A mountain has been never more photographed, used in a calendar or the defining ‘symbol’ of the
Rockies as Mt. Rundle, located in Banff National Park. Going to a gas station, tourist shop or any other place that sells postcards, you’ll find Mt. Rundle. I’ve always wanted to say I climbed something on a postcard, so I headed out to Banff National Park on Monday.
Mt. Rundle is typically a popular mountain to climb and a person would usually expect larger crowds in the area due to its proximity to Banff, the hotels, the golf course and Bow Falls. On this day, I would only see 8 people, which was a pleasant surprise. I started fairly late, around 1:30pm — and met most of the people on the way out. As I would later find out, everyone climbing that day turned around about 1/3 of the way up the Dragon’s Back.
The approach trail was very easy, steadily inclined throughout, but generally straight along the
bottom of the mountain, leading to the ascent ridge. While going up, I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to ride a bike up the trail and dump it near the first drainage gully for a quick descent. As I got to the second gully and the climb to the ridge, it began to hail and snow. Still with some good tree cover, I hoped it would blow over. It did, however the snow periodically returned as I continued up towards the Dragon’s Back ridge. I met a few people on this section, then followed the ridge to
where the fallen snow really had accumulated from last weekends rain. The snow went from a skim to ankle and eventually knee deep along the ridge, and it became obvious where everyone had turned around.
Under sun at the time, I continued my ascent, only to encounter really deep snow nearing the last 200m of the trek. Of course, the snow started again and the clouds moved in, making visibility very low and the temperature dropped considerably. As I reached the summit, I laughed to myself
at the spectacular view! Because of all the snow and me not wanting to dig around in the snowstorm for the canister, I only spent a couple of minutes on top before heading down. Thankfully, the sun returned for the rest of the trip as I was half-way to the tree line.
Overall, not a bad scramble, certainly better than what I had read on the mountain — I’m sure it
would be different in the summer dry season with 100 people ascending the ridge at the same time. 🙂 More photos on the flickr set.