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

Photo from the Trans Canada highway driving west looking south just before the Kananaskis Highway 40 turnoff

Baldy Pass parking lot on the west side of highway 40 just south of Barrier Lake

Have to cross the highway to start the Baldy Pass trail heading east

As you start the trail. I think there is a later sign at the next junction that says 10km to Baldy Pass but not true.

Jesus come soon and fix the rest of this world! Have you been born from above?

The new trail from the floods in June 2013

More flood devastation, parts of old trail gone but still not too bad to navigate.

Upper trail to Baldy Pass is still good

Middle part of South Baldy Peak ridge

Full view of South Baldy Peak ridge from slopes of Midnight Peak

Left hand turn at Baldy Pass

First viewpoint looks rather nice!

Typical lower trail

Another cool viewpoint!

Approaching the moderate gendarme. Climb directly, DO NOT try and go around on the right hand side

Hands on moderate rock gendarme, we started on the right side of the tree, climbed up approx 15ft then zigged left by the dead tree then back right. Not the only way but tackle it head on. Total height is about 30ft.

Looking back down the 1st moderate rock gendarme

Steep but decent trail up the next gendarme

More trail view on the second rock gendarme

Trail view on the second rock gendarme

First view of the South Peak of Baldy with North Baldy behind and to the right

Looking back down the ridge

Route on the left side, do not go right

Closer view of left side terrain

Last part to the summit, slope eases off a bit

North Peak of Baldy Massif

West Peak of Baldy

Barrier Lake

Midnight Peak to the south

View to the east

View to the south east

Looking back down the ridge from the summit area

South Baldy Peak Hike Scramble via Baldy Pass Trail Kananaskis Highway 40

Scramble: Class 2 Nice hike up to Baldy Pass 4.0km, then left up the ridge for about 2 km which is a mix of easy and moderate terrain, route finding skills are important

Altitude: 2,160m (7,100 ft) approx - need the latest GPS readings

Elevation Gain: 830m approx (2,725 ft) - approx 1,600ft to Baldy Pass another 1,125 to the Peak

Ascent Time: 2 - 3 Hours

Best Season to Scramble: May to October, Microspikes helpful if bit of snow on the route as melting and refreezing on the shoulder seasons can make trail slippery in places

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 1,125 feet is an enjoyable ridge hike and scramble as you take on varied terrain with a few gendarmes to go over with increasingly nice views

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 north the 2km ridge of South Baldy Peak stretches out.

The trail is fairly obvious, generally stay on the ridge or to the left side. The middle of the ridge has the two big rock gendarmes, the first one you climb directly with hands on, there are lot of hand and footholds but be careful here (approx 30ft in height). The second rock gendarme has a small winding trail to follow. From there it is mostly directly on top of the ridge until approaching the summit block of South Baldy Peak. There is a faint in places trail that goes left of the ridge top. If snow covered just ascend slightly left of the ridge then turn right near the last summit slope as it eases off. See the route photo.