Biking to Scramble Mt. Fullerton

On Tuesday this week, I headed out to the Kananaskis area to scramble Mt. Fullerton.  Mt.Bike_path
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 creekDsc04379
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 theDsc04384
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 andDsc04395
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, whichDsc04439
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.

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