The wind on Pasque Mountain is legendary and on the two trips up to fine ridge we’ve been unable to proceed past the southwest summit because of it. The gusts are powerful enough to knock a person over, even a large fellow like me. So for the time being we’ve only been able to admire the rest of the route from afar. We vow to return though and hope that attempt three is successful. Fingers crossed!
After this trip its Pasque Mountain 2, us 0.
This trail mostly follows an old exploration road to within a short distance of the summit mentioned Lower down though, you follow faint trails through a number of boggy cut blocks. Once you reach the base of the ridge the road I spoke of becomes obvious.
The parking spot is some 28km down the Forestry Trunk Road 940, south of Highwood House and the Junction with Highway 40. There is a pull off here, the remains of an old logging road. Jumping over the gate turn right after crossing a bridge. Shortly after, at the base of a steep hill, ignore the obvious straight on trail and instead head south into a cutline. The path is faint here and it’s sometimes boggy.
Emerging in a cutblock, follow the trail across to a side road that dips down to a stream. Rock hop across and enter yet another cut block, and head left at a 45 degree angle. Here another road descends to another stream ending at the base of a side ridge of Pasque Mountain, on a corduroy road. From here on the trail comes distinct and easy to follow.
Follow the old exploration road, a rough cat track in places, as it works its way to a saddle below the main ridge. Entering a flowery meadow, the trail disappears for a bit, but if you head west you intercept it again as it enter the trees.
Pointing south now and always gaining elevation, some parts quite steep, it’s not long before we break out of the trees. After a couple quick switchbacks, we are a mere few metres below the northwest summit of Pasque Mountain. On the lee side of the ridge we were protected from the wind, however once on top it was a gusting and we were almost blown over.
So once again this mountain defeats us. Begging us on, the connecting ridge of the horseshoe can be seen extending off for some distance. It looks like a wonderful excursion, a giant U shaped undulating ridge. It will have to wait yet again before we see it. Will the third time be lucky?
If you do make it to the north east summit, you can apparently bushwhack down to the forest service road and follow it back to your car. Not keen on the idea of walking down a dusty gravel road.
From the top the very flat and aptly named Plateau Mountain in the east is the most noticeable peak (calling it a peak seems wrong). Interesting and unlike any mountain I have ever seen. I’d love to go someday although I heard the trail up is really monotonous.
All around are lots of rolling hill and ridges, all asking to be climbed. To the west, past the ugly cut blocks, an unbroken wall of limestone peaks prevents further passage. They are too far away to see clearly but even from here it’s plain to see that getting over these would be a near impossibility. What did the early explorers think when they saw this?
If you do this trip in the fall, you can catch the larches as they turn. The valley below us was rimmed with them and alive with colour. What a beautiful sight!
Return the way you came.
While some may see them as ugly, the exploration road is actually a nice bonus and it makes a wonderful hiking trail. These were made by a company who was looking for coal, back in the 1940s and 50s. Essentially, they’d sent a cat to cut across a slope and hopefully in the process they’d uncover a suitable seam. Coal does exist in the area and similar roads can be found on many of the ridges in the area (Mist Ridge and Mt Lipsett for example), all of them providing easy access to their respective summits.
This trip our eldest son Will joined us.
To see our previous trip report, click this link…
If you wish more information on this trail, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: September 2011.
Location: South Kananaskis.
Distance: 11km return. You can go further if the wind allows it (it never has for us). The ridge wraps around in a horseshoe shape and extended for many, many kms.
Height gain from start: 690m. More if you go further.
Height gain cumulative: 690m. More if you go further.
Technical bits: Route finding in the lower cut blocks. The trail is faint here.
Notes: This is prime bear habitat.
Reference: Kananaskis Trail Guide by Gillean Daffern.