Dec 31, 2019 Happy New Year to all my readers!
There are some nice comments on the trip reports today. I enjoyed reading about RichieRich helping the two new skiers at West Bragg. Also Martin and Jip politely explaining to the hikers that they would get more enjoyment on a well-packed trail.
At the trailhead, as I started up Hidden, I noticed the fine print on the map for multi-users. Regarding shared trails it says “Avoid walking on the groomed surface if soft.”
If you missed JVL’s comment regarding the problem of non-skiers damaging the ski trails, the Barrier Lake Visitor Centre said to send comments to Feedback.AlbertaParks.ca
You’ve already seen the Skogan Pass trip reports from Carole and Ian/Darlene but I’ll add my impressions and throw in a few photos.
These trails are steep. It says something about the trail when everyone descending is wearing warm clothes and hats but I’m in my shirt sleeves as I’m climbing.
I started at Ribbon Creek and accessed Lower Skogan from Hidden and the Connector. The temperature at Ribbon Creek at 1:15 pm was +1°C and the snow was -2. I used VR50(0/-4) with reasonable success. VR 55 would have worked better but I was concerned about it attracting the tree debris on Lower Skogan.
There’s plenty of snow on Hidden, the Connector, and Lower Skogan but as Ian and Darlene mentioned, the tracks may be a bit glazed tomorrow. A couple weather forecasts are predicting 1 cm of snow overnight which would help immensely, but it’s warm again tomorrow.
The tree debris thins out as you climb the Screamer and at the top of the Screamer(3.2K total distance to here) it’s clean. It’s nice to ski the Screamer without having to worry about rocks.
I met Julie and Dave at the top of the Screamer. Between the Screamer and the Marmot junction is a 400 metre stretch of trail which is level. It’s your only significant respite from constant climbing. That’s where I ran into Randy and had a nice chat.
The next stretch of trail is 1.7K to the Sunburst junction. Oliver and Beki screeched to a halt and I took their picture.
At the junction I chose to go up Sunburst to Hummingbird Plume. If memory serves me, I believe this is the trail where Ian and Darlene whizzed past, too fast for me to even get my camera out.
At the end of Sunburst I’m not sure what the final .5K trail to Hummingbird Plume is known as. Perhaps the Hummingbird Plume access trail? Anyway, as I was nearing the top, Andy came skiing along, ready for the quick descent with his warm clothes on.
The trail ends in a hilltop meadow with a picnic table and a wooden gazebo which was, in the 1940’s, a lookout. Trees have grown up around it so there’s no view unless you walk over to the edge of the eastern escarpment to see the Kananaskis valley.
I returned via High Level which adds exactly 1K to the total trip. The distance to Hummingbird Plume was 6.8K with a net elevation gain of 420 metres. Total distance 13.6K.
When I drove in at 1:15 pm, I got the last spot in the parking lot. Vehicles started lining up on the road thereafter.