Mount Baldy

Elevation: 2192 m
Elevation Gain: 700 m
Mount Baldy was officially named in 1984. Prior to bearing its now official name, Mount Baldy was also referred to as Bald Mountain, Old Baldy, Barrier Mountain and Sleeping Buffalo Mountain. Regardless of what it’s called, Mount Baldy lies near the site of an old WWII prisoner of war (POW) camp. The camp was used to house approximately 200 POWs, mainly of German descent and was colloquially referred to as “Kana-Nazi”. In the Canadian spirit, prisoners were occasionally allowed to climb Mount Baldy, provided that they signed a document promising to return to the prison camp following their ascent. The site of the former POW camp is now occupied by a University of Calgary Sciences research facility.
My Ascents:
June 21 2012, June 5 2011, June 7 2009

After taking in the Bryan Adams concert at the Saddledome the night prior (and enjoying far too many post-concert beverages), Brianne and I awoke with vicious hangovers and a series of 80s Canadian rock tunes stuck in our heads. Rather than lay in bed humming “Cuts Like a Knife”, we reasoned that a quick scramble might be a good way to clear our heads (of the hangovers at least). Unfortunately, still enjoying the after-glow of her first concert at the ‘Dome, Brianne insisted that we listen to Bryan Adams the entire drive out to K-Country and back so, ultimately, the scrambling trip did little to clear the catchy guitar melodies from our heads. The trip was, however, more effective at eliminating our hangovers and by the time we had gained a couple hundred meters elevation, we were feeling fine, enjoying the sun and singing “Everything I do” to scare off the bears (and any other scramblers who may have been on the peak).

With the hangover long gone, Brianne shows off her mountain goat skills just above the crux step of Mount Baldy. The crux involves the exposed downclimb visible behind Brianne and Kane rates it moderate, however, I think that based upon the exposed nature of this downclimb, a compelling case could be made for calling this step "difficult". For those like myself who prefer to play it safe, this step can be avoided by ascending steep cracks in the slab on the climber's left of the crux (ie: the right side of the crux in this photo).

Beyond the crux, the views of the Kananaskis valley open up and a pleasant ridge walk ensues.

“Did they name Mount Baldy after bald eagles?” Brianne asks as the peaks (apparent) namesake soars overhead.

Taking a break on the stone couch about 2/3 of the way up. I need to start hiding that phone of hers when we're scrambling...

Breezing up.

The Boss on summit approach.

Great views of the Kananaskis Valley from the summit. I always love how green the valleys look in June!

The Kananaskis Range. From left to right: The Fortress, Mount Kidd, The Tower, Mount Bogart and Olympic Summit (aka: Nakiska - complete with melting ski runs).

The beautiful summit block of Mount Bogart.

The impressive spires of the Fortress.

Surveying her territory.

The Bow Valley peaks bookending Banff and Canmore in the distance (a shady Mount Rundle on the left and sunnier Grotto Mountain on the right).

A pair of scramblers negotiating the exposed crux downclimb as seen from the summit. Click to zoom in for a closer look at the action/terror.

Barrier Lake and the great open prairies to the east.

Barrier Lake fire lookout below.

Yamnuska to the north with the prominent Devil's Head behind.

South Baldy and West Baldy.

Mount Joffre just visible beyond the Opal Range.

Another day, another summit register. After lazing about up top for a while, we opted to start heading down.

Spring has sprung in the Rockies! Soon it will be the summer of '69 (summits?)! On descent we skipped the crux section and the ridge above it by detouring onto steep paths to the skier's left immediately after passing this outcrop of reddish shale.