20140704: Midnight Peak (Kananaskis)

Midnight Peak. The name is intriguing. Romantic or sinister, depending on your point of view.

Today I wanted something on the easy side; I’m supposed to do Mount Niles tomorrow, (update: it ended up being cancelled due to snow conditions). So I RSVP’d to climb Midnight with the Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association (Stephane, Mark, Deborah, and Maggie. It was Maggie’s first scramble trip!). I’d wanted to do Midnight since last fall, but the chance didn’t arise until now. Most people had the day off due to the Stampede Parade. I had the day off cause I’d worked Canada Day in lieu.

Midnight is rated an easy scramble but really I’d consider it a steep hike. The scrambling and slab portion is quite short and straightforward. We followed Spirko’s GPS tracks which really meant that after hiking an initial section of trail shared with the Mount Baldy ascent, we turned right and bushwhacked to the ridge. Steep. Rocky. Slippery. The sun chased us and eventually caught up with us as we neared the ridge. Baking hot. Luckily there was a bit of a breeze but that didn’t stop me from sweating profusely.

Morning hike on the Mt. Baldy trail
Morning hike on the Mt. Baldy trail

 

Leaving the Mt. Baldy trail and bushwhacking uphill.
Leaving the Mt. Baldy trail and bushwhacking uphill. Mt. Baldy in the background. The shade is welcome on this hot day.

 

Attaining the ridge and view of Kananaskis recreation area, looking south
Attaining the ridge and view of Kananaskis recreation area, looking south
View of false and true summits of Midnight Peak from the ridge
View of false and true summits of Midnight Peak from the ridge
Scrambling portion
Scrambling portion

 

Maggie's shot of me
Maggie’s shot of me
Mark's shot of Maggie
Mark’s shot of Maggie

 

Summit
Summit

From the summit cairn we saw a trail leading down from the other side; the map showed it connecting to the creek so we decided to do a loop rather than retrace our steps back. It was… a bit rough once we got down past most of the scree as we followed an avalanche gully. Wahoo!! we yelled when we found the connection to the main Baldy trail. There were even a couple hikers coming up the main trail; they must have thought us crazed like marooned sailors meeting rescuers after being stranded at sea for months. Actually it was not that dramatic. But we were glad to connect to the trail.

Navigating the scree descent
Navigating the scree descent
Descent with the three peaks of Mt Baldy, a popular hike, in view.
Descent with the three peaks of Mt Baldy, a popular hike, in view.

 

Today of all days I forgot my water bottles at home. On the descent I was delirious with want for a coke slurpee. When I got home I ended up downing two glasses of root beer and a half glass of grape soda (along with about 2L of water from the Barrier Lake visitor’s center). aaah sugar.

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