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 Pigeon Mountain
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mclay1234
Junior Member


Calgary
311 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  10:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply to this posting
We headed up to Pigeon Mountain yesterday (just outside Canmore).

When we started the hike it was -20 and the highest it got, from the summit and back down, was -12. With the 30-40 km/h wind at the summit, this was one very, very cold day.

There is very little snow at the beginning of the trail - perhaps an inch or so - but this steadily increases as you ascend along the power line and old road. By the time you reach the normal hikers exit from the old road there is about 6-8 inches of fluffy snow down. For some reason we chose to stick to the old road and ascend to the south summit via the southeast slope. While this route would likely be lovely in the spring or earlier in the fall, it turned out to be a poor choice with the snow. I had anticipated that the upper slopes of Pigeon Mountain would be windswept, but the southeast slope was the leeward side, meaning - from what I can tell - that all the snow from east of Canmore had been deposited there. For about a kilometer we broke trail through a double crust that at best was a foot deep or so and more commonly over our knees. It took about an hour to go a little over 1 km with a stiff and cold headwind, and upon cresting the northwest ridge en route to the south summit - which was mostly bare of snow, btw - we encountered a much stronger wind that pelted our face with ice crystals. The thermometer on my backpack read -12, but the windchill was far below that. Just a few hundred meters - horizontal ones at that - from the south summit we called it day and raced to shelter in the trees and refuel. The combination of the wind, cold, and exhaustion was just too much at this point.

If anyone is thinking of doing this hike before it closes on Dec. 1st, I suggest you either take snowshoes or attempt the usual hikers route. From our vantage point the usual route - or at least where I think it was - looked snow covered but appeared much more sheltered. From the saddle between the north and south summits to the north summit appeared to be mostly windswept with just a few deep drifts.

One additional note - this is hunter country (bow hunting only I think), so you will likely encounter a hunter or two. We met two very friendly hunters, one of whom had been camped out for a few days in the cold. I don't see this as a problem, but I know there are those that would be upset seeing a hunter drag out a ram or deer so it's something worth noting.

Thankfully the views on this trip were quite nice, and I've got some photos on my website at http://mattclay.zenfolio.com/pigeon_mountain
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Sodbuster
Senior Member


High River, (just south of Calgary eh!), Alberta
Canada

1848 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  4:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good chunk of elevation for a November hike. I haven't been out for a while... making me grumpy.

no quitting
Advanced Member


Powell River, bc
Canada

2749 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  5:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brrrrrr!!! That sounds cold,and looks even colder!!! Nice pictures,hope you were wearing your samsquach hat :)
Also,ditto what Sodbuster said.......grumpy!

wildtrekker
Junior Member



485 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  5:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.

mclay1234
Junior Member


Calgary
311 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  7:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know what you mean about getting grumpy being away from the mountains for awhile!

After the cold we endured on this hike, we're heading to MEC to buy some balaclava's so that we don't get turned around again. Core temperature is always ok; it's the exposed face that's the problem (and glasses sure don't help...).

Rachelo
Advanced Member


Calgary, Alberta
Andorra

4112 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  8:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by wildtrekker

Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.


You can start the ACC route from right behind the clubhouse.
More options for the other route.
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Ryan.in.yaletown
Advanced Member


Van, BC
Canada

3093 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  9:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

This was the first mountain I ever climbed... and I did it solo (really pissing off my parents). Brings back a lot of memories :)

-Ryan

zeljkok
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1221 Posts

 Posted - 11/12/2012 :  10:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ryan.in.yaletown


This was the first mountain I ever climbed... and I did it solo (really pissing off my parents). Brings back a lot of memories :)

-Ryan




LOL!

I was there with small group from COC one gorgeous mid-October day in 2007.


I think this is when I first got thinking about eventually settling in Canmore one day...

StevenSong
Intermediate Member


Edmonton, AB
Canada

636 Posts

 Posted - 11/13/2012 :  11:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by wildtrekker

Brave, I am waiting a little bit for some warm weather before I ascend anything, though does anyone know the trail head to do Grotto Mountain? I figure it would be a nice jaunt in some semi cold weather.



The ACC route up, starting right from the ACC Hostel, is a good objective. I soloed it in January. The post-holing near treeline was very exhausting though. http://stevensong.fotki.com/canmore/201212-grotto-mountain/

Also, there're some branches going left and right that are mis-leading. If the trail isn't obvious you probably just wanna go straight up the rib.

wildtrekker
Junior Member



485 Posts

 Posted - 11/13/2012 :  5:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sweet, thank you.

Engor
Intermediate Member


Calgary
954 Posts

 Posted - 11/19/2012 :  6:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Went up Pigeon Mountain last weekend. Mostly ankle-deep snow above the tree line. We hit a few snow drifts with up to knee-deep snow and that's all. From the summit we went straight down to the parking lot using Bob Spirko's route (mostly knee-deep snow higher up). No real challenges except nasty wind. 5.5 hours car-to-car. There were a few very slow hikers in our group. I think most people on this board will do it in 4 hours.

It's a nice (for this time of year) and easy ridgewalk. I'll surely do it again on a sunny winter day as we had very limited views due to low clouds and intermittent flurries.

Edited by - Engor on 11/19/2012 6:14 PM
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