On May 13, we summited Grotto Mountain, bringing the total mountains climbed this year to five! Grotto has a reputation as being a long, steep, unrelenting uphill grind. Some call it "The Grotto Grind." And while the long section up through the trees certainly lived up to the reputation, the final summit ridge was absolutely heavenly!
Once we were up above tree line and hiked up the scree slopes, the hike along the top of the ridge to the summit was the most enjoyable hiking we have done yet this year.
In fact, when we got to the summit, we had the option of continuing down another route and completing a loop but we chose to return across the ridge. Just had to do it one more time!
What an underrated scramble! So cool. Highly recommended.
Uma rests on the trail near the start of the hike through the forest. Our trail goes up through the trees ahead and then gains the ridge on the left side of the photo. The trail traverses the top of the ridge in the distance.
Maps at trail junctions help navigate through the labyrinth of mountain bike trails.
Looking back across the valley at the Three Sisters. Dan and I have climbed Big Sister, the furthest away. We want to climb Middle Sister this year. Little Sister is the most technical climb requiring ropes and will have to wait for a future year when our skills are more developed.
Our route goes up through the trees on the left side of the gully. Beyond the trees is a large scree slope out of sight from here.
The trail climbs steeply through forest. Switchback after switchback after switchback....
Emerging from the trees, the trail winds across the scree slope to the top of the ridge. The scree is steeper than it looks in this photo.
out and back
We parked near the ACC Clubhouse on Indian Flats Road. We could have made it a loop but chose an out and back.
Our path up to the summit and back down recorded on the FATMAP app on my phone. Ignore the straight green line that runs off the top right corner. Unfortunately, my phone died near the bottom and FATMAP kept recording until I powered up the phone and turned off the app at home in Calgary.
A Kananskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at the trailhead. Buy one here https://conservationpass.alberta.ca/kcp
On the summit of Grotto Mountain.
That's five peaks done now. Only 17 more and I'll achieve my goal! Next weekend we are thinking of going up Sparrowhawk Mountain south of Canmore, another higher peak with a similar technical difficulty rating.