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View above the pass

Three Sisters Pass
Kananaskis, Alberta
July 14, 2012

Distance: 4.4 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 820 m

Summertime and Dinah and I wanted to do more than just a hike, but Saturday morning found Dinah tired, dragged down by a sore throat. A short hike was all we could plan for. So we jumped into our car and drove to the trailhead for Three Sisters Pass.

The trail took us through some surprising scenery along a creekbed and above a rocky canyon. We reached the pass in under two hours. Maybe the mountain air invigorated Dinah, or maybe the scenery piqued her curiosity, but after climbing 600 m to the pass, Dinah yearned to do and see more. I was caught off guard, but we looked around to see what we could do. On our right, the impossible cliffs of Big Sister loomed above us, while left, although rife with cliff bands, Lawrence Grassi 5 appeared tamer.

We started up. The cliff bands, it turns out, were short and hid wide ledges, unseen from below (on our descent we learned that keeping south avoids most of the cliff bands). We pushed up the slope easily until we reached a shoulder that led to an upthrusting rocky point. Intimidated by the steep rock, Dinah waited on the shoulder while I checked it out. It turned out to be a non-issue for around the corner I found an easy chute to scrabble up. I reached another shoulder. It too ended with steep rock, but it was steep and exposed so that Lawrence Grassi 5 lay out of reach for me. I took a panorama before rejoining Dinah.

Three Sisters Pass in itself is a pleasant and worthwhile destination, but extending it to include the South End of Lawrence Grassi with its routefinding, scrambling and far-ranging views, adds spice. Together, I should think the pass and the high point make a good trip for mixed abilities: you can leave your hiking buddies lollygagging on the pass and impress them by climbing high above them.

KML and GPX Tracks

Starting up the drainage

Hiking on the trail alongside the creekbed

Recent heavy rain had apparently created a torrent of water, bringing down trees

A trail avoids the waterfalls, bypassing high on the right bank

Passing a dramatic drainage on our right

Lots of varied scenery along the way

Looking back just before we enter the trees

Once out of the trees it's only few dozen metres to the pass

Looking north: this viewpoint (mouse over) can be easily reached but we had higher ambitions

Big Sister fills the background

Heading to the high point in the centre

Little and Middle Sisters

Easy ledges break up short cliff bands

Dinah looks for a way up the next cliff band

Pondering her next move

This was about as tricky as it got

Dinah calls it quits here

I started up

It turns out to be an easy-moderate scramble

Dinah's last view of me before I climbed out of sight (mouse over for a close-up)

Looking down at Dinah

Back at the pass, looking at the South End of Lawrence Grassi

Coming down the trail

82 O/3 Canmore

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