Ha Ling Peak rises prominently above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary.
Ha Ling Peak peaks out at 7,897 ft (2,407 m) and is conveniently located just south of Canmore on the east side of the Smith-Dorrien Trail across Whitemans Gap from the East End of Mount Rundle (EEOR).
Ample parking is available near Whiteman's Gap at the Goat Creek Day Use area across the road from the trail which ramps up the gravel road, crosses the small dam over the canal and proceeds past the brass plaque on the trail-head marker stone.
For many years this striking mountain was referred to as Chinaman's Peak in honor of a mining camp cook who was purportedly the first person to climb the mountain. The perceived derogatory name was changed although many older maps and references still refer to the original name and there is an interesting story behind the mountain's name change for those who choose to do the research.
Ha Ling Peak
The mountain called Squaw's Tit, above Canmore on the other side of the TransCanada Highway, seems to be hanging in there. Perhaps that easy-to-identify mountain could benefit from a new moniker as well. Conversely, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone National Park, seem to be appropriately and comfortably designated. The Tetons were named by early French explorers in fond memory of women at home while their adventurous men were away for extended periods of time.
The start from Calgary begins with the early drive west on the TransCanada Hwy to the exit through the town of Canmore, then south onto the Smith-Dorrien Trail, and up the steep hill past the entrance to the world-class Canmore Nordic Centre.
Continuing past the marked entrance which leads to the short, easy, but spectacular Grassi Lakes hiking trails, the Smith-Dorrien Trail continues past the crest at Whitemans Gap to parking at Goat Creek on the west side of the Smith-Dorrien.
The hike begins across the road on good trail which consistently gains elevation on switchbacks. The upper elevations become increasingly snowbound as the hike continues to the summit for lunch in the sun with incredible views of Mount Lawrence Grassi to the south-east and Mount Rundle to the north-west.
The sheer face of Ha Ling Peak looks across the Bow Valley, over the town of Canmore, to sweeping views of Grotto Mountain and Mount Lady Macdonald in the Fairholme Range. The scenery is spectacular. The traverse onto Mount Lawrence Grassi appears to be easily achieved but a short walk on the summit ridge to Miners Peak and confirms the traverse is a challenging scramble route and the tantalizing adjacent summit would best be achieved from an alternate route.
Ha Ling Peak is an excellent early season hike, best done in late spring or summer when snow is minimal or gone. The ascent is a fairly stiff and sustained ascent of about 770 m (2,526 feet) over 2.7 KM (1⅝ mile) one way.