Monday, June 27, 2005

Best Places

My cousin is writing up an article for Lethbridge Living on the best places in Southern Alberta to....

I thought I would give her a hand and try to come up with some suggestions. I know she could use a lot more.

The best place to watch the Sunset
I figured along Bellvue Ridge. From here it looks like the sun is setting at the head of the lakes. A close second would be some of the prayer circles or medicine wheels out in the prairies along the Red Rock highway. While Natives consider it sacrilegious to visit these places, they do give a certain ambiance that modern spiritualists can't resist.

Best Place to people watch
The big scoop ice cream store in Waterton is hard to beat. You can't beat the entertainment of watching reactions as kids dribble and drop their ice cream. Also, you have never seen such an odd assortment of un matched clothes as you get on Waterton tourists.

The best place to sit and think
I always got contemplative on the rock ledges beneath the PW hotel. The coll breeze, and sheltered coves made it easy to sit and think. Plus you get to hear everyone talking from across emerald bay without ever seeing them.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Trail Conditions

It looks like the moutains are pretty clear of snow for this time of year. Sofa looks almost bare. You should be able to get up any route entirely avoiding snow. The trail to Vimy peak is also surprisingly clear of snow. In terms of snow, my guess is most of the trails should be in a condition similar to what they normally are around the start of the 2nd week of July.

Monday, June 20, 2005


While browsing around the internet for waterfalls to paddle, I have come accross a few pages with great images. The first one is by Tom Dempsy. The second is from the Wilcox and Sax gallery in Waterton. Check them out for yourself.

Yarrow-East Ridge

A good fun alpine route with some fun exposure.

Head south of Twin Butte about 5 km(??) to Spread Eagle Road. Turn west until you come to a "Tee" junction and head south to the end of the road. Park here and hike the fence line south to the top to the hill and turn right (west) and head for the big hill in front of you trending slightly right. Once on top, just follow the ridge until the scrambling ends and the climbing begins. We took two ropes but all our climbing was done in 30m pitches to keep the rope drag down so it would be very feasable to do it with one rope. The rock was a little manky in a few places but the whole route took good protection with good belay stations. The whole route mostly followed the ridge or the left side of the ridge with one place staying right of the ridge ( it's pretty obvious once your there). The final summit pitch we climbed on the right side but you could walk around on the right side to the Yarrow/Spread Eagle col and scramble the final pitch. From the summit, we descended down to the col and then turned right and carefully headed down the north face picking our way through the cliff bands. As you get near the bottom you'll see a cattle trail. If you stay on this cattle trail it will take you around to the front side of the ridge to the ascent route. From there just follow your tracks back to the vehicle.
Dave has some good pictures on his website for those interested (
We put it at an alpine 3 5.6.
The whole route went clean, no pins!!!
We used:
Three long slings
Two medium slings
Hex's (very useful)
#.5, #.75 and #1 cams
6-8 quick draws
Have fun........


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Some people are Waterfall affecionados. While Cameron falls is impressive, I find the lesser known Waterfalls more impressive. For iinstance, the small Waterfall behind Snowshoe Cabin is one of my favorite discoveries. Go to the small stream by the cabin, and follow it downstream until it hits the creek out of Twin Lakes.

Walking back behind the curtain of Forum Falls is also a fun time.

Forum Falls

The walk up from the lake to Hell Roaring is also another favorite of mine. Perhaps one of these days someone will get down that thing in a kayak. Of course an impressive waterfall called Wild Thing is found on Cameron creek. If you park at the expert's choice pullout, from the road you can see a small falls in a canyon. If you walk up stream about 300m you will come to the base of a three stepped rapid.

Wild Thing from half height

For a good Waterfall hike, the Virginia Falls Trail passes by several spectacular falls. Upstream of St. Mary's Falls is the Deadhorse Canyon. This impressive red rock canyon has quite a few log jams and small waterfalls. It is definitely a scenic place. Just don't fall in. Over the last few years a number of deaths in the park have occured this way.

For shutter bugs, perhaps some extra info on how to shoot waterfalls may help

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Flood Updates

With all the rain we have been getting things are looking a bit ugly for climbers and a bit scary for boaters. Hikers, well, just pretend you are in the Shangra La of Vancouver.

Actually if you are looking for some tidbits of information about the flood, check out the forums at calpaddle for things from a kayaker's point of view. You can also check out the snow pack, river flows and damn levels at the Alberta Environment site. Right now though, it looks like the big storm is mainly hitting the prairies. Waterton hasn't had nearly as much rain as Mountain View. That means that although the prairie rivers are higher than they were in the flood of '95 the lake hasn't gotten into flood mode. In fact the upper mountains seem to be on the verge of getting snow right now instead of rain. For instance, out by Mountain View, locals said it was close to 0 this morning. From being out Sunday, it looks like the mountain creeks while high, aren't in flood stage yet - well at least the ones with minimum drainage.

Of course if you are looking for some drier areas, even Stone Hills is getting hit.

For some good reading try the Flood stories page. Here is the Kootenay version:

A small gray bird, despite the prohibition of her husband (a chicken hawk, Accipiter cooperi), bathed in a certain lake after picking berries in the hot sun. There she was seized and raped by a giant in the lake. The bird's husband shot the monster, who in revenge swallowed up all the water to keep others from having it. The woman pulled out the arrow, and the water rushed forth in a torrent. The husband and wife escaped to a mountain until the flood receded. (In variant versions, the woman was seized by a giant fish or water animal. The husband killed it, and its blood caused the flood. The husband escaped up a tree.

New Pages

I just found this page I think it is run by some Alberta locals. At any rate it looks like they put a lot of work into it. It covers the gammut of all good sports. If you have any other ezines you read regularly, feel free to post them below. I know there are some hidden gems around. For example, I like for boating information.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Andy Russell

Andy Russell passed away earlier this week. Andy had the beautiful cabin on the bluff just north of the park along the Pincher Creek road. He was well known for his stories and tales. He seemed to have the ability to tell stories in a way many people could relate. While this may have irked some other local mountain men, Andy certainly was a true local to the area.

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