Last weekend, I went on my first actual weekend hike in a long long time amid really nice weather.
Fearing the crowds destined for a weekend, I decided to pick a peak to climb that would hopefully have little or none of the throngs of people I’ve seen in the past, especially during the first hot weekend of the hiking season. My thoughts turned to Mt. Lawrence Grassi, which over-looks Canmore. One of its outliers, Ha Ling Peak (Chinaman’s) is probably one of the busiest scramble around — which was quite obvious on this day as well. Nevertheless, I began early to avoid the heat and the crowds. I would end up mostly succeeding at both.
So, with an 8am start and a short explanation to people following me along the canal shoreline that ‘I
wasn’t going to Chinaman’s Peak’, I began the scramble after a 30 minute stroll. The scramble to the top is probably the straightest and most consistently steep bee-line I’ve done so far. What I would later realize is that I took the description of ‘bush wack to the top’ from the Kane book a little too energetically, and as a result, begun my trip up probably 50m from the actual trail head, missing the well trodden trail for most of the way up. For the most part through the trees, I kept to a survey line — and was glad to leave the treel ine behind. With choppers and avalanches drawing my attention
elsewhere, I continued the trudge straight on to the top. Along the way, I was treated with impressive views of the Three Sisters and Mount Rundle. The only minor attentive aspect was the slabbed rock near the top, which had a lot of loose rock. Judging by the one drop to the east, I figured slowly navigating the slabs was a good plan. At the top, a large cornice clung to the north face — where I spotted the breathtaking view of the summit cliff, leading straight and suddenly down off the mountain. I took a few photos and admired how clear the day had been. From the summit, I could see Mount
Assiniboine rising tall and the snows of Mt. Temple still prominent in Lake Louise. A quick look at the register and a few
laughs at one climber’s post from last year: travelling from Ha Ling to Grassi summit, then "doing the world’s first pogo descent of the north face". I later realized I was the second registered climber for the year. Neat.
The way down was somewhat uneventful, although long and hot. I had tried to escape the heat, but it caught up with me in the trees. Thankfully, I recovered from my earlier
blunder and found the beaten path to the rocky beginning below. After that, well, I had to indulge in a little cold shock treatment
, which was incredibly refreshing. Doing Grassi was ‘ok’, but getting out of the city was what made it worth it.