Mt. Rae
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Mount Rae – Highwood Pass Area

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Photo taken from top of Mt. Tyrwhitt

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Unseen part of route which heads up to the col

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Final slope from the col, fairly steep and slabs

T - In the distance is Mt. Tyrwhitt

Looking up from the col, faint trail, then you have to pick the best route so route finding skills required. Not a slope I would want to be on with snow on it, wait till dry for the safest time.

AA on the summit

Mount Rae

Scramble: Class 2 – Steep Hiking, Slab Sections, Use of Hands

Altitude: 3,218m (10,555 ft)

Ascent Time: 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 Hours

Elevation Gain: approx. 1,000m (3,280 ft)

Best Season to Scramble: Late July to early September, best when final slope is dry, only recommended for the experienced when snow on final slope.


This scramble starts at the Highwood Pass and the first part is the Ptarmigan Cirque trail (a beautiful hike on its own). The summit offers tremendous views of the Elbow/Kananaskis areas to the north with many peaks readily identifiable.

Bears frequent this area, check with the Barrier Lake Information Centre on highway 40. Rangers post warning signs when necessary. Make lots of noise when hiking.

Getting There

Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 for 79km (49.4 miles) and take the Kananaskis Country Highway 40 turnoff and head south. If your base is Banff head east on the TransCanada for 52 km (32.5 miles) and turn south on route as above. Drive south for 69.5km (43.4 miles) to the Highwood Pass (Meadows) parking lot. Toilets here.

Route Description

Head down the road or interpretive trail a few hundred yards, cross over the road and take the Ptarmigan Cirque trail 2.2km 180m (600ft) elevation gain. From here follow the trail into the back part of the cirque, the trail heads left (north) up a steep section to the col. From here you can see the final slope to the summit. As the trail (faint here and there) curves up and around the slope keep lower down than the ridge until you are almost at the summit. The final slope involves some slabs which you must traverse and some route finding near the end for the easiest way.