scramble to Conrad Kain hut in the Bugaboos

Photographer Phil Armitage has a terrific photo gallery that any hiker will love. His best photos are available for sale.

I was particularly interested in Phil’s pics from a hike to shoot “The Hound’s Tooth” in the “Bugs”, a granite range in the Purcell Mountains of eastern British Columbia, Canada.

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From Phil’s trip report:

Bugaboo spires trailhead, at the end of the road in Bugaboo Provincial Park.

Although this is by far the most popular spot in the Purcells, it’s still pretty remote – you’ll need to violate the spirit as well as the letter of a rental car contract to negotiate the 30 miles of dirt roads between Brisco (18 miles north of Radium Hot Springs on Highway 95) and the trailhead.

You’ll need detailed directions from a guidebook, or from maps available locally, but it’s not too tricky to find. In summer 2006 the road was pretty rough, with plenty of potholes, but numerous low clearance 2WD cars and vans had successfully made it to the Park. …

The hike to the Conrad Kain hut is very short – just a 6 mile round trip – but brutally steep. There’s 2200 feet of elevation gain to the hut, all of it attained in the last two miles.

In places the route is protected by cables bolted into the rock, and in one spot you climb a steep section with the aid of a metal ladder, but the trail is in excellent shape and at least in dry weather these aids are more for reassurance than for necessity. The views of the Hound’s Tooth, with the Bugaboo glacier flowing past the spire and down the valley, are continual and astounding throughout the hike. When we did this in mid-August, there were nice patches of wildflowers in several small meadows along the trail.

The hut is perched on a rocky shelf with a panoramic view of both the spires and the valley along which the trail ascends. It’s a great spot for lunch. You can also scramble off-trail without much difficulty to attain a small ridge that allows a closer vantage of the glaciers. This feels about as wild a spot as can be reached by mere hikers. I highly recommend this hike – it’s one of the best short day hikes I’ve done.

Day hikes in the Bugaboos and Purcell Mountains of British Columbia

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I checked with a local hiking buddy who had done this trip a few years ago. He confirmed it was one of his best hikes ever.

We’ve added Conrad Cain to our list of the best hikes in North America.

Bugaboo Provincial Park
– official website

Angel’s Landing, Half Dome, Huashan – too dangerous?

There is talk of closing Angel’s Landing in Zion and Half Dome in Yosemite.

The controversy with the first two (American hikes) is rekindled — not surprisingly — each time a tourist falls to their death. Access is simply too easy for the inexperienced and under-prepared.

But if you (like us) feel you are capable of these moderate difficulty scrambles, do not fear if access in the USA is eventually restricted.

You can always head to Xian, China and Huashan.

… between the West and North Peak, is a path called ‘Changkongzhandao‘ (The cliff side plank path).

cimg1635.jpgThis path is pretty much the whole reason for me coming to Mt. Huashan. Originally seeing photos of this awesome sight in an email when i was working, i decided i had to come and take a look for myself.

The path leads to a small lookout where it is about 70 metres in length. Once you reach the end, you just come back and continue on your way. It is a cliff face. 90 degrees. To get across, they have whacked large nails into the side of the cliff and placed planks of wood over the top for you to cross. The path is about 40cm wide!

There is also a chain nailed to the rock for you to hold onto as you make your way across. For $5AUS you can choose to hire a safety harness (you would be absolutely stupid, i mean insane not to have one). Half of the path are planks of wood and the other half are foot holes carved into the rock. As the people i was with were too scared to go, i went alone taking the photos myself trying not to drop the camera with my hands shaking as if i had just drunk 20 cups of coffee.

I took my time and on the way back another brave bloke was coming towards me to do the same walk. I asked him to take a photo of me and he explained to me that the ultimate photo to take on this path is a pose where you lean back facing the cliff wall (because of your harness), your body 45 degrees, relying 100% on your harness with both arms waving in the air! The ground by the way is 1km down.

The best i could do was lean 45 degrees over the edge but my hands were stuck firmly to the strap connecting my body to the wall. I couldn’t let go, my brain was telling me “Go on, do it”, but my hands wouldn’t budge. Now i see myself as an adventurous person willing to try anything, but this was the first time in my short years where my brain and body disagreed with one another and it felt really strange.

I hit my limit where i had no idea what my limit was up until now. And I’m actually quite glad knowing it’s hanging off a cliff relying on a piece of metal and strap, 1km up on a plank of wood, now that can’t happen too often, can it? There is a saying ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. That was actually shuffling across those wooden planks.

The adrenalin rush i got from that and hiking Mt. Huashan lasted all the way back down to the cable car where it was 7:00pm and the perfect time to leave for a 3 hour bus ride back to Xi’an.

