This past weekend, Easter weekend, was gifted with beautiful weather! Blue skies with a periodic fluffy white cloud and spring temperatures was enough to tempt us to make our first summit of the season. Ha Ling, being frequented all year round by Canmore and Bow Valley locals, was thought to be our best bet for reaching the top!
Trail Name: Ha Ling Mountain
Trailhead: Above Goat Creek parking lot on Smith-Dorrien Highway, AB
Elevation Gain: ~800m
Time Required: ~3hr (2hr ascent in winter conditions, ~6km roundtrip)
Recommended Equipment: Hiking boots, rain pants, hiking poles, crampons
So our small group was off! Clad in hiking boots, light layers and rain pants (hiking poles and crampons would have helped too) we started the grind up the backside of the mountain. During summer months the expected ascent time is upwards of 1hr and 15min, however due to the slippery boot backed snow trail an extra 30-45min was expected. The weather was amazing and with no major setbacks we reached the summit after about 2hrs of hiking. We passed about a dozen other enthusiasts on the trail, as eager as us to catch some spring sunshine.
As the summit was extremely windy we only stayed long enough to snap a couple pictures and take in the views of Canmore and the Bow Valley below.
Good thing I packed a warm jacket, toque and mitts because it was very windy and cold at the top! The blasting cold wind made for frozen ears and fingers. ***Beauty Tip: A side braid is both functional in battling windblown hair and ensuring cute hair in photos***
A cautionary note to stay away from the cornice at the summit. You can never be too sure where the mountain stops and the snow starts and the stability of it all.
The best part was yet to come! All the slipping on the way up was well worth all the sliding on the way down. Mastering our boot skiing skills we were back at the parking lot in no time (~1hr).
What an awesome trail to get a head start on the scrambling season! Smiles all around, we headed in for a scrumptious mountain Easter feast.