Saturday, April 25, 2015

Unsuccessful Attempt to The Wedge

After our walk in Kananaskis which was not challenging at all, I and The Chef wanted to do a good hike/climb. He insisted a lot and I decided to take our chances on The Wedge in Highway 40 in Kananaskis. For that plan I set up the alarm for 04:30 and headed for his place in the other side of the town. Due to the distance, by the time I was there, it had already passed 05:10 and then we headed west on Highway No. 1. All of our efforts didn't help much and we were in Wedge Pond parking lot at almost 07:00. The first 20 minutes or so was wasted because we got on the trail which circles around the pond and heads to the highway. Then we turned back and I checked the printed information and we found the trail. The first part of the hike, maybe the first half hour or so was OK but then first it got really steep and then icy. I put my anti-slip sole on and give the other one to The Chef. The Chef's was not as good and he had difficulty getting up but I helped him using the stick method. Then we reached the end of tree-line and the steepness got even worse. I guess you could say it reached 60 degrees! The Chef was insisting to go back but I wanted to reach the damn summit.
In my opinion the next half hour steep scramble was the hard part and then we could reach the ridge and simply walk it. I could see piles or snow and probably ice on the ridge but didn't seem to be a big of a deal.
A beautiful Ptarmigan was seen on the way back down from the alevation. I slowly approached it from behind and took a few shots including this while it was watching me from the corner of its eye
I carried on going up but it was no joke. I had to use both hands and just where I though I could climb on the ridge like a saddle, I found almost nowhere to even get a grip! The Chef was insisting to go back and said he didn't want to risk it. I thought if I could not have gone up, he for sure would not have been able to go up. I decided to climb down but that was not easy either and for a second I thought how on earth I had climbed that part up!
The hike down the trail was not very easy, especially for The Chef. He fell once but fortunately didn't get himself injured. I slip once as well and landed on ice with my hip but nothing happened. He struggled all the way down until the ice disappeared completely.
We got back to the parking lot, I guess at around 10:45 or so but instead of going home decided to take Highway 40 or Kananaskis Trail and go south to see if we could experience anything. The views are amazing at this part but between The Chef being with me, both of us being tired and wanting to go home, I didn't use much of the photography opportunities. The part of Highway 40 right where Smith-Dorian Trail, joins it was closed and I checked later and realized that would be closed until the June. The good part of today's trip was not only getting a good exercise and seeing fantastic mountain views but also was seeing different animals. In the early morning after entering Highway 40 we saw a herd of Elk and then a few Deer
Mount Burney in Kananaskis. This in fact is a combination of different peaks. 
Then we saw a couple of Foxes which The Chef believed there were mother and kid(!) then further down the road we saw few other Deer as well and then the second herd of Elk. When we entered the forest and took the wrong trail I saw a couple of White-tailed Deer and on the way back from our ascend, I saw a beautiful Ptarmigan, I guess that was what it was. That completed the day. We were hoping to see other spices but that was it. The little Foxes and the bird were the highlights of the trip of course if do not consider the exercise itself. The Chef was really happy by the time we got to the city. I don't blame him considering the age and the time he had waken up in the morning (04:00, I guess). I'm sure we would have reached the summit, if it had not been that much ice and snow on the trail. We will try another climb in a month or so we announced. It would be either the same mountain or anything similar or harder in Alberta
(Photo, top: Wedge Point from The Wedge Trail. I guess this is as high as I got. Kananaskis Trail and the mountains at the other side of the river are seen) 

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