BCP123 Table Mountain
Posted coords: N 49° 21.752 W 114° 15.544
My GPSr: N 49° 21.752 W 114° 15.546
My fiancee GeoJamie22 and I both had Thursday free and were looking for an adventure. I had heard through the grapevine that Table Mountain down in the Castle area was snow-free, and given we'd never hiked it before it sounded like a good target for a day hike!
It sure felt like a loooong 2 hour drive from south Calgary down to the parking area (we even stayed over at my parent's place to make the drive more manageable!). It feels weird to drive that far and only end up on the front ranges! But we finally made it to the parking area at about 11:00 and started the hike.
We prepped up with summer hikers because our trip beta said there wasn't much snow. Well, turns out there's still LOTS of snow!! We hit quite a bit on the trail up to the main gully. And once we reached the main gully there was so much snow that it actually made travel quite easy! We simply hiked straight up the middle of the gully thanks to all the hard-packed snow. A few unexpected post-holes made things interesting!
Eventually we found a trail marker heading up to the left and decided to follow the trail up to the ridgetop. The trail soon led into a huge mass of snow about 150 meters below the ridge. Ugh. We opted instead to head straight up the scree to the ridge. Yikes, was that slope ever steep and loose! It was quite a wake-up call for us as it's been several months since we've hiked up steep scree piles! We slogged upward and eventually re-gained the trail. A very cool old dead tree provided a neat stopping spot for a quick lunch break.
Further up the trail we were met with more snow on a steep slope. I kick-stepped some footholds into the snow and we progressed upward slowly until finally the snow gave out. A minute or two later and we were atop the ridge - whoo hoo!
Not too far away is that super cool viewpoint (featured on the brass cap page) I've been ogling for quite some time. Let me tell you - it's even cooler in real life than it is in the photos! I set up GeoJamie22 on the point and I raced back and took a couple dozen photos. Ah, so cool! The wind started to pick up a little so I waved her over.
The ridgewalk over to the summit was very straight forward from this point. There were some massive cornices that were easily avoided and we actually didn't meet any snow for about a kilometer or so. But we did eventually have to cross through a small snow-filled forest. The snow was supportive so it was simple. From there it was another 5 minutes or so to the summit - about 3 hours from the car. The cap was a quick find. Whoo hoo! A couple quick photos and we were off.
The descent was a ton of fun. After finding TiE's cache on the way down, I spotted a nice patch of snow that I figured would make a great glissade. After carefully descending some steep scree, I positioned myself on the snow and WHOOSH down I went! I probably descended about 100 vertical meters in about 30 seconds! GeoJamie22 followed with a giant grin on her face! From there a couple more short bum-slides and we were back onto the trail home.
It sure felt like spring this afternoon. But I've gotta say, there's still TONS of snow out there! I got back to the car and my poor summer hikers were soaked! The long drive home was made better by some good tunes on the radio and a stop for Longview beef jerky (the buffalo jerky is my new fave!).
Off the top of my head the stats for this hike were somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12 km return, 900 m gain total which took about 4 and a quarter hours. A great day out - this cap was the highlight of the day from a geocaching perspective. Thanks for posting this one!