On Sunday, April 16, 2017, I joined Phil R, Raf K and Taras for an easy snowshoe ascent of Tent Mountain. This mountain is located along Corbin Road on the Continental Divide between AB and BC and has the dubious reputation for having some pretty ugly views of a former open pit coal mine that was in operation in the area from the 1940's to the 1980's, supplying the Japanese steel industry. We were hoping that the snow cover would add an interesting texture to the landscape, hopefully hiding some of the mine scars.
Phil and I drove from YYC and met Raf and Taras at the Tim's along hwy 3 before making the short drive to Corbin Road and the parking area on the shoulder of the road. There is a trailhead wooden sign nailed to a tree so you know when you're at the right starting point. We screwed up a bit and decided to park a bit further north on the road, but any of the myriad of exploration roads will probably work.
The weather was gorgeous as we easily snowshoed up the rock hard frozen snow on the road. For once we weren't post holing - a rarity this winter! Maybe spring is finally in the air (and the snowpack)? Birds were chirping a serenade as we made our way up. I took a shortcut off the never ending switchbacking road we were on which dumped me at the summit about 15 minutes earlier than the others. The views on this hike are pretty much nonexistent until you finally pop onto the highest point - and then they are pretty darn stunning! Even the mine didn't look terrible with it's fresh coat of snow. It is amazing what humans can do with machines.
[The new Taco enjoys being in the mountains almost as much as I do. Mount Taylor rising in the background.]
[The snowpack held up great despite the strong sun.]
[Shoeing up the approach road with Michel Head at center distance and Michel Ridge at right. ++]
[The road is pretty low angle and switchbacks a lot.]
[It feels great to be hiking in gorgeous weather.]
[Kilometer signs along the way. I'm sure this would be fun on a mountain bike.]
[A blank white canvas.]
[My shortcut route involved the first views of the day towards the old mine and Mount Darrah at left.]
[Nearing the top of the ridge the trees started thinning.]
[Looking back at my tracks.]
[On the summit ridge now, looking back at Loop Ridge.]
[Just before the summit (R) with great views over old mine works towards Ptolemy. ++]
We lingered a long time at the summit, enjoying the sunshine and the views of many peaks that I'd never heard of before. Mount Ptolemy certainly got our attention across Ptolemy Pass. Other obvious peaks were Harrison and Washburn. Three Sisters were visible towards Fernie and Erikson was just north of us. Obviously Crowsnest and the Seven Sisters were also very prominent, as were Phillips Peak and Mount Tecumseh. After an hour on the summit we reluctantly turned back to the descent.
[Looking north back along the summit ridge from the summit of Tent Mountain. Views include Erikson straight ahead and Tecumseh and Crowsnest Mountain at far right. ++]
[Panorama looking south from the summit. Ptolemy at left with Darrah's many summits at center. Michel Head at right. ++]
[Crowsnest Mountain is still one of my favorite scrambles in the Crowsnest Pass area.]
[Phillipps Peak and Mount Tecumseh.]
[Mount Erikson lies directly north of Tent Mountain.]
[Phillips Peak at left.]
[Mount Harrison in the clouds at far right.]
[Mount Washburn is the southernmost glaciated peak in the Canadian Rockies.]
[Mount Bisaro is located NW of Fernie.]
[Three Sisters are located just north of Fernie.]
[Barnes Peak rises over Barnes Lake to the south of Tent Mountain.]
[The highest peak (C) is part of Corrigan Mountain but interestingly the official summit is somewhat lower and hidden from sight.]
[Centre Mountain looms over the old mine at right with two unnamed outliers of Darrah at left.]
[Mount Darrah is an impressive peak that apparently isn't so easy to climb.]
[Mount McGladrey and Pengelly lie to the left of Darrah.]
[Mount Ptolemy steals the show as the highest peak in the Flathead Range.]
[Looking off the end of Tent Mountain towards the abandoned open pit mine with Darrah at left and Centre at right.]
[Darrah is impressive.]
[Michel Head lies just to the south of Tent Mountain and includes Michel Ridge.]
[Raf's new Tinder profile pic...]
[It took me three tries to bag Sentry Mountain in winter. That's a lot of driving for one peak!]
[Descending a small high point just beneath the summit.]
[The snow was still pretty supportive on descent - especially considering how warm it got.]
While Phil and I were driving out along the Corbin Road we met Dave Salahub returning from his Loop Ridge ski excursion. We gave him a lift back to his car. I'm always amazed how often I run into fellow peakbaggers in the middle of nowhere. ;) All in all, I would recommend Tent Mountain as a winter snowshoe ascent for the best views. I would also recommend that if you're a peakbagger and driving all the way from YYC you should consider adding a second objective to an otherwise very short day.