Jumpingpound Ridge - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Jumpingpound Ridge from Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

The first indication of trouble is the snow on Moose Mountain on the drive south along Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) into the less frequented area of Jumpingpound in northeast Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada New snow on Moose Mountain in a view from Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) in Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Cox Hill from Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) in Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Constant rain over the past few days translates to snow at higher elevations, so it is no surprise there is snow at the top of the 2,437 m (7,995 ft) mountain but snow has penetrated down Moose Mountain.  The objective for this day is the 2,225 m (7,300 ft) summit of nearby Jumpingpound Mountain via the north ridge off Powderface Trail.  The issue may be how deep the snow will become.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Sign on Powderface Trail near the junction with Sibbald Creek Trail in Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. Not overly encouraging.

 

The Powderface Trail gate opens on May 15.  There will be the customary early season maintenance issues but this rustic gravel road can be driven safely when given the profound respect it deserves. 

The parking area for the trail-head sign is beyond Dawson Equestrian Campground and just a short distance past the trail-head for Lusk Pass.  At the trail-head about 5 cm (2 inches) of snow cover the bridge over fast-running Jumpingpound Creek.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trailhead across from parking south of Dawson on Powderface Trail in Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. The trailhead to Lusk Pass is a short distance north on the west side of Powderface Trail.

 

Jumping_Pound_Ridge_05 (2)

 

Gaining elevation on well-graded, long switchbacks, the surface of the trail changes from shallow, intermittent snow coverage to progressively deeper snow and complete coverage.  At 1,524 m (5,000 ft), the hike is trudging through a foot (30 cm) of snow and route finding is becoming an issue as trail narrows and snow has drifted to greater depths.  The route is initially intuitive, if not specific, and the criteria is simply to climb, circumvent major obstacles and avoid falling off either side of the access ridge.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Snow cover on well-grades switchbacks increases proportionally to higher altitude on the trail to Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Late May snow gets deeper on switchbacks to Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Trudging up deep snow to Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.  No human footprints ahead.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Route finding becomes an issue, on May 26, above 1,829 m (6.000 ft.) in deep snow in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The viewpoint to Cox Hill is always a great spot for a photograph.  Past here the ascent becomes a struggle of breaking trail in ever-deepening snow but, before long, trail breaks out of forest at north Jumpingpound Ridge. 

The sun is warming and the air is fresh.  Clothes are drying over the trail sign which marks the junction to Cox Hill going north and North Jumpingpound Ridge to the south.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A viewpoint to Cox Hill on the snowbound trail to Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada First view of the top of Jumpingpound Ridge, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Trail junction for Cox Hill or Jumpingpound Mountain in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Trail sign for major trails in Jumpingpound with links to Barrier Lake in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

So far, about 3.5 KM (2¼ miles) and 400 m (1,312 ft.) of elevation have been gained but it seems like more and there is still 3 KM (1⅞ miles) and more elevation to achieve the summit.  Hiking in the snow is tough work and quickly realizing the effort will far exceed the potential reward, the only hope is that shallower snow at the top of the ridge might make navigation easier.  A sharp left turn ascends to the top of the ridge but wind at the top is robust and the depth of the snow remains the same.  Snow shoes are required and they are not part of the kit. 

The scenery is spectacular and a brief video is captured which is compromised by snow collapsing beneath boots.  It is a worthwhile few minutes to absorb the surrounding views of Moose Mountain, Prairie Mountain, the east side of the Fisher Range, the view north to the Ghost and east to the Calgary city skyline.  Breathtakingly beautiful! WOW!

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail to Jumpingpound Mountain is buried under late May snow. Navigation without snowshoes is very labor intensive.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Views west to front range Rocky Mountains in Kananaskis Country are spectacular.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mountain views are outstanding from the top of north Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

A brief video captures the scene.  The Calgary skyline is clearly visible, to me, in the east but not so much in the video.

In spite of failure to achieve the intended objective, the experience is excellent and the exercise has been robust.  The uplifting experience includes absorbing the brilliant sun against snow and a ten-year supply of incredibly fresh air.  The descent is quick and straightforward.

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The bridge over Jumpingpound Creek at the Jumpingpound Ridge trailhead in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Creek upstream (south) in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Ridge, Jumpingpound,Sibbald Creek,Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Creek downstream (north) in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Mountain will be topped another day.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you for your kind words, D. You would think, after all these years, I would have had enough sense to take snowshoes with me. I was greatly looking forward to the expansive view from the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain and leaving a summit stone there. Just did not expect that much snow at such a low elevation. Oh well, another day. Always appreciate and enjoy hearing from you, D. Wishing you a fantastic summer.

Grand adventure day indeed Barry! I always so enjoy your images as well.

Thank you for your comment, Helen. Always good to hear from you. Moose Mountain summit is at 2,437 m (7,995 ft.) so although it is a large mountain in area, it is not particularly high. Snow that far down is not typical in late May. It makes a sharp contrast against the fresh green forest. Makes for a good photo across fenced grass fields adjacent to Sibbald Creek Trail. Really enjoying your blog, Helen, and your excellent and unique photographs from Australia.

We were within close proximity and your post confirms the conditions. More snow than I expected and snowshoes would have made a huge difference. Jumpingpound Mountain is a shallow summit surrounded by a vast amount of open and diverse terrain and bordered by tall mountains. I am going to try to get back there in the fall. There is great trail in the area. Thanks for your comment, Andra. Your photos from Cox Hill tell the story well. On the way home I wandered around Sibbald Viewpoint for awhile. It is a great place for new hikers or very young or elderly hikers to enjoy a casual walk with outstanding scenery surrounded by forest, valley and mountain elements.

Thanks for your comment, Mike. I applaud your team's tenacity. Bravo! The expansive views from the Jumpingpound Ridge area would make a two car project between Dawson on Powderface and Canyon Creek on Hwy 66 an outstanding project on a clear, pleasant Autumn day. I can imagine snow-tipped mountains surrounded by thousands of square KMs of fall colour over a wide variety of terrain. Sunrise to sunset. I have not spent a lot of time on the north side of Moose Mountain. It deserves attention. The snow was an issue on this day. More of it than I expected. Would not have been able to top Read's Ridge as completed only a week previously. I hike solo most of the time and choose to observe a more conservative risk profile. You have created memories on Jumpingpound which will last for a lifetime. That is what it is all about. Glad to hear you finished safely.

Your experience looks and sounds similar to my day out on Sunday. I agree with Helen about loving your first two shots. I like that there is lack of snow close around and only seeing if off in the distance. While I do enjoy being in the snow, I have had enough of it for this year. I don't believe I have ever actually been on any length of Jumpingpound Ridge although I have attempted to get there many times and have never summitted Jumpingpound Mountain. Yet still, your photos do WOW me and you most definitely did have a grand day out! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!

Interesting read Barry! Myself and a group of 5 people were out the same day as you - in the same area. We did Moose Mountain to Cox Hill! It was very tough! It was 30.5 kms and took 14 hrs 20 minutes. The amounts of snow slowed us and the route finding was challenging. We came down Cox hill the wrong way for awhile and night fell upon us. At least it was still warm out! Spectacular scenery though - coming across from Moose Mountain along the ridge was awesome. You should give it a try.

A spectacular day, especially as so many have been overcast. I love the clarity of the 1st 2 shots of the mountains in the distance.

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