Exshaw Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

The town of Exshaw was named by Sir Sanford Fleming after his son-in-law, Lord Exshaw, who helped found Western Canada Cement and Coal Co. Sir Sandford Fleming was a director of the company. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Hiking
Technical Difficulty Level: 
3
Endurance Level: 
Low
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018

You know it's been a long winter when Phil and I go up a treed bump with no summit views after work in April. To be fair it was 13 degrees outside as we parked near the municipal building in the small hamlet of Exshaw. Kids were roaming the streets playing their after school games and the sounds of birds chirping over top of happy kids, playing in the warm afternoon sunshine was very pleasant. There's really not much else to say about Exshaw Mountain other than we enjoyed the limited views and the exercise. Be careful where you park! We parked between two "no parking" signs, but had permission from a guy in the municipal building who told me that on weekends and during the summer they have to limit parking near their building since it gets so crammed they can't drive their trucks in or out of the shop.

 

We took a deviation from the trail on ascent and paid for it in knee to waist deep snow near the summit, but there were no defined tracks on the regular route either so we were destined for that bit of work no matter the route. We even managed to find some scrambling up a small cliff band. The lower 200 vertical meters was fun on dry rock but after that it was a slog through a LOT more snow than the view from down below implied! Scrambling anything that isn't easy front-range is going to be messy for a while thanks to the copious amounts of snow this year.

 


[Doesn't it look bone dry? Looks apparently are deceiving...]


[The first part of the ridge was indeed, bone dry and very pleasant.]


[A popular hike?]


[Looking back over the hamlet of Exshaw towards Mount McGillivray.]


[The loop over Anklebiter Ridge and Bluemat Hill is visible just to the west.]


[The snow started about half way up.]

 
[Great views back over the Bow Valley. ++]


[A gorgeous early evening hike starts to make up for a brutally long winter.]


[We even managed to find a short scramble up a cliff band.]

 
[The best views on this mountain are about half way up near the top of the short cliff band. From L to R, Grant MacEwan, Heart, Skogan, McGillivray and Pigeon Mountain++]


[Grant MacEwan and Heart Mountain are still plastered in snow.]

 
[Looking over Lac des Arcs and up the Bow Valley towards Canmore with the Sisters, Grotto Mountain, Gap Mountain and Anklebiter Ridge at center and right. ++]


[Now we're in it! Interesting shapes in the forest.]


[Where did all this bloody snow come from?!]


[Apparently my legs are longer than Phil's, which causes issues when he tries to follow me...]

 
[Quite the summit view from the apex of the mighty Exshaw Mountain folks! indecision ++]


[We descended the "normal" ascent route to see if there were any old tracks to follow but alas, nobody's been up here in a while.]

 
[Some decent views (although very industrial in nature) on descent.]


[Engagement Peak and Yates Mountain sneak into view.]

 
[A look back at the "dry" Exshaw Mountain. Click for approximate route. ++]

Summit Elevation (m): 
1,783
Summit Elevation (ft): 
5,850
Elevation Gain (m): 
461
Round Trip Time: 
2.00
Total Distance (km): 
4.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Finding a parking spot in the hamlet of Exshaw where you won't get towed might be the crux of this trip.