Summit elevation: 8175 feet
Distance: 3800 feet of climbing over 10km
Duration: 2 hrs 40 up, 1 hr 40 down.
I’d planned to have a go at Big Sister on the way through Canmore but it turns out the trailhead is 15km down a grotty dirt road, which doesn’t work so well in a 3 ton RV. It would have been nice if that was mentioned in the guide book. So instead I switched objective to a sub-peak of Mount Lady MacDonald known locally as Squaw’s Tit. It doesn’t have an official name, but it’s unofficial name describes it pretty well. The rocky “nipple” caught my eye from Canmore and a bit of research made it sound pretty do-able in a morning. I was up about 6:15am, on my bike 10mins later, and at the trailhead by 7. The guide book warned that a bit of bushwhacking was necessary but I managed to string together a pretty good route by linking up a marked hiking trail, a dry river bed and an unmarked trail. Once I got above tree line there was the usual scree slog to negotiate, but then the terrain improved massively. You basically get to follow a ridgeline right the way to the summit. There’s enough spice to the scrambling to make it fun, but the exposed bits are easily bypassed if gets too much (which it didn’t). The ascent up the final summit nipple is awesome fun, just about sketchy enough that you’d want a rope if it was wet but in good conditions it’s just plain fun. Because I climbed on a weekday I didn’t see anyone else on the whole route and had the summit to myself. For a bit of fun while I ate breakfast on the summit, I got out a mirror and managed to signal to Krista who was eating breakfast at Tim Horton’s, down in the valley. I often wondered if a signal mirror would actually get you noticed if you were in trouble, and now I know it would.