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Windtower Scramble: A Steady Climb With Great Views

I hate to say it but the days of summer are counting down! So this weekend a bunch of us took advantage of the bluebird weather and set out on a light scramble up Windtower near Canmore, Alberta. It was also a chance for me to try out the ECCO Biom Akka Mid GTX boots!

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Trying out the ECCO Biom Akka Mid GTX Boots
Trying out the ECCO Biom Akka Mid GTX Boots

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Trail Name: Windtower

Trailhead: Head out of Canmore on the Smith-Dorrien Highway/Spray Lakes road.  Pass the Grassi Lakes day use area and Goat Creek Trail parking lot.  Continue driving on the gravel road for about 22km (4.5km past the Transcanada Dam) to Spurling Creek.  There is a small parking area on the right side of the road before the creek.  The trailhead is on the other side of the road to the left of the creek.

Elevation Gain: ~1,000m

Distance: 10km return

Time Required: 5-6hrs

Recommended Equipment: Hiking boots with good ankle support.  There are scree slopes on this hike where good boots will make life a lot easier and safer. As well, this time of year (Autumn) bears are in the stage of bulking up for the winter and are foraging for food.  It’s safer to hike in large groups of four or more and have bear spray on hand. Hopefully you don’t come across these guys!

The trail starts by following the creek up towards Windy Pass, steadily climbing for about an hour.  Once you reach the flat, grassy saddle of Windy Pass you turn right and follow a well-defined trail with cairn markers across some cliff bands.  Some scrambling will be required in this section.  Once you’ve gained all the bands you’ll be in the saddle between Windtower and Mount Lougheed.  From here it’s a steady ascent up the ridge to the summit.

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Hiking up towards Windy Pass. Windtower summit in the back.
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Windy Pass
Light scrambling over some cliff bands
Light scrambling over some cliff bands

Views are spectacular the whole way, just remember to stop and turn around to take in the Spray Lake Valley.  At the summit there are views of Canmore, the backside of the Three Sisters and the expansive stratigraphy of Mount Lougheed.  With the stone walled wind breakers, the summit is an excellent place to enjoy a scenic lunch.  Remember to sign the summit post!

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Windtower hike is a great hike in the Canmore area, hidden away from the crowds of the other more common scrambles.  It’s long and high enough to keep your legs burning, has spectacular views and it’s proximity to Canmore for après hike ice cream makes this scramble a must do!

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Après hike stretch
Après hike stretch

 

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