For its modest size, Mt Lipsett has so much to offer. It’s a fun hike in a gorgeous setting and at the top there are stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. It’s an easy to follow trail, an old exploration road that leads you to within a short distance of the summit.
Starting at the parking spot along the Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40), head towards the obvious pathway near some large rocks. Here is the only tricky part to the route finding. At any junctions, just go left and up. After a bit you’ll come to an old road heading again off to your left, a very obvious route. Save for the last bit to the summit, this will be your tail for the rest of the trip. The going is never steep and is trouble free save for a few boggy sections down low. Just follow it as it leisurely makes its way up the mountain. Until you get about two thirds up you are in the trees.
When you break out, all the work will be worth it and you are treated to some nice scenery. Still on the road, you leave it just before it traverses left following a side ridge. Just head up here – it’s a straight line to the summit.
At to the top, the much larger Mist Mountain on your right dominates the view and it makes you realize how insignificant the hill you are on is. To the south Odlum Ridge is seen and far below highway 40 snakes its way up and down the valley. Storm Mountain to the north and Mt Storelk directly west are also prominent peaks in the area. The views are simply stunning no matter the compass direction you are facing.
From here you can see the summit of Highwood Pass to the north, home to the highest elevation paved road in Canada. The highway here is closed in the winter, being to difficult to keep open with all the snow that falls. It’s a popular route with cyclists, both motor and human powered.
Looking around more, it’s a wondrous summit and all around the panoramas are striking. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking…
I’ve often wondered about these exploration roads that seems to be common in this part of Kananaskis. In addition to Mt Lipsett, others with these roads include Mist Ridge, Picklejar Ridge and Pasque Mountain – I believe there are others too. It’s clear they are not for logging and I’ve always assumed they were searching for coal instead since it does occur in the area (update – yes they were searching for coal). One thing, they sure went to a lot of trouble making them. Their hard work means we benefit and they do make nice trails up, often providing easy access to many ridge and mountain tops.
Reluctantly we head back down, and this is always a super-bummer for us (of course we enjoy lunch and wine before retreating). You’d like to stay there forever.
Mt Lipsett was named in 1918 for Louis James Lipsett, a general in the British army who commanded Canadian troops during the first world war. Technically this bump is simply an outlier (subsidiary peak) of Mist Mountain, but it still managed to get its own name.
The trail for us was not busy and the only company we passed was a group heading down from the summit. Otherwise we had the place to ourselves. I have been told it’s often windy here, but for us there was only a light breeze.
If you wish more information on this trail, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: September 2009.
Location: Kananaskis near Highwood Pass.
Distance: 14km return.
Height gain from start: 710m.
Height gain cumulative: 710m
Technical bits: None.
Notes: Prime bear habitat. We’ve seen so many signs – footprints, fresh piles of poo, etc.
Reference: Kananaskis Trail Guide by Gillean Daffern.