Saturday, 7 November 2009

Hiking: The Year in Review

The weather is pretty nasty today, but the forecast is calling for sun and +4° tomorrow, meaning we might get out for one more hike this year. However, given the snow and wind that has happened so far this fall, I'm not betting our target of Horton Hill (see the reference here) will be doable.

So with not much to do today, I was looking back at our year in hiking. The stats are pretty impressive:

Number of hikes: 27 (normally 8 or so)
Total distance hiked: 275.7 km (172 miles). Last year: 59 km
Vertical climbed: 10,899 m (35,750 vertical feet). Last year 2,879 m
Average hike length: 10.2 km, longest 30.6 km
Average height gain per hike: 404 m, biggest one day gain 900 m
First hike: May 17
Last hike: October 17
Hiking season duration: 153 days

Tied for best hikes of the year are Burstall Pass, Rummel Lake & Pass and the Headwall Lakes. I continue to be impressed by this section of the Spray Valley. Within 8 km are half a dozen spectacular valleys with stunning scenery and fantastic high alpine terrain. And I remain surprised that folks tackle Chester Lake when they could just as easily go to any of these three and have a better experience.

And Stanley Glacier is also in the "best of" category, especially so because we caught it early in the season when the glacier was still impressive.

As always, it was a treat to return to West Wind Pass, Old Goat Falls, and to summit Jumpingpound Mountain, and even more so to take friends to discover the spectacular hiking that we have nearby.

I won't be returning to the Horsehoe Loop near the Alpine Club clubhouse in Canmore any time soon. Ditto for riding the Goat Creek trail from Canmore to Banff, which was a pretty uninteresting waste of a day. I won't try to summit West Wind Ridge again, but will keep West Wind Point on my list of places to go back to.

The toughest hike of the year was Tent Ridge, without question, though the circuit around Read's Ridge also stands out as quite the workout.

I was also really glad we got up to Sunshine Village for the Citadel Pass and Quartz Ridge hikes. It's one thing to see this in the winter, and yet another to see it in the summer.

My list of "hikes still to do" has been whittled down to a mere 15. However, the list started at 18 at the beginning of the year, and while a handful came off, another handful were added. I suspect I won't run out anytime soon.

I had planned to do a similar wrap up of last year's ski season. Sunshine Village opens in a mere 4 days, and knowing we won't be getting there for at least a month, I still may.

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