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South End of Livingstone
Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
September 1, 2019

Taking a page out of Hiking the Historic Crowsnest Pass (long since out of print), we climbed the South End of Livingstone Range a second time. When Dinah and I did it back in 2003, I wasn't meticulous about taking photos or notes, and this was a good time to breathe new life into an old web page. With thunderstorms threatening mountains west, we headed south to find surprisingly pleasant weather. Moreover, the long ridgewalk was more scenic than we remembered.

For the trailhead, drive down Hwy. 3 and turn onto the access road for Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. At the fork (right for the Centre) continue straight on a gravel road for 1.6 km to another fork. Keep left and drive 100 m to park at the bottom of a broad cutline.

Dinah and I, along with six others, hiked up the cutline road. At the bottom of a slope, we continued up the cutline to the saddle. This section turned out to be atrocious. Steep and covered with loose rock and dirt, we often slipped.

From the saddle, we turned north and started up the ridge. Soon we were picking out features. As far as I could determine from the muddled description in the guidebook, the reddish wall of rock on our left was “Dragon's Back.” Ahead, a black fin of rock ran across the ridge to create a barrier, although a big notch presented an obvious gateway. Beyond that, the ridge rose to a gray point of rock, our summit.

After going through the notch, we regained the ridge to find it narrowed. It was slightly exposed, although the traverse is eased by dropping below the crest on the right side. However, two people decided to turn back here.

All was easy after the narrow section, although the ridge loses 90 m of elevation before climbing to the summit. We spent 45 minutes on top enjoying the scenery before heading down. Our descent route differed slightly as we took advantage of features hidden from view on the ascent: a sheep track that bypasses the narrow ridge, and a concealed notch on the black ridge. We also took a road down from the saddle instead of the miserable cutline.

While the others returned to our cars, Jonathan and I took a side trip to view a ventilation fan house, a sober reminder of the mining industry that once dominated Crowsnest Pass a long time ago.

KML and GPX Tracks


Starting up the road to the saddle ahead


These distinctive wildflowers lined the road


Ahead is a steep hike to the saddle


Looking back from near the saddle. Left is Turtle Mountain.


Starting up the ridge


Our objective (centre) is half hidden in cloud


Dragon's Back is on the left. The black ridge is right.


Looking back at Dragon's Back


Dropping down from a bump after Dragon's Back

Heading to the black ridge


The big notch (right) is an obvious break, but the hidden notch (arrow) isn't apparent from this side


Continuing along the ridge after passing through the big notch


The ridge narrows although it's possible to drop down a bit on the right and follow a faint sheep track


Continuing along the ridge we could see the summit was still obscured


The summit is at last free of clouds

The final climb to the summit


Looking back at the black ridge and Dragon's Back


In the foreground are Tallon and Robertson Peaks


Jonathan waits on the summit


From Dragon's Back, Dinah zoomed in and took this shot of us on the summit


Jonathan, Zora, Goulfia, Alina, Michael and me


Memorial a few feet from the summit cairn


Centre Peak and Cauldron Peak


On our return, we took this trail back instead of following the ridge


We avoided the narrow ridge by following a sheep track below it


The track ends abruptly and we hiked up the slope to the black ridge


Going over the hidden notch instead of through the big notch is much shorter


Heading back to Dragon's Back


Instead of following the cutline from the saddle, we came down the road and found it easier although slightly longer


Jonathan stands next to the ventilation fan house (mouse over to see inside)


82 G/9 Blairmore

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