Soft Snow Slog to Seize Sulphur Summit

Trip Start Feb 16, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I woke up this afternoon and the weather was clear: conditions were perfect for me to finally climb Sulphur Mountain! I rode my bicycle into town, over the Bow River Bridge and up the long steady climb up past the Rimrock Hotel and to the Upper Hot Springs just shy of the gondola terminal. I was a little puffed when I started because I'm still getting used to riding a bicycle and at 5:30pm I started the ascent from the carpark. The trail itself was primarily a series of switchbacks or zigzags up the mountain face and while steep in sections, no scrambling was required. It is one of the most popular difficult hikes from Banff so the trail is well used. After 30 minutes I reached the first underpass of the gondola and just 10 minutes later I paused to have a look at a frozen waterfall. Although that isn't the best description; there was a lot of snow covering the meltwater runoff so I could hear rushing water underneath it.

After an hour the trail had completely turned to slushy soft snow that was still melting and a bit tricky to walk on even though I had hiking boots. I criss-crossed the gondolas a few more times before finally coming out at the summit at 7pm. I was pretty happy because most guides say it should take 2 hours!

The last time I caught the gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain about a month ago and there was certainly a big difference since then. It was around 10 degrees warmer, calm and quite a bit of the snow had melted. In fact most of the boardwalks were clear compared to being up to a metre deep in some places previously. After enjoying the well earned views, I cheated and caught the gondola back down for free!

Facts about hiking Sulphur Mountain:

Summit Elevation: 2281m
Elevation Gain: 700m
Length: 5.5kms
Time Taken: 90 minutes
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Tom on

Just catching up on the blogs I missed when I was os.
That is a fairly steep old walk! Glad to see that you aren't gettin lazy over there :)

Tom on

Ha ha, just checked the date on that one, looks like I've missed a couple cos I was well and truly back by then :-0

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