Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Wedge - July 14th, 2013

After reading lots of on-line trip reports on the Wedge scramble route I thought it'd be fun to go and try as it seemed to be within my skill level. I was nervously excited about crossing from the false summit to the true summit as there is a narrow path between the two and I imagined capturing incredible pictures from the lofty peak. The recent floods in southern Alberta had washed out some bridges in Kananaskis and last Thursday they had announced that the bridge over Evan-Thomas creek had been restored to single lane traffic which you have to cross to get to the trail head at Wedge pond.

A lot of the trip reports I read are from the late 90's or early 2000's when everyone seemed to be cutting their mountain-scrambling-teeth on the routes that I'm just starting to discover. There was a bit of information about route finding and getting through the trees to the shoulder of the mountain. The approach trail was easy to find and after 15 years (since some of the earliest posted trip reports) of people climbing the Wedge that the trail was very well defined. There were a couple of washed out sections on the way up due to recent heavy rains but they didn't pose much of a problem.

I walked through the forest, up the shoulder and got to the base of the summit in about two and a half hours. On the way there was a spectacular view of Mt. Kidd and the Kananaskis valley.

Mt Kidd

When I got to the top of the shoulder I found that this is where the rock started. I was looking *up* at a steep rocky expanse for signs of the trail and couldn't quite see the boot beaten path to the summit. So I traversed across the side of the mountain looking for something that would indicate where the path continued. At one point I figured I'd found a trail and carefully climbed up the slope but I was still uncertain if it was the right way to go or not. I ended up coming back down to the base of the slope because I wasn't comfortable continuing. Partially because I didn't know the direction and also because I've not climbed on this terrain before and didn't want to get stuck. I figure if I was with someone who had a bit of experience it would have made a huge difference. So I continued to traverse around the side until I came to this view here.

Kananaskis Country

It was spectacular. I sat for a few minutes and had some snacks. While I rested and made a few more photos.



I started to traverse back to the shoulder and was scanning the slope for signs of a cairn and eventually spotted one which indicated trail that I was looking for. It was about 20 meters up the slope. By now it was early evening and I had resigned myself to not making the summit. However, I decided to practice a little bit and climbed up to the cairn. From there I spotted another one higher up on the cliff. This was the path I was supposed to follow! It was still steep and possibly not something I wanted to do alone though. I went back down to the base of the slope and continued on back to the shoulder.


The light had just dropped in below the clouds and was gorgeous. On the right side of the hill, wild flowers were blooming.


I continued to descend, once I was in the trees again I packed up all my loose items and started to jog down the path to get back to the car quickly. This was working out well until I tried to jump over a knee high tree that was lying across the path. When landing I rolled my ankle on the other side. It wasn't serious but I did slow down a bit after that.

I'll have to come back again for the summit - either after more experience or if I can find a partner to go to the top with.

Thanks for looking.

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