This week, I took advantage of the great weather we’ve been having in the Calgary area and headed off for a quick hike to Ha Ling Peak. We had seen Ha Ling from another hike we did earlier in the year on the East end of Rundle Mountain. I had also heard that the hike was relatively clear despite the time of year, as many of the mountains get snow fairly early in the fall. Nevertheless, I left Calgary around lunchtime after Sheena had finished with the car for the day and headed out to Canmore. Hiking or scrambling in Canmore is great, it’s only about 50 minutes from Calgary and generally, a few of the mountains in the area are climbable later in the year. It makes for some good late fall exercise, which was my goal for the day.
Upon arriving at the Spray Lakes road and the parking lot immediately behind Rundle, I noticed a familiar sight. Movie Trailers. It later dawned on me that Brad Pitt was filming a movie in the Calgary area and I thought that it must have been his film crew. From the parking lot, I couldn’t see much of anything, however. So, after realizing that I really didn’t want to show up Brad on my first day on the set, I continued with the plan to hike Ha Ling Peak. I would later get a view and a distanced picture (left) of the large set that they had built about a kilometre west of the Spray Lakes road.
Overall, Ha Ling is an ‘ok’ scramble. It took me about 2 hours 35 minutes to go up and down, even though it’s height is 2408m above sea level, the height gain is only about 700m. The trail system through the forest is well cut, with many spots where it’s been made more level, rather than angled on the side of the hillside. However, in many of these spots, the melting and refreezing of snow made it very icy (even though I had brought some new used crampons
with me, but didn’t use them). I often bushwhacked past these fill and cut spots on the trail. Near the end of the forest area, I pretty much bushwhacked the whole way up as I wanted to avoid the beaten path completely due to its condition. If it wasn’t for the off-trail stuff I did, I probably would have found the hike a bit boring, as it is kinda just straight up. I’m starting to realize that I really enjoy scrambling across ridge line type of trips — much like Cougar Mountain, Mt. Remus, Mt. Yamnuska and Grotto Mountain. I find the ridge walk views spectacular and think that I’m going to focus on doing as many of those types of scrambles as I can.
Despite my complaints, the view from the top
was spectacular. I took a few photos of the mountain shadows (it was going on 3pm) and walked the ridge line towards Mt. Lawrence Grassi. My camera ran out of batteries and the sun was going down, so I decided to hoof it back to the car. A quick trip, but just what I wanted for this time of year.