On Tuesday this week, I headed out to the Kananaskis area to scramble Mt. Fullerton. Mt.
Fullerton is located to the northwest of Nihahi Ridge, in the Elbow Valley area of Kananaskis. After reading another scrambler’s post on the trip, I decided to try biking to the mountain, in the hope of shortening the trip a bit. I ended up biking about 95% of the way and experienced some of the best biking that I’ve done in Kananaskis. To get there, I followed the Nihahi Creek trail off the Elbow Loop — which is about an hour and a half ride. The trail was excellent and mostly single track with a few rooted sections through the wooded area immediately after turning north from the Elbow Loop trail. Once you descend from the woods, I really enjoyed the travel along the creek
bed (especially on the slight downhill grade on the return trip). I found that if sticking to the east side of the creek closest to Nihahi Ridge, there’s a distinguishable track for great biking.
I arrived at the mountain, dumped my biking gear and decided to head up the drainage toward the ridge ascent. The drainage was interesting, mostly clambering up rocks — at least until I encountered the snow. I noticed that a recent weekend-long rainfall in Calgary had accumulated a significant amount of snow in this area of the
mountains. While heading up the drainage, I kept to the forest slope as much of the snow was knee deep. And stupidly, I forgot my gaiters at home, so I was eager to keep my feet dry as much as I could. This was eventually a futile effort 🙂 . Attaining the ridge was fairly straight forward, however on the ridge is where I encountered a bit more difficulty.
Naturally, the higher I went, the more the snow had accumulated among the rocks that lined the ridge ascent. I kept to the drainage side of the ridge, hoping to escape the real deep snow and
holes among the rocks, but it was a slippy affair in the ankle to knee deep melting snow. Eventually and with alot of kick stepping, I reached the top of the ridge and managed to scramble to about 25m before the summit block. I stopped here as the snow was waist deep and the summit looked too treacherous for my liking with all the snow. I probably would have had a good challenge without snow, but it was a bit out of reach at the moment. So, after eating my lunch and taking a few panorama pictures
of the summit (great view of Calgary and the foothills from there), I made the slow and slippy descent back to my bike. This time I took the woods, which
was fairly steep, but sparse with snow and trees. The final section is mossy and thick woods, but a few game trails allow for easy passage. Given the snow conditions, I was glad I took the relatively straight forward drainage ascent.
Arriving at my bike, well, I was surprised a bit. I found that most of my biking stuff was still there, but I was missing my biking gloves! I looked around for them, but noticed that my shoes had been disturbed by someone or something. I figured some squirrel or magpie had taken the gloves for bedding — as I just couldn’t see someone biking 6-8kms on a not so well traveled trail from Elbow Loop to take my gloves. So after a few good laughs and reciting some favorite arguments and rants along the way, I headed back to the car glove-less!
It was about an 8k trip to the mountain, with a round trip time of 6 hrs. I posted a few more photos on flickr.