mountains in the front ranges.
The scramble was one of my first in the rockies and I’m still learning for sure. For those wondering what a ‘scramble’ is, it’s kinda like hiking, but kinda like rock climbing as well. Some people call it rock climbing without gear — I call it ‘human mountain goating’. =) With scrambling, route finding is a little bit different than hiking, as you’d think it’d be pretty much hiking up and up until you can’t go anymore. But, it’s a little different…you scramble around rock just as much as you go up it. Probably the biggest difference between hiking and scrambling is the intensity. Scrambles are usually really high intensity (for those starting out — like me), both up and down. The upward slog is cardio crazy — today I could feel the blood pumping through my neck — and downhill is quad crazy, burning burning legs. Nevertheless, scrambling gives you exceptional views… and the excitement and accomplishment of reaching the summit.
It was a great day…and I made fairly good time I believe. Ascent was 1h45m….and the descent just under an hour. I spent about an hour on the summit, enjoying the views, eatin my lunch and a little exploratory ridge walk. I had planned to go beyond the summit and descend on some scree slopes to the south, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get there — safely. So, I returned the way I came up and was happy regardless.