Tunnel Mountain

Elevation: 1692 m
Elevation Gain: 300 m
Tunnel Mountain was originally referred to as Sleeping Buffalo Mountain by the Stoney people. In 1858, James Hector appropriately named the small peak “The Hill.” Later in 1882, a team of surveyors working to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway proposed building a 275 m tunnel through the mountain to do so. The tunneling idea was ill-conceived and described as the “most extraordinary blunder ever known in the way of engineering.” Although the tunnel was never built, the peak was officially named Tunnel Mountain. Today, the peak is a popular hike from the Banff town site.
My Ascents:
November 11 2017, December 13 2015, November 15 2014, December 22 2012

First smile, first word and first steps are important milestones that parents everywhere can fondly relate to. In our home, these are secondary. The BIG milestone is, of course, first summit!

On November 11 2017, our ‘Baby Bear’ Penny bagged her first peak: Banff’s Tunnel Mountain.

Brianne and Nannie lend a helping hand to Penny’s older sister Mera on ascent. While Mera is now old enough to cover ground on her own 2 feet, Penny still gets to enjoy the luxury of being carried up mountains! Ah to be 2 months old again...

After Mera had toddled through the snow for long enough, we decided to put her on my back in the hopes of expediting our ascent (like most toddlers, Mera moves very quickly but not always in the direction you’d like her to)! Given that Brianne and I each ended up carrying children, we’d best stop at two; if we have any more we may need to strap one to Crux!

Our ‘Penny Bear’ clings to mom while massive Mount Rundle towers above.

Mera and Crux #SharetheChair just below Tunnel Mountain’s summit.

Penny stretches out while Mom, Mera and Nannie take the last few steps to join her atop her first peak.

A closer look at our ‘Summit Bear’. This photo struck me as familiar so I looked back through pictures from previous journeys up Tunnel Mountain. Indeed, it seems that collapsing on Tunnel’s snowy summit is a rite of passage for all my girls!

The Hobbs clan 2017.

Penny whoops it up, celebrating her first summit with her proud Pa.

Brianne models the latest in mountain fashion (complete with a purple “Bear” to accessorize).

Nannie and her girls.

Another couple enjoys the view of Banff from Tunnel’s summit under somewhat moody skies. We were somewhat disappointed with the weather given that the forecast had called for sun but it could always be worse

Nannie helps Mera with her potty training at altitude. Yet another milestone: first pee in the woods – kids grow up so fast!

After enjoying the summit as a family, it was time to get down and hope that our girls would nap on the drive home (spoiler alert: they didn’t).

Although hiking with 2 very young children (and 1 very stubborn dog) provides its share of challenges, Penny’s first peak also provided exactly the fond memories that every parent associates with their little ones’ milestones. In fact, the whole day proved to be an apt microcosm of parenting. There were stressful situations, lost gloves, ill-timed bathroom breaks and tantrums. A normally simple task took about 10 times longer than you'd expect. In the end, however, I only remember the good and look back fondly on the first summit that our family shared with Penny!