I decided to climb Heart Mountain next because it is close to Bow Valley Campground where we were camped for the week and also because I was summiting alone. Dan is still recovering from his fall on Plutonian Shores (see Rock Climbing - Multi Pitch Climbing). I had climbed Heart Mountain before so I knew the route. I didn’t want to deal with any route finding challenges on my own.
I had in mind to check out the Horseshoe. This is the name of a route that continues from the top of Heart Mountain back to Grant MacEwan Peak, up over that peak and along a ridge that curves around back towards the highway. I’ve never been up there before. I thought that if it looked ok, I’d hike it but if it looked too sketchy, I would turn around and come back down Heart.
For now, I’ve given up on increasing the difficulty of the routes. I don’t want to take on more risk while Dan can’t join me and I have to go out alone. Being out alone is an added risk in itself. Until Dan can join me, I’ll do peaks I’ve done in previous years, like Heart Mountain and Mount Yamnuska (which may be next!).
The trail from the parking lot over to Heart Creek is wide and easy to follow. It goes up and over a small hill. Uma joined me on this summit. She's been to the top before too so I knew she could make it. She's also great at finding trails when they're not as easy to spot as the one in this photo.
A sign points the way. Heart Mountain Scramble here we come!
The trail is easy at the start, as you move up towards the mountain, away from the highway and the creek.
It soon turns to broken slab as you start to climb.
Here a flatter spot where you are once again following a trail.
And then back to broken slab and loose rocks.
Trans Canada Highway near Lac Des Arc
the full loop
Park at the Heart Creek Trail parking lot just off the Trans Canada Highway near Exshaw.
My path recorded on the FATMAP app on my phone. I went up Heart Mountain first, then traversed the ridge up to Grant MacEwan Peak and around to descend the ridge. The path that parallels the highway is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
A Kananskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at the trailhead. Buy one here https://conservationpass.alberta.ca/kcp
This sign, placed where the scramble trail leaves the hiking trail, is a good reminder that this route is not a hike. It is a full on scramble. It was a bit scrappier than I remembered and I really enjoyed using a few climbing moves to get up some of the rock. A fun day out.
That's ten peaks done. With Dan out of commission until his ankle heals, I will continue to climb peaks by myself that I have done before.