Added by James Hueser
The Wedge gets the heart racing. It offers a panoramic view of the Kananaskis Valley, while offering some hands on and slightly exposed scrambling.
Drive south on Highway 40 and your adventure begins at Wedge Pond. Parking in the parking lot is easy enough if you're there early enough in the day (before 10:00). The trail up the Wedge starts near the bathrooms, and heads south - not southwest towards the pond. After only a few minutes of walking down the path/old road, a smaller trail will branch off a bit southeast.
Once on the trail, you're pretty much set. The trail meanders through the forest and requires a bit of dodging and ducking deadfall, but the path is well defined and a lot of flagging tape has been invested in this trail. Once you start huffing and puffing, you'll almost be out of the forest and the views to the north will start to open up. Once you start getting up into the sub-alpine part of the mountain, try taking it slow. It's only elevation gain at this point and you'll be on the shady side of the mountain surrounded by trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.
The trail follows the one of the north ridges of the Wedge, and quickly gets into scrambling after to get into the alpine. Once at the base of the (very long) summit push, you'll want to skirt around the northeast side of the ridge but then keep your eyes open for a faint trail heading up a bit of a small gulley/chimney to your right. If you pass that, try to get onto that ridge as soon as you can. Once on the ridge, you'll be able to find the trail easily and you'll just have to follow it to the summit...
Well... it's not that easy. While the debate about whether or not the crux should be classified as difficult (oh my gosh, who cares?), it's definitely exposed enough to get a person with a fear of heights (ironically me) a bit sweaty palmed. The ridge narrows to a point where you need drop down to your left. It's a pretty easy crux (crap, now I'm involved in the debate) as long as you stay calm and keep looking for the easiest way to get across. There's basically a ledge that you can shuffle along all the way over. Now, after that it's a straight shot to the summit.
The summit (true and false) of the Wedge provides a full view of the Kananaskis Valley, as well as looking east into the front ranges with some worthy objectives to put on your list - Mount Fisher for example.
I hesitate to say this is the best part about the Wedge, but once off the mountain - especially if it's a hot day - strip down to those skivvies and hop into Wedge Pond! It might not be the most pristine or beautiful lake in the Rockies, but it'll definitely suffice in a pinch!
- Hiking boots
- Hiking poles
- Appropriate layers
- Bear spray
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
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