Skogan pass summit

by Bob Truman on November 24, 2013

in Kananaskis, Skogan pass

Post image for Skogan pass summit

What an amazing and demanding ski trail. What a spectacular day. I had to do it to prove to myself after a summer of lethargy that I still had it in me. Thanks to David Bynoe for yesterday’s trip report. It encouraged me to go.

Skiers climbing Skogan pass at the 4K mark with Mt Collembola in the distance

Skiers climbing Skogan pass at the 4K mark with Mt Collembola in the distance

If it doesn’t wear you out going up, it might give you leg and foot cramps coming down because of the steady all-out snowplowing on the long, unending downhills. This trail gives me a real sense of accomplishment every time I arrive back at the parking lot with all limbs intact and still able to move.

As promised, we made the draw for the Fischer skis today while on the trail. I met Christine and Elizabeth from the Ramblers about 1K from the top and Christine picked the lucky winner. I’m waiting for a confirmation email before announcing the name.

Ribbon creek parking lot was a busy place on this beautiful day

Ribbon creek parking lot was a busy place on this beautiful day

This is the earliest ever to ski on good tracks to the Skogan pass summit. It may not be the easiest trail to tackle early in the winter with a net elevation gain of 620 metres and a round-trip distance of 21K. I didn’t do the loop today, but for future reference, that’s probably where you get the best views.

This was the busiest I’ve ever seen Skogan pass. I would estimate I encountered at least 50 other skiers today.

Julianne and mom Josie were enjoying the day on Lower Skogan pass trail

Julianne and mom Josie were enjoying the day on Lower Skogan pass trail

Although you see the photo of little Julianne on the trail, I have to warn that Skogan pass is not a suitable trail for beginner skiers. Lower Skogan pass, the first 2K from Ribbon creek parking lot is not too difficult, but it gets very steep after that. At 2K you reach the “Screamer” portion of the trail. You may have already guessed the screamer is very steep. It continues on to 3.1K where it meets Marmot junction.

The summit. Glen, Kasper and Janna arrived about the same time as I did.

The summit. Glen, Kasper and Janna arrived about the same time as I did.

As you near the top of the screamer, there’s a 20-metre section of trail (it paralells the Nakiska service road) where I removed my skis on the descent because of rocks and dirt(see photos). I was surprised to see the skiers ahead of me had snowplowed right over the rocks. It’s unsafe, and it will put a big gouge in your skis. That’s about the only place where I would say conditions were sketchy, and I was expecting it, because it’s always like that in early season. There was a bit of ice and the occasional thin spot on Lower Skogan, but nothing to cause a problem if you were careful.

Elizabeth and Christine from the Rocky Mountain Ramblers. Christine made the draw for the Fischer skis contest.

Elizabeth and Christine from the Rocky Mountain Ramblers. Christine made the draw for the Fischer skis contest.

Air temperature was -1°C at the Ribbon creek parking lot, but the snow was still cold enough at -4°C to give good grip with  VR45. About 6K up on a sun-exposed section of north-south trail, the snow was actually wet for a 200-metre stretch, but that was the only place. With the steep trail, the sun was hitting it at an angle that warmed it up considerably.

The snow temperature at the summit was -8°C.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andy November 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Is it possible to skate ski this trail?

We are always looking for skate ski alternatives to the nordic centre, so please post any recommendations.

Thanks in advance!

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2 Megan November 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Andy – yes! I usually do it on skate skis. Apart from CNC, the other usual suspects for us are Mt Shark, Cascade Fire Trail, Moraine Lake Road. I’m always on the lookout for other ideas too though.

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3 Megan November 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Having said that the current track setting doesn’t work for skating. I thought it has been wider in the past?

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4 Steve Riggs November 25, 2013 at 6:44 am

So that’s who left the bike tracks that we noticed on Sunday!
Before anyone gets worked up over bikers on Skogan Pass, note that with the firm grooming, the tires made far less of an imprint than that of the dreaded snowshoer. 🙂 .
Skogan was busier than usual on Sunday, must have been a result of David’s glowing report. We skied Skogan Loop and were thinking about how much the trees have grown in the cut blocks, obscuring some of the great views, and blocking the low-angled November sun. For comparison, here is a photo taken in the vicinity of the picnic table on the afternoon of December 7, 2003-
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2xOnwOjwT0YUW6CrhOTJi9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink
It’s still a great spot to stop for a cuppa’, though.

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5 Megan November 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm

After reading about it here, we headed up on Saturday too. Thanks for the information/inspiration Bob, we’d usually wait til later in the season, but we all had a wonderful day!

Our report here – you’ll even see photos of the dreaded beast who left those bike tracks: http://evilmoose.me/?p=4201

I notice your elevation was 766 metres. That must be accumulated? My net was 620m. -Bob

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6 Megan November 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Bob – yes, that’s cumulative, as measured by my Garmin 305 Forerunner watch. It’s usually pretty accurate.

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7 David Bynoe November 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Hi Bob,
Glad you had a good time. I will confirm that the the views definitely improve on the Skogan loop, but its a bunch more climbing, nothing overly steep, but steadily up.

Here is a shot from the picnic table which sits at the top of an old cutblock:
http://i.imgur.com/lz4K0Qb.jpg

That’s Mount Lorette on the left, you can see clear around past Mount McDougal and Fisher Peak, all the way to the Wedge on the far right. Not a bad spot for a cup of tea.

I only carried on until I hit the big hill about a half click further up the trail and decided it was too early in the season, and I was going to have enough difficulty walking the next day as it was.

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