This sequel documents the complete hike of ‘The Wedge’. About a month ago, my plan to hike ‘The Wedge’ was compromised when I used the morning to hike Hummingbird Plume Fire Lookout. This post will be presented as a photo essay in three parts.
The Ascent - Wedge Pond to the Scree Slope at the base of ‘The Wedge’.
I enter the efficient way, from near the parking area. A lot of deadfall has been placed over the trail to discourage its use. I climb over it. There is a lot of water running and major portions of trail at beginning cannot be used. I hike off trail around the obstructions. The forest is absolutely beautiful and very aromatic. Soon I gain elevation above the fast flowing creek as the trail exponentially steepens.
The trail, at the beginning, has become a creek with overflowing channels of fast running water.
There is a trail alternative to the left, just above where I discontinued my previous hike. I continue to the right on the more prominent trail.
Behind me, Mount Kidd is always prominent on the west side of Kananaskis Valley. Distance can be gauged by the size of Wedge Pond. Notice that Wedge Pond is very full and larger than a month previous. There is no beach around the edge.
Arrival at the Scree Slope below the base of ‘The Wedge’
As I approach the Wedge, I can see there are three scramblers, tiny specks, methodically making their way along the ridge to the summit. I am initially satisfied to relax and have lunch in a gentle breeze and intermittent sun at the scree base. As the scramblers above me approach the summit, I decide to leave my gear to do some shallow scrambling on the mountain. I am not properly equipped, so I limit myself to the easy component and a bit of moderate with a gain of about 50 m (165 ft). It feels good to have my hands on the rock. As I leave, my anonymous compatriots are carefully working their way back down the ridge. I take a 360 degree video and some photos from my lunch location before heading back down.
The long lens view directly below is across the north ridge of Mount Kidd where the abandoned fire lookout is located. Behind, on photo left, is the summit of Mount Allan. On photo right is the summit of Mount Collembola.
On my descent, the climbers are about half way down the ridge and I capture their position with a telephoto lens. Less than half way down the mountain, the three young men will pass me and I have the opportunity to congratulate them on their achievement. As they continue in front of me, at a more aggressive pace, I capture their image on a step below.
The Steep Descent from ‘The Wedge’ to Wedge Pond.
Partway down, there is a trail branch to the right. Hmmm! Is is possible this is the other end of the trail branch to the left which I encountered on the way up? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. On speculation, I take the less, if at all, travelled route and fight my way through overgrown forest and deadfall. After a brutal descent in the forest, I do indeed pop out onto the main trail again. Otherwise, I might still be out there, roaming with the bears. This alternative route is entirely in dense forest without views. There are a couple of interesting rock outcropping features along the way but I would recommend staying on the main trail.
Back at the lower trail, water flow is about the same and offtrail is required.
The fresh bear poop on the trail, which I encountered on the way in, is still there. It is the only evidence of bear activity I see all day. I always exercise bear aware practise when hiking in the forest and particularly when hiking solo. It is an unusual treat to enjoy a bear sighting.
The hike to the base of the Wedge from Wedge Pond is 3.9 KM (2.44 miles) with an elevation gain of 899 m (2,950 ft) to a maximum elevation of about 2,438 m (8,000 ft). There is minimal undulation in the trail which is relentlessly steep with occasional relief, so net and gross elevation gain on the way up is nearly the same. This is not a season opener and any hiker would benefit from some experience and a good pair of ankle high hiking boots. To go above the scree slope is a scramble requiring appropriate gear and skill set. It is not a first scramble.
For well equipped and experienced scramblers, the summit of the Wedge peaks at 1,100 m( 8,743 ft). An excellent reference would be the definitive guide for the area, Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies by Alan Kane. It is rated as a moderate scramble with a short difficult spot on the ridge. Anyone who does not know precisely what that means should not be on the rock, please.