Monday, July 6, 2015

Tent Ridge, Kananaskis- June 23rd, 2015

On Tuesday, June 22nd, Monsieur Simon Donato and I went for a wee saunter up Tent ridge. We left Canmore at 7:30 am and headed out up onto the Smith-Dorian to the Spray Valley to find the trailhead. After about 30 mins driving on the gravel road, we turned right at Mount Engadine Lodge, and just after the switchbacks up the Mount Shark road, we parked in the biggest pullout on the right. It is in perfect proximity to the trailhead as well as where the trail comes out at the end. We decided to do the loop anti-clockwise, taking the upper trail, which is visible from the pullout if you just look up the road towards mount Shark.
Gerty soaking in the view

Gerty and Simon running along the ridge
Simon started off at a mean pace running and my legs, and I think the trusty canine Gerty, questioned what we were getting ourselves into. The trail was great, but steepens up very quickly after about ten minutes. Through the bushes the trail meanders up an old road and then opens up under the steep face of Tent ridge. Here there are a few braided trails, but we followed the most prominent, winding up very steeply. As we made our way up towards the ridgeline and over the last bit of remaining snow, Gerty decided to do her thang and chase squirrels further down. No problem- a chance for a break and to take in the gorgeous view.
From the ridge, it was easy travelling until just below the main rocky summit. The trail meandered lookers right of the ridge and up the backside of the summit. Once again, the views!!! You get a full 360 of the Spray valley, including a nice view of Assiniboine.

From the summit, we made our way down the ridge and up to the satellite station, and then down the paralleling ridge. It became a bit more scrambly from here, so we spent some time helping Gerty along (I wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog unless they are good on loose rocks and mountainous terrain! It was a tough go for her, plus there is no water until back into the valley bottom). On the descent, it seems there are a few options to take the scree slopes to the left, but the ridge has a trail all the way to the bottom, which is what we followed. It was great, and we were all excited for the snow slide at the bottom.
Spray valley
From here the trail winds down into the valley and along the stream. There was water there for Gerty, as well as quite a bit of debris in the stream from avalanches in the winter. Down we went into the forest and along a very enjoyable trail heading back to the road. There were a lot of trees down, but nothing totally hindering or impassable. It was a fun and precarious run jumping over everything!

My many amazing poses
In the end, with all the Gerty carrying and helping, we completed the 780m elevation gain/9km loop in 2 hr. 30 mins. I think it could be possible to complete it in 1 hr. 45 mins, and I’ve heard of a Dr. Andy Reed having completed it in 90minutes. We were discussing which way is best for running it, with Simon deciding clockwise would be better as it is a nicer run up that direction through the forest, and the scramble up would be easier going, with a much nicer descent. Who knows….maybe we need to run it again to find out!!

All in all, it is now one of my favorite day hikes in Kananaskis. The view is amazing right after entering alpine terrain, and it is a fun scramble, surrounded by some astounding peaks!

Much love and adventuring,


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