-Peering down from the top of Yamnuska-
One of the first prominent mountains you’ll see on the north side of the highway when driving towards Canmore and Banff is this one. I’m happy to report the Yamnuska trail is in excellent condition, accessible from the 1A and 1X, and gnarly as ever.
The recent flooding has pretty much shut down K-country, so being one of the only trails which is open, Yamnuska was busy today. The parking lot was full by 9:15 a.m, and another 60 vehicles were lined up on the access road when we drove out at 3 pm.
This trail is not for the faint of heart, as you have to scramble in a few sketchy spots including pulling yourself along with the help of a chain on a very narrow ledge(See video) . There is a visible trail for most of the way; that is, if you can find it. If you don’t go with someone who knows the way, you’ll be guessing in a few spots.
The trip back down is a real treat for those of us with worn-out knees. About 300 metres of the descent is in thick, loose scree and a very pleasant change from the usual hard-packed trail.
Today’s other photos
Here’s Mary’s report of today’s Yamnuska hike:
After a week of being cooped up in a flooded Calgary, we discovered that Mt. Yamnuska was accessible, so we jumped at the chance to hike. The day was quite warm with little wind, perfect for a scramble on one of our favorite mountains. After negotiating a couple of wet spots on the trail, we found ourselves on the east shoulder overlook. The swollen Bow River was still brown with silt, but the surrounding landscape was very green from all the rain we had had this spring. Yam towered behind us like the unscaleable wall of a castle. Before long we had made our way to the ‘chimney’ that lead to the back side of the mountain. Nice and cool after our hot, sweaty climb! We made sure to stop at all the overlooks for those who were going up for the first time. The sheer drop off the front face of Yamnuska is always impressive, especially when you can hang your head over and feel the wind blowing up from the base hundreds of feet below. The chain section was fun, as always. Everyone got safely past, but there were quite a few people on Yam today and this section began to look like the ‘Hillary Step’. A short down climb and then a scramble brought us to the last plod to the summit. Ah, lunch, a rest, and good views all around. Continuing west, down the scree was fun, then we went around the corner and along the base of the Yamnuska cliffs to the top of the front-side scree. This was the best part of the whole trip: good, fast scree. After shaking out a few stones and taking a breather, the group moved quickly along the trail to the lightly wooded areas with a plethora of spring flowers in the sunny spots: wild roses, wood lilies, blue-eyed grass, sticky purple geranium….a splash of colour on a green background. To round out the sensory delights of the day, we snacked on watermelon at the car while we stretched our well-exercised muscles and talked about how wonderful the day had been.