BCP736 - Cascade Mountain
Posted: N 51 13.733 W 115 33.773
Mine: N 51 13.733 W 115 33.775
Well, one of the best days of my life today. While on the summit of Cascade Mountain I asked GeoJamie22 if she would marry me, and SHE SAID YES!!
I've actually had this planned in my mind for almost a year now. I knew Cascade Mountain was (and now really is!) her favourite mountain, so I knew that's where I wanted to do it. I got the ring about a month ago but poor weather and a busy schedule kept us away - until today.
I nonchalantly told GeoJamie22 yesterday that the weather for today was supposed to be nice so I asked her what she wanted to do. "What are you thinking of?" she asked. I said, "I dunno, climbing, hiking, you choose." She proudly asked, "Well what about Cascade Mountain? It's my favourite mountain!" Heh, perfect. Little did she know that in the back of my mind we were going there anyway, but it's even better that she suggested it. She had no idea what was going to happen...
So we packed up and left Calgary at about 6:30, hitting up Timmies on the way. We got to the Norquay parking lot at about 8:00. There was a huge cloud looming over Cascade but I figured it'd burn off. We hiked down past several lifts at Norquay (I'm a very avid skier but believe it or not I've never skied at Norquay) and ended up on the trail to the Cascade Amphitheatre.
The trail zig-zagged its way up the slope, with many switchbacks providing a consistent grade. The berry bushes were packed with berries and signs of recent bear scat had us on alert. We were noisy and thankfully didn't see any bears all day.
We angled off at the earliest point to head up the ridge to avoid the trek into the Amphitheatre. We climbed higher and the views just got better and better. Damn I love the scenery in Banff NP. We hiked up above treeline and the terrain soon turned into a large boulder field. The boulders were mostly stable, so that was nice. Several large cairns led us around an outlier and we continued on.
The false summit and the true summit reared their beautiful heads at the turn. I knew we'd be bypassing the false summit to the right, so we continued onward and upward and enjoyed some easy-moderate scrambling. At the bypass around the false summit came the closest thing to the crux of the day, which was a little slabby band. We scrambled over it nimbly and continued on.
At this point, just below the false summit, is the area where there must not be any snow. There's a drop down into the abyss on the right that would be risky with any lingering snow. It was bone dry for us - which of course we knew looking up from Hwy 1. We scrambled around the false summit on easy terrain and had a 250 m gain scree plod ahead of us to the summit. The clouds were disappearing and the two groups atop the summit were just getting ready to leave - perfect.
I summited and quickly found a spot and got things ready. GeoJamie22 was just about a minute behind me. We had the summit to ourselves under the Sun. That's where I did the deed and, lucky me, she said yes! We took the next little while snapping some photos with my tripod. About 10-15 minutes after we summited, several other groups arrived. At this point we munched on our lunch and I went looking around for the survey marker. I found it embedded in the rock right at the very summit of the peak pretty close to my GZ. Wow, one of the best views from a survey marker I've ever seen!
We started getting chilly on the summit so that's when we decided to start the long trip home. Things went smoothly and we just retraced our steps all the way back to the car. We saw and passed at least 20 groups.
After dinner and some exciting phone calls on the drive home, here I am. I'm exhausted. It was a long hike today - we covered 19 kilometers with 1,400-1,500 meters of gain over 8 hours. Happy, excited and tired!
Thanks OFTH for giving me the opportunity to share my story!