Cascade Mountain - Banff
F - False Summit C - Crux traverse below false
S - True Summit
Hike through the ski hill
Unfortunately from the ski hill you
hike about 2.7 km down to Forty Mile Creek losing quite a bit of elevation
Then you hike 4.8 km up to the
Once in the Amphitheatre you access
There is a good trail through the
trees to do this
Once on the ridge I recommend
hugging the left side to the top point and not doing the side traverse.
There is a trail that does the side hill traverse but I think staying on the
edge of the ridge is the easier route.
Once you reach the top point in the
previous picture there is a steep but enjoyable down climb onto the next
Here's the next part of the ridge
with the first part of the traverse around the false summit
A closer look at the big traverse
Looking back at the first traverse
The next corner traverse
The next part of the traverse. One
guy coming down here was wearing dress shoes. Yikes!!
The final traverse below the false
summit. This is the spot that should be clear of snow.
The final summit slope at last!
Looking back while on the final
A view of the Mystic Ridge ski hill
from the summit of Cascade
Vicki on the summit with Lake
Mt Rundle from the summit of
Traversing on the way back follow
the cairn to access the big traverse to the Amphitheatre ridge
Almost back to the Amphitheatre
And not far from home now!
Scramble: Class 2 Steep Hiking, Use of Hands, Route Finding,
Altitude: 2,998m (9,833 ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,325m (4,346 ft)
Ascent Time: 3 1/2 5 Hours
Best Season to Scramble: July to September, False summit needs to be
virtually clear of snow for traverse around it
This scramble has a long approach compared to others, a few
twists ands turns and has produced many an epic. For some reason its easy to get off
route especially when late day cloud and fog move in. The author has personally enjoyed an
unexpected overnight ridge bivouac high on Cascade in late August. In late August when the
sun goes down it is just like you walked into a closet and shut the door. I believe I had
divine help in taking an extra jacket that day. Our epic was due to our first time on the
mountain, a late start, one new hiker who was faster going up than going down???, no
headlamps, and late afternoon fog. Nevertheless I highly recommend this scramble as long
as you are prepared. And please dont bring Bakers Bitter Chocolate to share with
your friends if you do bivouac on Cascade.
Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to
Banff 132km (82.5 miles). There are only two exits into Banff the east exit and the west
exit. Take the west exit or the second Banff exit off ramp and head right, up the Mt
Norquay Ski hill access road rather than left into Banff. This winding road takes you just
over 8km up to the Norquay Ski Hill Parking lots. Park either in the left or right parking
lot and take a look at Cascade. The photo above was shot at this point. The photo shows
from left to right the initial ridge, the false summit, and the final slope to the true
summit. Behind the initial open ridge to the false summit lies the Cascade Amphitheatre.
From the parking lot it is 6.6 km to the Cascade Amphitheatre.
From the parking lot head past the ski lodge buildings going north straight down
the road with ski runs on your left. At the end of the road enter a trail continuing
north. After 2.4 km you descend keeping right to the Forty-Mile Creek crossing. Cross over
the wooden bridge and continue up the steep trail. At 4 km keep right at the fork and you
are on your way up the switchbacks to the Cascade Amphitheatre. Once in the Amphitheatre
(2,200ft done so far) the ridge on your right is the one you need to gain. About a third
of the way into the Amphitheatre there is more than one trail that takes you in a right
turn through the trees to the ridge. There is a definite trail up onto the ridge. If you
end up too far into the Amphitheatre and the ridge face is steep backtrack along the ridge
face until you find the proper ascent trail. Once you attain the ridge and climb along it
past the last trees you will find yourself at the far left on the route photo above. Most
people traverse along the slope then onto the ridge again overlooking the Amphitheatre.
When you reach the False summit hump you begin a traverse around this to attain the final
slope to the summit. This traverse is best when totally clear of snow. The last traverse
to the final slope is quite sheltered and needs to be virtually clear of snow for a safe
crossing. Use a pair of binoculars and check it out from downtown Banff before you commit
yourself. From here the climb up the last slope is straightforward with some use of hands
but no real exposure.