Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor – Hiking Alberta

 

Mount Allan is a prominent Kananaskis peak accessible from Ribbon Creek or Dead Man's Flats.

 

 

Hike specifications for the north route are: 

  • Time:  4 hours up: 3 1/2 hours down to trail-head
  • Distance hiked:  34 KM (17 km in, 17 km out)
  • Maximum elevation:  2,819 m (9,249 ft)
  • Gross elevation gain:  1,646 m (5,400 ft)

 

From Dead Man's Flats, Mount Allan is past the full length of Pigeon Mountain and wedged between slightly lower Mount Collembola and massive 10,191 ft Mount Lougheed.

Early arrival at the trail-head finds a middle-aged couple from Colorado in need of assistance.  They have been counselled to hike the north route of Mount Allan but after several qualifying questions about their preferences combined with discreet examination of their footwear, detailed instructions are provided for the summit of Pigeon Mountain.

The hike then begins to the summit of 2,819 m (9,289 ft) Mount Allan via the north route from Dead Man's Flats.

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Looking across at Pigeon Mountain from the Mount Allan, North Route access trail

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Crossing a meadow with the Mount Allan Summit clearly visible in the distance

 

This is a reconnaissance mission for a potential hike early in August to traverse Mount Allan. 

The south access from Ribbon Creek to the summit of Mount Allan has been hiked recently.  This hike is quality assurance for the other two thirds.

Today's hike to the summit on the north route from Dead Man's Flats with return the same way and has not been personally done previously.  Forest access is long but the intoxicating aroma is overwhelming and vistas begin to open up as elevation is gradually gained.

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Gaining elevation onto Centennial Ridge with a view to Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Beautiful flowers on Centennial Ridge

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada It is a veritable garden of wildflowers on Centennial Ridge

 

Following two hours of hiking through forest and past a spectacular meadow, ten short, tight switch-backs through dense forest gain access to Centennial Ridge above the tree line and the long haul to the summit begins.  Easy scrambles are required but only one 15 footer appears intimidating.  Multiple steps and firm hand holds make the easy scramble much easier than it initially appears. 

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada A view into the valley between Centennial Ridge on Mount Allan and Mount Collembola

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Final approach from the top of a scramble step on Centennial Ridge of Mount Allan

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada The survey marker at the summit of Mount Allan - spectacular views!

 

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada View of Canmore, Alberta, Canada from the summit of Mount Allan

 

Scenic views along the lengthy ridge are inspiring and increase in intensity as elevation is gained gradually on gravel-like easily navigable scree.  Features ahead which seem like insurmountable rock obstacles in the distance are easily circumvented on good path.

The summit is achieved in early afternoon at a leisurely pace with allowance for several rest breaks and time for over a hundred photographs.  Voracious chipmunks are determined to remove food from the unattended backpack at the summit while photography is underway.  We get along a bit better during lunch.

 

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Mount Collembola with Kananaskis Valley behind

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Mighty Mount Lougheed from Centennial Ridge.

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada 

Mount Allan Memorial sites honoring those who have climbed before us.

 

Mount Allan, North Route – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Minor cloud building above Canmore - a perfect day on top of Centennial Ridge

 

 

The return hike is via the same route used for access and it appears this hike across Mount Allan via the Centennial Trail is within the scope of reasonable endeavor. 

Centennial Trail is closed annually between April 1 and June 21 inclusive.

Under the best of circumstances the hike over Mount Allan will be a very long and arduous day but the long haul across Centennial Ridge will be a phenomenal experience at higher altitude for an extended time.  The unfolding views are spectacular and relentless.

 

 

 

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Comments

The Centennial Ridge on Mount Allan is an amazing experience like any ridge hike which maintains hiking at higher altitude for extended time. The views are phenomenal and enduring. It is a long, two car day and I hope you have the opportunity to revisit the hike. I would like to do it again beginning at Ribbon Creek and ending at Deadmans Flat. In the opposite direction, it would be a whole new experience. My spring is shaping up nicely. Thanks for asking and for your comment, D.

Reading your post over again recently a few times Barry as I am pondering the traverse for later this season. There are some friends who would enjoy this long but adventurous day up there. Hope your early spring is unfolding very well.

Mount Allan is one of my favourites as well. Hiking across the Centennial Ridge of Mount Allan, wedged between massive Mount Lougheed and Mount Collembola allows hiking a long distance at high altitude with incredible long views. Of particular mention are the spectacular vistas over and across the Kananaskis Valley and the Ribbon Creek area. You are quite correct about the variety and colour of the plant life. The Rock and Mushroom Gardens are unique and impressive features. It is a great hike but a long day to do the entire traverse. I would not recommend the hike as a season opener and it can be a windy experience with few places to hide on the ridge. There is some easy scrambling with options for more aggressive if the mood hits and the experience level is established. Thank you for your comment.

Mt Allan is one of my favorites. Great images you have here Barry. Some of the rock and lichen up there is so very unique.

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