Want a long day trip that includes mountain biking, hiking, waterfall exploring, hands on
scrambling, mountain scree slogging, more hands on scrambling, snowy summit viewing, glissading, challenging down-climbing, speedy downhill track mountain biking, 1650m of height gain — over the span of 12 hours? Well, the trip to Mount Bogart is definitely the place for all of it.
Sonny and I began our trip on Sunday at 9:15am at the Ribbon Creek parking lot. Despite our concerns about the clouds along the drive to Kananaskis, at the trail-head we found that the cloud cover was clearing and the day was shaping up to be a good one. Hopping on our bikes at the beginning of the trail, we made quick work of the 4 km ride to the end of the biking trail, passing backpackers and day trippers along the way. After locking up our bikes, we continued along the 6 km trail to Ribbon Falls, where we would begin our scramble. Throughout the trail, the forest hike is pleasant and the trail gradually narrows as it continues deeper into the valley between Mt. Kidd and Mt. Bogart. Near the end of the trail, we came across a backcountry campground, with a few people packing up for their 11km trip out. As we reached the camp, I began to hear the sound of a fairly large waterfall, Ribbon Falls.
Ribbon Falls was very impressive. We stopped to admire and take my mandatory photos of the
water. I really wanted to jump into the water, but kept reminding myself our destination was a mountain top — not necessarily clambering around in a waterfall. Leaving with a great thought of sloshing around in the water after our descent off the mountain, I continued along the backpacking trail to the gully of a feeder creek where we began our ascent.
The ascent begins with a bang, as after short grassy slope, you
immediately begin hands on climbing
over exposed rock to attain several different levels of the creek’s headwall. I stuck to the right side, climbing along the rock, while Sonny kept to a line near the creek. (Sonny would end up having a great vantage point to watch me have to down climb and retrieve my dropped hiking pole!) After getting to the top of a few rock walls, we reached the last part of the headwall — which was a steep hands on scramble up a rock rib adjacent to the creek’s waterfall. While climbing up, I realized that I should have donned my bike helmet before this point. It was the first time I’ve experienced climbing with the possibility of falling rock, and we would encounter a fair bit throughout the day. After reaching the top of the headwall,
our view was broadened as a beautiful mountain meadow opened before us, and the first view of our destination, the south side of Mt. Bogart. Even more exciting was the line of snow leading from the crux (the rock bands) to the meadow bottom.
Our trip continued up the ridge, as I followed a beaten path in the scree to the rock bands. Sonny
took a route up the snow, which allowed us to assess its condition for our return trip. Reaching the rock bands at the crux, I took a break and admired the views of the Spray Valley
and watched Sonny continue up the snow slope.
Afterward, we followed the route through the gully, despite the
snow. Some of the more difficult climbing of the trip for me was in this section. Nevertheless, we zigzagged our way through the rock, reaching the final summit ridge amid clearing skies and tons of snow on the ground. At the summit was a spectacular view
— from what I realized was my highest summit to date. After a few panorama photos and a short task of digging out the register, we began our descent after 5:15pm. Yes, it was a long ascent.
The return trip through the crux was tricky, but the descent was much more fun
after it. Learning
from my last glissade (where I had a frozen butt for the rest of the trip), I brought some rain pants for our slide down the mountain. With near perfect snow conditions, we took turns sliding down the snow slope, with the most fun near the bottom. In a 26 minute descent from the summit, we were at the bottom. Glissading is even better than sledding! To see a video, click here (3mb): Download mount_bogart_glissade.wmv . (Of course, the camera never does the angle of the slope justice, it was steep!)
After the meadow, we took a bit of a more difficult route down the creek gully, but it turned out to be
another chance for some fun and challenging downclimbing. I followed Sonny’s lead throughout. A short ski down the snow in the creek gully lead us to the trail and Ribbon Falls. I wanted to explore a bit, but being tired, settled for a short head dunk in the falls. They were quite powerful!
The return trip was topped off by an awesome 10 minute ride to the parking lot through mud, creeks and great mountain biking trail. What a finish to a long day, stretching out the legs and pounding down on a mountain bike. It was the end of a little over twelve hours of mix and match mountain travel, what a day.