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Olympic Summit
Kananaskis, Alberta
July 3, 2021

Distance: 10.8 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1025 m

Rising 1000 m above Ribbon Creek parking lot, Olympic Summit is no nature walk and offers views in all directions. It uses Centennial Ridge trail, a trail that reaches its zenith on Mount Alan west of it. Olympic Summit may be just a bump on Alan’s east ridge, but it’s still a worthy goal.

Dinah and I set off up the trail as it ascends the east ridge. Following signs, we easily stuck to the trail. It winds through the forest and crosses old mining roads before reaching a meadow. Most of the hike, in fact, is in the open.

But above the trees, we were assailed by flies, sometimes over a dozen would be on each of us. The little bloodsuckers had a bite worse than mosquitos, and we were bitten several times. After the trip, I discovered several had made their way under my shirt where they died, their miserable lives ended.

The trail continues up the ridge switchbacking until the summit ridge comes into view. After climbing a short, steep pitch through cliffs, the trail relaxes on an easy grade, although a couple of false summits stretch out the final jaunt to the true summit. Arthritis in her knees had set Dinah back this season, otherwise we would have continued to Mount Alan 2.5 km farther and 300 m higher. But after receiving hyaluronic acid injections, she's doing better and is poised for bigger climbs. Perhaps we'll come back to climb Mount Alan (for the third time), but Olympic Summit itself is a satisfying hike.

KML and GPX Tracks

Starting up the broad trail

Centennial Ridge trail turns onto a narrower trail

The trail is closed April 1 - June 21 for the protection of bighorn sheep during sensitive birthing period

The trail begins a long ascent up a meadow

Clark's nutcracker

Wasootch Peak rises above Dinah

Wildflowers like this yellow columbine abounded

The summit is still not in sight

Haze obscured the mountain views

The summit ridge appears on the left

A hiker appears far above us

The switchbacks finally end

Looking back at where the previous shot was taken

The trail climbs a short, steep slope through the cliffs

Ahead is the first false summit

In the centre is another false summit

Marmots roamed the ridge

The trail continues to Mount Allan

The true summit

Standing by the summit cairn

82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

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