Midnight Peak
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Midnight Peak Hike Scramble via Baldy Pass Trail - Kananaskis Highway 40

As seen from the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 40, South Baldy Peak is the point to the right and Mt. Baldy is just out of view to the right of the picture

Large parking lot, other part of gravel road goes left to Porcupine Group Campground

Highway 40 crosswalk and start of the trail on the east side of the highway

Good trail all the way to Baldy Pass

Northwest face and ridge of Midnight Peak - trail begins ascent to Baldy Pass just past this viewpoint

Shortly after this section you begin the more pronounced ascent up to Baldy Pass

Last bit of trail before you arrive at Baldy Pass

Enjoying a break at Baldy Pass

View south east from Baldy Pass is Jumping Pound Ridge I think?

View east from Baldy Pass is Cox Hill I think?

Two ways to get to the upper open slope, route finding skills required up and down this section

Closer view of upper ascent slope

Approaching the lower open rock area

At the lower open rock area, both ways will take you to the upper open slope, straight through or traverse around the trees

South Baldy Ridge and Peak

We did the traverse around and back to the left to the faint trail

Start of the upper slope, the trail zigzags and starts moving to the right part way up

Adeem making his way up in mountain weather, time for the stuffing of the down jacket

A better view of the steepness of the trail

The west ridge from the summit cairn

Summit photo inside a ping pong ball

The traverse to the south summit if you so desire

Yours truly and the only 2 other scramblers of the day approaching

Descending, see the little tree for your bearings

Steepness of slope looking west

Steepness of slope looking east

AA heading home from Baldy Pass

A Western Wood Lily - More of the Creator's handiwork in a fallen world

 

Midnight Peak Hike Scramble via Baldy Pass Trail Kananaskis Highway 40

Scramble: Class 2 Nice hike up to Baldy Pass, then some route finding through trees, then very steep hiking up the north ridge, sometimes putting hands down

Altitude: 2,332m (7,650 ft)

Elevation Gain: 914m (3,000 ft)

Ascent Time: 2 - 3 Hours

Best Season to Scramble: May to October, Microspikes helpful if bit of snow on ascent slope as melting and refreezing on the shoulder seasons can make slope slippery in places although slope is mostly rubble with only a few slabby sections which can be avoided.

Take the usual precautions with regards to wildlife as you are hiking a long way up a narrow valley. Better with a group and make your presence known in various ways. Yo Bear!!!

Highlights

This scramble starts with a very pleasant hike up to Baldy Pass elevation gain to the Pass approx 1,600 feet. The remaining 1,400 feet will put your quads to the test but you are rewarded with some great views for the effort made. You can also traverse to the south peak if your goal is both summits.

Just the hike up to Baldy Pass would be a good family hike.

Getting There

Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to the Highway 40 Kananaskis Country turnoff (approx 59.7km from the Canada Olympic Park intersection to the Highway 40 turnoff). Take the turnoff and head south on highway 40 for approx. 13.5km. You pass the Barrier Lake Information Centre, then the turnoff to Barrier Lake, then up over the big hill that is beside Mt Baldy, then a short while later you will see the sign for the Baldy Pass / Porcupine Group Campground, turn right here, parking lot is on the west side of highway 40. The trailhead is across the road on the east side of the highway about 40 yards farther south of the turnoff. They even have a crosswalk painted on the highway though I am doubtful I would trust anyone to stop.

Route Description

Enter the trail on the east side of the highway, trail sign at the start says 4.0km to Baldy Pass. After .7km you reach a junction with another trail sign. Head left or east for Baldy Pass as heading right would take you south to the Wasootch Creek parking lot. The trail is very pleasant and elevation gain is very minimal to gradual as you hike up the valley. After you pass through an open area where you get a good view of the rugged northwest face and ridge of Midnight Peak the trail begins to climb but at a steady rate all the way to Baldy Pass. Just a hike to Baldy Pass would be a very good family hike. The Pass has a rocky open area where one can stop for snacks and enjoy the scenery. Looking south from the pass the considerably foreshortened north face of Midnight Peak is in view. Foreshortened means that it is a lot farther than it looks. This is where some route finding both up and down is necessary. The basic idea is to reach the bottom of the first big open rock slope, then head straight up the right side of it into the trees, or instead you can traverse to the far right around all the trees and circle up around.

So if you go straight up into the trees just work your way up slightly going right till you hit the final open slope on the left side. There is a trail in the trees but is disappears in the lower section of the trees and is there for only the upper 2/3 of the trees. If you decide to just traverse to the right around all the trees, then you have to traverse back to the far left to find the start of the trail up the final slope. The traverse is not that far though. So either route will get you there. Dont worry about the steepness you encounter, its the same everywhere, in fact steepness would be the operative word for the whole way.

The faint trail (could be easily lost if not observant) on the final open slope starts at the far left of the slope then generally moves to the right working its way up. Our ascent was in late October so there was about 4-6 inches of snow on the face. The microspikes were put on fairly soon as the melting and refreezing overnight left the trail crusty with some icyness underneath parts of the trail. The microspikes performed very well and the purchase on the slope was greatly improved. Even if you lost the trail you could just pick the line with the best footing heading right and up. Quite a bit of a rubbly slope so a slip and slide would only last a few feet.