Distance: 7.5 km
Elevation gain: 920 m
A morning appointment in Calgary necessitated a late start to the day, and we didn't start hiking until 2 pm. We also weren't sure if we'd be able to summit anyway as we knew beforehand, and could easily see from the parking lot, a large cornice overhanging the summit. We have no experience evaluating anything snow-related, and so tend to play on the cautious side.
The trail was decommissioned in 2005 because the area is supposed to be prime grizzly habitat so we made plenty of random noise on the way up, but didn't see any grizzly sign, fresh or old. (There was a mother grizzly and 2 young cubs at the Kananaskis Lakes - Highway 40 intersection though!). There were plenty of ground squirrels and glacier lily (bulbs) for them to eat though, so perhaps they show up later in the season.
The trail was bone dry and easy to follow, albeit steep, until the ridgecrest where the trail forks, and after that there were big but avoidable snowpatches in the trees. The trail is also confusing at this point. The apparent main trail continues to a lookout point for those that have had enough for the day, the first fork (left) heads for the summit, while the second fork (left) heads for the NE outlier, passing a tarn and alpine basin along the way. We ended up accidentally taking the lookout trail, then backtracked and decided to head for the NE outlier. As it turned out this trail soon became relatively impassable because of snow, so we cut through open forest (which was surprisingly mostly snow-free) to the summit trail and started slogging up increasingly steep and muddy trail.
In the end we never made it to the summit as it was getting a little late for my comfort, but we did make it within about 100 m and close enough that I'm fairly sure there was a route to the top that would have avoided the dangers of a cornice collapse...or at least one that others had taken, foolishly or not. The views and wildflowers were a great consolation prize, and as we hadn't started the trip expecting to summit, it wasn't a disappointment in the end anyway.
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Keywords:Kananaskis, Mt. Indefatigable