Distance: 5.5 km
Elevation gain: 925 m View map Download GPS track
The peak roughly east of the Nakiska ski hill is most often called Wasootch Peak, a name that appears to have been popularized by Andrew Nugara's scramble guide
. Gillean Daffern calls the same peak G8 Summit
after the meeting held in Kananaskis Village in 2002. Google maps disagrees with both authors and leaves the peak unnamed, labeling the south end of Wasootch Ridge as Wasootch Peak instead. Naming issues aside, Wasootch Peak makes for a great off-season hike. It's location and exposed southwest-facing ascent slope means it is often much drier than other peaks.
After parking on the east shoulder of the road just north of the Kananaskis Village turnoff we began following a good trail up the rocky drainage. The snow was packed down today and thus routefinding was brainless, but in general our route followed the north bank of the creek, then headed up along the ridge closest to the creek.
Travel through the forest was easy with very light bushwhacking, although it did get steep higher up. Things got a bit more interesting about halfway up as the ridge became rockier and the snow deeper. For the most part we stuck to the ridgecrest, but occasionally detoured to one side or the other to get around steeper rocky sections that didn't look as easy as we'd like with the snow. Two sections were particularly unnerving: A short traverse of a snow slope where a slip would have been very problematic and a section of ridge that was just a foot wide or so. I suspect that without snow and the microspikes on our boots neither of these areas would be a problem, but with snow it wasn't easy.
The final 300 m of the ascent was on scree and was straightforward until just meters from the summit. Here we need to scramble up a blocky rock. Today a deep snowpatch made things easier by giving us a boost of a few feet, but even in dry conditions I don't think it would be too difficult. A short traverse along a narrow ridge with a precipitous drop to the right then brought us to the true summit, perhaps a meter higher than the initial highpoint. Views were fantastic in all directions, but at -18 C with a 20 km/h wind we couldn't stay long at all and by the time we did descend - facing into the wind now - we were completely frozen. A quick food break on the way down and hot chocolate at Kananaskis Village at the end of trip capped a great scramble trip!