Old Baldy Mountain GR:356417

elevation: 2,728 m. height gain: 1,280 m.
area: Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/14
2013-Jan-27


Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies
trail soon vanishes


This trail starts from the Boundary Ranch Loop and soon vanishes.
Snowshoe trip: RT 10.5; 6.0 up. This trip is an excellent winter scramble but it requires 800 meters of height gain bushwhacking and most likely breaking trail up the west facing slopes beyond Boundary Ranch. It's another 100 meters (H.G.) to the vast ridge top called Old Baldy and an additional 400 meters to Old Baldy Mountain. Just like last weekend, we were counting on the alpine being denuded from recent strong southern winds. We met Charles at Bounday Ranch and quickly got going on the plowed loop. Shortly thereafter, we veered on a trail but it soon vanished... We started making our way through the trees, aiming to ascend climber's left of the obvious drainage. The terrain is steep but the forest isn't choked. At first, the snowpack was shallow; snowshoes dug down to the ground for decent purchase. Higher up, trail breaking and following became more arduous; postholing knee-deep and slipping back most steps, we used trees to reef ourselves upward. Charles broke trail with enthusiasm for most of the way; ahhhhhh, to be young again... Anyway, once on the wind-swept ridge, travelling was great. The sun was warm and we felt optimistic. We ascended scree, snow and even a bit of rock along the scenic ridge. At the top, we put on extra layers but the bitter wind kept us from enjoying the view for very long. We headed down and found shelter in the sun. We had a good lunch break before resuming our descent. After retrieving our snowshoes, we proceeded towards the forest for a slippery return. We pulled out the headlamp for the last half hour. This was a very satisfying day!
ascending left of the drainage

Ascending climber's left of the drainage.

postholing

Higher up in the trees, the snowpack is deeper and still unsupportive.

nearing old baldy ridge


Nearing the wind-swept slopes of Old Baldy Ridge.


looking back


Looking back from Old Baldy.


our objective


The ridge leads to our objective.


old baldy mountain


Old Baldy Mountain.


vast, barren ridge


Looking back at the vast, barren ridge.


vertical rock slab


An impressive vertical rock slab.


the wedge in the background


The Wedge in the background.


getting closer


Getting closer.


close to the ridge crest


Staying close to the ridge crest.


slab section


A short slab section precedes the summit.


last bit


Last bit.


traverse to mcdougall


Traverse to Mount McDougall.


at the top


Happy to be at the top but it's windy and quite cold!


hasty retreat


Heading down promptly to seek shelter.


skirting the slab


Skirting the slab section.


summer trail down below


The summer trail joins the west ridge from the valley below.


last glimpse


Last glimpse at the false summit.


time for a break


We found shelter next to this outcrop and had a good long break.


retrieving our snowshoes


More conversation while we retrieve our snowshoes.


slippery descent


We begin a slippery descent as the sun sets...
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