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Andre’s World Trip: Mt. Huashan

Angel’s Landing – our information page

“Worlds Most Dangerous Tourist Route”

UPDATE from Brad in California:

Unlike every other report I’ve read on the internet, Brad’s actually been there.

It’s a good sidetrip out of Xian, site of the astonishing Terracotta Warriors.

A few more facts: It is not "Mt." Hua Shan. It is just Hua Shan. …

A hostel is available on the mountain top — what a cool place for a midwinter honeymoon?! Despite the vigor and risk involved in the climb, it is crowded in fair weather! …

The mountain has multiple summits, and looks somewhat like a blossoming tulip: hence the name flower mountain.

You can take a cable car to the vicinity of the lowest summit, or you can hike about 5 or 6 klicks to the same area. The "hike" option is very worthy, with incredibly lengthy and steep staircases carved into the stone, — awesome. Rusty chain handrails are anchored into the rocks.

Once on the lowest summit, you can climb the circuit of the other higher summits. This is where you will encounter the most harrowing exposures, and the pictures that accompany this page.

Again, on a crowded day, it would suck! Everything is one-way, or narrow, etc… We went on a rainy day, with fog, and had the mountain almost to ourselves. It was incredible when the fog cleared!

Snow or freezing rain would make this hike very dangerous. I would not do it!

Mount Hua (Hua Shan) – Wikipedia

We’ve added Hua Shan to our list of the best hikes in Asia.

Click PLAY or watch a “hiker” on the route on MetaCafe.
Snapple Scores With Super Premium Tea Ad During Super Bowl XLIClick here for funny video clips

==== original post Nov. 6th, 2006:

The most dangerous tourist route in the world is located in Tibet.

Damn Cool Pics: Worlds Most Dangerous Tourist Route

But … they have the location wrong.

It seems these photos are actually from (or Mt Hua or Mt Hua Shan) in Shaanxi province, China. It is the Western Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. This error was pointed out in a comment on Cool Pics by JJ.

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More photos:

Welcome To China – Welcome2CN.Com

photo set – Fosdick

To a hiker like me, this scramble looks like good fun. Similar to Half Dome in Yosemite.

blog – Waterton Scrambling

We just discovered a cool new blog, 6-months-old, devoted to adventure in Waterton National Park. Eight contributors are participating, so far.

Good job guys!

Waterton Scrambling is a model for localized adventure sport blogs.

We have linked to you from our Blogs category (right-hand navigation) and subscribed to your RSS feed.

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photo contest winner – Custer – Blair Piggot

hiking above Chephren Lake

I had never heard of Waterfowl Lakes Campground, 57km north of Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies.

It seems to be mainly populated with visitors from Germany and Austria.

If you are car camping this is a good choice.

We camped beside pretty Mistaya River close to the hiking trailhead. Though the walk in was longer than we wanted, we had great fun playing in the snow fields and waterfalls above the lake.

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More photos on Flickr.

Tamarack Trail, Canada

Lucas Rojek has a great adventure in mind. It’s a very challenging variation on one of our favourite hikes — the Tamarack Trail in Waterton National Park, Alberta:

Our plan is to follow the standard trail (Rowe Lakes up to Lineham ridge) then drop into the Lineham Lakes, set up camp and if we still have the legs scramble back up again and do Hawkins Horseshoe. That’s day 1. Day 2 we scramble out and continue on Tamarack to Twin Lakes. I expect that to be a very long day. Day 3 we plan to hit Avion Ridge to Goat Lake. Day 4 we hike out from Goat Lake to Red Rock canyon parking lot.

Good luck Lucas! If you survive the off-trail scramble down to Lineham Lakes, the Avion Ridge should be a breeze.

view down to the lake from atop Lineham Ridge – RMRA trip report photos

scrambling Storm mountain

Rated as “moderate” in Alan Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies — we had a particularly gruelling day. Alan’s trip description is very confusing.

UPDATE – Dave Stephens has posted a trip report which will help you decide on the best route.

Dave’s goal is to scramble every mountain in Kane’s book.

Lesson learned? Bring the GPS and topo even on an easy scramble.

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More Storm photos on Flickr

CONFIRMED – Crowsnest Mountain scramble

Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, 3rd editionClimber Scott Whiteside who lives in the Crowsnest Pass recommends the Crowsnest Mountain scramble in the Canadian Rockies. It’s 4-7hrs return, 1100m (3609ft), non-technical. Good fun — but no mountaineering gear needed when dry.

No map needed, just Alan Kane’s book.

A group of us are planning to do it Saturday, June 17th. Email or leave a comment if you want to join us.

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