On April 20, I summited Ha Ling Peak, my second peak of 2023. There was fresh snow blanketting the mountains in this area but the trail was mostly packed down. Except near the top. The final push to the summit was deep untouched snow when I arrived but luckily for me, a hiker ahead of me decided to push on. She broke a trail through the snow right up to the summit. All I had to do was follow her footsteps.
I have climbed Ha Ling before but this was the first time I've been on it since the trail was re-done. This entire area was closed to the public for a full summer a few years ago while construction crews worked on the trail. The result is a lovely trail with broad switchbacks that take you up the side of the mountain.
A sign near the start of the trail gives hikers a great overview. The yellow line is the trail which cleverly avoids the red avalanche prone areas. The trail stops above tree line at the saddle between Ha Ling and Miner's Peak.
As I drove towards the mountain, the clouds opened up and showed the summit of Ha Ling. This was the first blue sky I saw that day. The base of the mountain is deep within clouds.
As I got closer, the clouds thinned out. The summit hiking route is around the back. There are multi pitch climbing routes that go up the front.
The Welcoming Committee! A few sheep share the road on the final leg of the drive to the trailhead.
The first part of the trail is through forest. Very peaceful with all the fresh snow. The mist in the trees made it feel almost other-worldly. I half expected to find a portal to Narnia.
Higher up, the views start to open up. This is looking southwest towards Goatview Peak.
This is one of the peaks that surrounds the town of Canmore, Alberta
out and back
Park at Goat Creek parking area on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road south of Canmore
My path up and back down Ha Ling, recorded on the FATMAP app on my phone
A Kananskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at the trailhead. Buy one here https://conservationpass.alberta.ca/kcp
The trail was covered with packed snow and I put on my micro-spikes at the start of the trail. In places, there was ice hiding underneath the fresh snow.
The day was fairly warm despite the snow and I hiked without gloves or a hat much of the way. At the top, there was not a breath of wind. Unfortunately the view out over the town of Canmore was obscured by clouds sitting in the valley. The view above was looking south and west. The valley in the middle of the photo leads to the town of Banff, about 19 km.
The hike goes up hill most of the way with no dips or flat spots for breaks. Some spots are very steep but most of the trail is no steeper than typical stairs. There is no need for hands, no scrambling on this route. The trail is easy to follow and there is no trouble with route finding. As the season progresses and I complete a few hiking-summits, I plan to tackle more technically challenging routes.
That's two peaks done for me. Just 18 more and I'll achieve my goal! Next I am planning for Little Lougheed. Another smaller, easier summit near Canmore.