Hiking Kananaskis: Mt. Indefatigable

After our quick trip south to Waterton Lakes National Park, David and I headed 3 hours back up north for one more hike in the glorious Kananaskis valley: Mt. Indefatigable.  This peak had some of the best views we’ve had on our entire 3-week grand tour of the Canadian Rockies, so that is SAYING SOMETHING!

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uhmmmmmm

Mt. Indefatigable (south peak) has about 3000 feet of elevation gain in ~10 km round trip, so it’s quite steep, as usual.  At the start of the Indefatigable hiking trail is a terrifying sign stating that the trail was officially decommissioned in 2005 due to grizzly activity and you should consider hiking another trail, do you want to be eaten or something!?!?!?  After staring at the sign for a few minutes and checking out the plentiful number of cars in the parking lot, we decided that apparently people around here don’t heed terrifying signs about grizzly bears so we guess we shouldn’t either?  Maybe?

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a few hundred feet from the summit. starting to get scree-y

The walk through the woods before we reached the ridgeline was full of my frantic clapping and nervous singing (“bears, bears, go away, eat me another day”).  Luckily the most heavily wooded section of trail is quite brief (~10 minutes), and then you walk next to an exposed ridgeline where you could probably see a grizzly attacking your face.  We saw not a soul as we steadily climbed higher.  Apparently, all of those cars in the parking lot were doing other things, like not being eaten by grizzlies.

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view from the top

After a while you reach a junction where you can veer left and climb up the south peak, or continue straight a bit further to climb up the north peak.  The north peak is a “moderate” scramble, and there is a brief 1 km ridge walk to the south peak that is “mostly hiking” with a few short scramble-y sections.  We opted to head up the south peak cos I was feeling pretty cranky and lazy, y’all (#noregrets).

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can has ur sandwich plz? PC: David

After you veer to the left, you enter back into the woods and I resumed my frantic clapping and anti-bear signing.  Fairly quickly, the trail gets steeper and the trees get smaller and the view opens up.  We continued climbing and the trail turned into scree for the last several hundred feet, as it always seems to do in the Canadian Rockies.  The final few hundred feet are slightly slower on account of the steepness + scree, but it’s not considered a scramble since you barely have to use your hands at all.

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looking towards the north summit along the ridge line

As you top out on the summit ridge you run into a rather ugly weather station.  We skirted around the weather station and walked along the ridge to the true south summit, which has a large and obvious rock cairn.  The views were CRAZY, Y’ALL!  360 degrees of VIEWS, VIEWS, VIEWS!  MOUNTAINS! LAKES! TARNS! MORE MOUNTAINS! WEATHER STATIONS!  We sat at the summit for almost an hour and had it completely to ourselves.  A ballsy squirrel circled us continuously, eyeing our doritos and PB & J.  I wondered anxiously if the pristine views and empty summit would come at the price of a grizzly eating my face on the way down the mountain.

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more views from the summit! and a weather station.

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heading down some scree. PC: David

After admitting to myself that yes, I would have to walk back through the grizzly-infested woods, we packed up and started heading down.  And then we started seeing people.  Lots of people… heading to the summit after noon!  Huge groups of people.  People playing music out of mini radios.  People using ukulele cases as backpacks because they forgot their actual backpacks.  People with dogs that randomly attacked David’s leg.  People who didn’t even seem to have bear spray.  ALL THE PEOPLE!  As usual, the folks of the Canadian Rockies seem to do their hiking in the afternoon.  Apparently, lots of people ignore the scary grizzly sign after all!

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heading back down towards the forest and GRIZZLIES. PC: David

Thankful for all of the bear deterrents in the form of other human beings, we made our way down with significantly less bear-anxiety, living to hike another day!  The end!

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plentiful wildflowers in the forest… the forest full of GRIZZLIES

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2 thoughts on “Hiking Kananaskis: Mt. Indefatigable

  1. OK so I have other words. Those other words are “I hate you.” (<— the jealousy talking).

    Ummm that looks stupid awesome. And I, being a biologist (ahem ahem) with some experience in wildlife-y things (cough cough), I can understand the grizzly sign, and was pretty cool with it when you said you didn't see anyone else. Then I was sad when you talked of the hoards of people. Some because people are generally annoying (ESPECIALLY THE ONES THAT PLAY MUSIC FROM THEIR BACKPACKS AS IF EVERYONE WANTS TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC &^&^%$$#$ anyway sore spot), but mostly because there is something to asking people to avoid a trail due to wildlife (in this case grizzly) use. Sure it seems like grizzlies just eat our faces, but in reality they don't eat hardly any faces (of humans), and they can be really sensitive to human use. SOOOOO I get it. (also, grizzlies may be on to something with avoiding the humans…. and if they need to eat one, they should focus on ones playing music).

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    • yeah so when we saw that sign we literally stared at it for 10 minutes and i hemmed and hawed and was generally super cranky because i didn’t want to cross the sign. and like i thought it was a big deal and felt weird about it? but yeahhhh apparently everyone ignores it. so uhm… that’s probably not like… the best.

      also how do you feel about using radios in grizzly territory? i thought it was actually kind of smart because you’re announcing your presence? but those people probably weren’t doing it for that reason….

      soooo yeah anyway, i think a lot of the hiking around there is kind of like franconia ridge.. a lost cause in terms of limiting human activity? ah ha ha #positivity

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