The Wedge Two - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Hiking the trail from Wedge Pond to ridge top on the Wedge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

This sequel documents the complete hike of 'The Wedge' separated into three phases.  About a month ago, the plan to hike 'The Wedge' was compromised by the unplanned morning hike to Hummingbird Plume Fire Lookout.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Fortress reflecting in early morning light over Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 


First Phase  -  Wedge Pond to the Scree Slope at the base of 'The Wedge'.


 


 

Entry is achieved the efficient way from near the parking area.  A lot of dead fall has been placed over the trail to discourage its use.  There is a lot of water running and major portions of trail at the beginning cannot be used so hiking off trail around the obstructions is frequently required.  The forest is absolutely beautiful and very aromatic.  Soon elevation is gained above the fast flowing creek as the trail exponentially steepens.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Looking up at the Wedge across from the very full Wedge Pond.  The Wedge is higher than the bluff at photo right.  The Wedge is much farther away which creates this optical illusion where the bluff appears higher.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge at photo left is higher and farther away than its bluff on photo right which is much lower and closer to Wedge Pond.

 

 

The trail, at the beginning, has become a creek with overflowing channels of fast running water.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

There is a trail alternative to the left, just above where the previous hike ended.  This hike continues to the right on the more prominent trail.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

 


Middle Phase: Arrival at the Scree Slope below the base of 'The Wedge'


 

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Approaching the Wedge, there are three scramblers, tiny specks, methodically making their way along the ridge to the summit.  It is satisfying to relax and enjoy lunch in intermittent sun moderated by a gentle breeze at the scree base.  As the scramblers above approach the summit, a short hike along the ridge to the base of the peak allows some shallow scrambling on the mountain.  I am not properly equipped, so activity is limited to easy components with a bit of moderate for a gain of about 50 m (165 ft).  It feels good to have hands on the rock.  As I leave, my anonymous compatriots are carefully working their way back down the ridge.  A 360 degree video is taken plus photos from my lunch location before heading back down.

 


Click here to enjoy this video from near the top of the Wedge.


 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada From the top it is clear the south-west ridge of the Wedge is at much lower elevation.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The long lens view directly below is across the north ridge of Mount Kidd where the old fire lookout foundations are located on the north ridge.  Behind, on photo left, is the summit of Mount Allan.  On photo right is the summit of Mount Collembola.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

On descent, the climbers are about half way down the ridge.  Less than half way down the mountain, the three young men pass and there is an opportunity to congratulate them on their achievement.  As they continue ahead at a more aggressive pace, an image is captured on a step below.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 


Final Phase:  The Steep Descent from 'The Wedge' to Wedge Pond.


 

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Partway down, there is a trail branch to the right.  Hmmm!  Is it possible this is the other end of the trail branch to the left encountered on the way up?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  On speculation, the less, if at all, traveled route is taken. The alternative branch is far more rustic and requires fighting through overgrown forest and dead fall.  After a brutal descent through dense forest, the alternative branch pops out onto the main trail again.  This alternative route is entirely in dense forest without views.  There are a couple of interesting rock outcropping features along the way but the recommendation is for staying on the main trail.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Back at the lower trail, water flow is about the same and off trail is required.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The fresh bear poop on the trail, encountered on the way in, is still there.  It is the only evidence of bear activity seen all day.  Exercising bear awareness practice when hiking in the forest is important, particularly when hiking solo.  It is an unusual treat to enjoy a bear sighting.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The hike to the base of the Wedge from Wedge Pond is 3.9 KM (2½ 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 are 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.  The Wedge scramble is rated as a moderate scramble with a short difficult spot on the ridge.  Anyone who does not know precisely what that means may be wise to avoid the scramble.

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you for your comment, D. The views are outstanding. It is a steep and relentless climb on a wide variety of terrain. An excellent aerobic day hike.

Great post Barry! It follows nicely from your last Wedge post. I have yet to head up that peak but from your pictures the day would be well worth it. D

Hello Barry. Just came back from The Wedge and the trail was Wow! Full of wildflowers of different kinds and the variety was so much that I had not seen anywhere else! I went up only to probably the same spot you explained in your post. Took me a little less than 2 hours to reach there and then tried to find the rest of the trail to the summit after a short break and continued the hike for another half an hour but was not successful. I had a helmet but no rope or anything else and considered to be unwise to just hang on to the rocks and go up. There was not a single soul the entire time I was on the mountain, from the parking lot and all the way back. I thought any serious injury could make me not be able to go back but the main reason was not finding the path. Any idea as how I should go up after the trees are finished and I reach the scrambling part. I would like to try that before the cold season starts. Thanks.

The route is straight up the ridge top with a turn right to scramble the mountain.  Moderate scramble with a short difficult section near summit.  Description in Kane's 'Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies'.  Good with the helmet.  Best done with two or three partners, a trip plan and notification of route plus completion to a third party.  A bunch of experience with easy scrambles would be a sensible prerequisite.  Stay safe.  Congrats on your Wedge hike, Jacob.  Great views of Mount Kidd and Kananaskis Valley.

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