A couple weekends ago my crazy boyfriend and I completed what was probably the most gruelling physical thing I have ever done. We hiked what is known in Canmore as the Triple Crown! This challenge consisted of summiting three mountains in one day; Mount Lady MacDonald, East End of Rundle and Ha Ling Peak. When all was said and done we had hiked a total distance of 25km and about 2700m of elevation! All of these mountains usually are considered as day trips on their own! Not to mention we did all of this on the hottest day of the year, battling 30 degree temperatures.
Now someone might ask, what in the world motivated us to do something like this!! Well besides wanting a challenge, there is a good cause behind it. The Georgetown Inn in Canmore is partnered with the Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Centre, a “Not for Profit Society whose aim is to provide any individual with a disability the chance to access all sport and recreational activities in the Canadian Rockies.” For those that complete the Triple Crown within three days and make a donation will receive a beer mug that gets you discounts on refills at The Georgetown, a Triple Crown shirt and the glory forever. There is also a pledge form that you can pick up ahead of time so that all your pain and determination can make an even bigger impact on the community.
To make sure we had enough day light and to try to beat the 30 degree heat, we starting hiking Lady MacDonald at 5am. The sky behind the mountains was just starting to light up as we hit the trail. The cooler temperatures and a fresh night’s sleep allowed us to summit the 1200m elevation gain in 2.5 hours. We quickly took a couple pics and made our way back down by 10am.
After a quick drive across the valley (to the Goat Creek Trail parking lot along Smith Dorrien Trail), we refilled our hydration packs, had some snacks, chugged some electrolytes and set off on East End of Rundle by 11am with a few friends joining us this time. This time the heat of the day really beat down on us as we steadily climbed almost 900m, this one taking us 3 hours with breaks. Going down we realized that in hiking, the going up is hard but the going down is painful. Taking our time, trying to preserve our knees we made it back down in 2 hours, and beelined it straight for the water for one of the most refreshing dips I have ever experienced. It felt GLORIOUS!
Now moving pretty slow, and not wanting to stop for long in fear of never being able to start again, we again quickly refilled our hydration packs, chugged electrolytes and had a few snacks. We started off on Ha Ling with a couple other of motivating friends at 5pm, just as the majority of the day’s rush was coming off the mountain. Things were slow moving, just as long as I kept putting one foot in front of the other I knew I would make it. We took 2 hours to summit all 800m. I have done Ha Ling probably close to a dozen times and I never remembered it being that steep! Upon reaching the summit, I was only temporarily filled with joy, as I soon remembered I still had to come down, which was the far more painful part. Needless to say, we made it off the mountain shortly after 8pm, and that’s when it hit us, TRIPLE CROWN CONQUERED!
We only carried what we needed for each hike, but had a good supply of food, water and electrolytes in the car. One thing I would recommend (if I were to do it again, which is highly unlikely because once was enough!) is bring a fresh pair of hiking socks for each hike. Your feet get SWEATY, fresh socks help prevent blisters on sweaty feet.
What To Pack to Survive The Triple Crown
- 2 litre of water for each hike – HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!!!!
- 1 litre of electrolytes between each hike – STAY HYDRATED, CAN’T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH!
- Snacks (3 Clif bars, 2 turkey and cheese sandwich buns, trial mix, fruit)
- First aid kit
- Hiking poles
- High ankle support hiking boots – good ankle support is key for these hikes not only because they are pretty steep and have scree covered summits, but your ankles will appreciate the support if your forcing them up and down three summits in one day. I practically broke in my new ECCO Biom Hiking boots on this challenge and was SO IMPRESSED with their performance. Apart from a few blisters on the tops of my toes from all the downhill, these boots protected my ankles, and were comfy for all the 14 hours of hiking.
Thanks to some key planning and some of the best friends a crazy hiker could ask for, we successfully hiked three mountains in 15.5 hours (14 hours of hiking) and claimed our prizes at the Georgetown Inn. The Triple Crown; a challenge worth accepting.