Today, I headed to the Dead Man Flats area of Kananaskis to hike and snowshoe to Mt. Collembola and if energy, daylight and weather were willing, ascend the ridge to the summit. Well, I did the first part…
I parked the car near a resort parking lot, then started the 7 kilometre hike toward Mt. Collembola. The trail is actually the Centennial Ridge trail, which follows the wooded ridges near Mount Allan and eventually the Ribbon Creek area of Kananaskis. (With a full day of sunlight and energy to boot, you could do a circuit from Collembola to Allan.) I began around 10am in beautiful weather. I was little bit later than I had hoped, especially as the sun never really reaches a high zenith in the wintertime here, more so just a low angle over the mountains. As a result, much of my hiking in the tall treed forest was darker than you’d expect for a midday excursion.
Anyway, I made my way along the increasingly steeper trail — according to Gillean Daffern, the trail gains 520m of elevation on the way to Collembola — and amid gradual deepening snow. Going along the trail is pretty straight forward enough and well marked with florescent tags
should you need them, although it gets fairly strenuous in deep snow. As I progressed along, the snow reached a depth between foot deep and two feet in places, which wasn’t too bad with my snowshoes. With the incline however and a slight crust, some areas were a bit tricky nearing the tree-line. After almost a 2 1/2 hour approach, I reached the tree-line of Collembola, but unfortunately ran out of gas. I looked at the ridge, thought how fun it would be — but also thought I’d be trudging through the snow in the dark on the way back and decided to call it there. After having some lunch and taking a few pictures, I made the return trip in just over an hour. I’ll definately have to go back in the summer, maybe try the traverse when I have plenty of daylight and time to spare. Check out the panorama