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Mount Kidd Lookout
Kananaskis, Alberta
January 22, 2011

Distance: 6.2 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 700 m

Given the high risk of avalanches in the backcountry – according to one report, the highest in 30 years – I wanted to steer clear of open slopes. And Kananaskis Lookout looked promising for that reason. Starting from Kananaskis Village, we could snowshoe up the northeast ridge and not only avoid avalanche slopes but any sizable open terrain.

Joining me on this trip was Grant. A strong hiker, Grant led the way. He broke trail most of the way while I struggled in his tracks. Snowshoeing wasn't easy. At first, we encountered bushes that tried mightily to snarl-up our snowshoes, and Grant, who regretted not bringing poles, often tripped. Higher up the slope, we had to squeeze through dense spruce trees. But bushwhacking wasn't the worst of our problems. The soft snow hindered our every step. When we weren't slipping, we were staggering more than knee-deep in unsupportive snow.

Nearly three hours after starting out, we emerged onto an open crest only dozens of metres from the lookout. All that remained of it were cement foundations. Beyond the lookout, the ridge – grass-covered and mostly bare of snow – extended nearly a kilometre before hitting a cliff face on Mount Kidd. We ditched our snowshoes and hiked to a high point at the far end of the ridge.

On the way back to the lookout, we studied the open east slopes. They held surprisingly little snow. Forget avalanche danger; there wasn't even enough snow for snowshoeing. We considered starting down those open slopes but decided it would be quicker to retrace our steps.

KML and GPX Tracks

Mount Kidd from the highway. The ridge bearing the lookout lies in front.

Grant pauses to view the scenery across the valley

Breaking trail in the trees

Traversing one of a few small clearings we came across

Coming to the lookout

Grant joins me at the lookout

Remains of the lookout. Mount Kidd in the background.

Hiking along the ridge (Grant is on the bottom right)

Patterns in the snow

There was surprisingly little snow here

Mount Fisher

Looking back from our turn-around point

Back at the base of the mountain, we waited for traffic to clear on the ski trail

82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

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