Mist Mountain Scramble
Canada › Mist Creek Parking Area
Added by James Hueser
Summit elevation: 3140 metres (10333 feet) above sea level. Distance: 13 km (8 miles) round trip. Duration: 7 - 8 hours (about a 5 hour ascent). Elevation gain: 1260 metres (4135 feet). Get a 10,000er while getting phenomenal views above the mountains in Kananaskis.
This is a pretty big objective, but doesn't feature any technical climbing, so anyone who keeps a clear head and can put one foot in front of the other can do it.
Mist Mountain is located in Highwood Pass - whose highway is only open between June and December, so scheduling Mist Mountain as a big summer objective is an absolute must! Highwood Pass is one of my favourite highways to drive along in the Rockies, so if you have the opportunity to approach the trailhead from the south (from Longview) I highly recommend it. It's absolutely breath taking. Highwood Pass is also a prime area to hit up some really big stuff in Kananaskis since it's the highest paved road in Canada --- allows the peaks to get higher, but the elevation gain to remain reasonable.
Even if you do a ton of research into this trail, you'll still probably find out that there are a ton of trails (game and human) to get confused with when heading up Mist.
There's a parking lot west of Mist Creek -- park here! One trail starts immediately north of the parking lot and is marked with flagging tape. It's a narrow trail that's quite overgrown - a tamer version of bushwacking - but actually really enjoyable. Especially refreshing if there's still dew or water from a recent storm on the trees and bushes. Keep right whenever you come across forks until you encounter a creek. Pick your way across and head up the slope. The trail heads north for a very short while, then takes a hard right to the west. After about 15 minutes, you'll come across another junction marked with flagging tape, in which you turn left (north). After this point, it's pretty straightforward until the col. Take time to enjoy the lush meadow and - as always - make sure to breathe in as many wildflowers as you can --- they are abundant!
Once you gain the pass, pierce through to the other side, and look to the west -- hopefully you can spot the trail that hugs the base of the rock rib to the west. The trail after this point is boot-beaten and pretty easy to follow. Keep an eye out for sorrel - sweet and sour snack to munch on as you head up the scree.
Around this point, you can see the end of the valley as it terminates in a cirque -- that's the area you can descend. The ascent - however - is best done up the south ridge of the mountain. You should be able to notice it pretty easily as it's one of the first rock ribs that you can head up. This is much better option than following the valley to the cirque and heading up the 40 degree scree slope!
Follow the ridge all the way to the summit (you will hit a false summit, sorry!) and take in the glorious views of Highwood Pass as you do it. Like I said earlier, it's one of my favourite areas. Take the scree slope down and follow the same way back -- just head south off the summit rather than southeast.
I've never really experienced something like Mist before... the meadow was pristine and emerald green (aim to hit this in the summer when everything is full of life!), and the mountain itself goes through so many different environments it always keeps things interesting.
I haven't done anything quite like Mist.
- Hiking boots
- Hiking poles
- Appropriate clothing and layers
- Water and snacks
- Bug spray
- Bear Spray
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