Ha Ling Peak

Elevation: 2408 m
Elevation Gain: 700 m
Ha Ling Peak is a highly recognizable high point on the north-western edge of Mount Lawrence Grassi. The peak was named for the first man to ascend it and has been the subject of some controversy through the years. Ha Ling was a cook of Chinese descent whose 1896 first ascent came about as the result of a bet that he could not climb the peak and plant a flag on the summit in less than 10 hours. Needless to say, Ha Ling won the bet and the mountain was named "Chinaman's Peak" in his honor. In 1997 (the age of political correctness), the peak was officially re-christened as Ha Ling Peak as the term "Chinaman" was deemed to be racist. Oddly enough, the more offensively named but less popular peak across the valley (Squaw's Tit) retains its politically incorrect monicker to this day.
My Ascents:
April 20 2014, May 21 2012, May 1 2011, May 23 2010, May 16 2009, February 8 2009, October 5 2008, August 13 2006

With the luxury of having Easter Sunday dinner being cooked for me at home, I decided to take advantage of my lack of culinary responsibilities to sneak in a peak! Not wanting to be late for said dinner, however, I decided to stick “close” to home in the front ranges. Having noted that the avalanche ratings had been rising along with the temperature, I opted to forego anything adventurous and aimed for Canmore classic: Ha Ling Peak. Despite the fact that I’ve ascended Ha Ling 7 previous times, I had forgotten how scenic it is in the winter (spring doesn’t start until June in the Rockies afterall). My eighth ascent may not be a feather in my mountaineering cap but it did prove to be a thoroughly enjoyable outing!

A nice view of Ha Ling beyond a frozen Whiteman’s Pond to start the day. Click to see larger.

Whiteman’s Pond wasn’t the only thing still frozen; the well-travelled trail up Ha Ling was a sheet of ice! I ended up using crampons for the entire ascent. Crux on, the other hand, just had to deal with the slip and slide trail!

The sun catches an interesting feature across the valley as we gained elevation and the trees began to thin.

Sunny skies grant a pleasant view of Goatview Peak as we break the tree line. As per usual, once above the trees a freezing gale-force wind was omni-present.

A couple of hikers reach the corniced col just ahead of us. Like me, they were well-prepared with crampons and ice axes which made all of our lives significantly easier!

Ha Ling’s windswept upper slopes provide a final obstacle before reaching the summit.

Above the col, the views of the Bow Valley below to the east provide inspiration.

The panorama to the east includes a beautiful view of Mount Lawrence Grassi. Click to see larger.

I arrived at the summit to discover that the Easter Bunny had already been there! He must have gotten an alpine start!

Panorama of the sun-splashed Goat Range from the top. Click to see larger.

Crux and I on the summit.

Canmore panorama. Click to see larger.

EEOR across Whiteman’s Gap to the west. The true summit of Mount Rundle faintly visible amidst the deteriorating weather beyond.

Grotto Mountain directly across the Bow Valley.

Ears blowing in the wind.

After a few frigid minutes enjoying the view, it was time to head back down. As helpful as the crampons were on ascent, they proved doubly so on descent! As we lost elevation, I had to chuckle at the crowds who were just starting up the peak at noon wearing shorts and running shoes…

Crux enjoys a sunny spot on an icy perch back down at the trailhead.

Decapitating the Easter Bunny!

One last view of Mount Lawrence Grassi, Miner’s Peak and Ha Ling (far right) from Canmore before racing home for Easter dinner.