Mt Indefatigable – In Snowshoes?

Mount Indefatigable is a popular mountain not only for the impossibility of pronouncing it right the first time, but also for its NW to SE spanning ridge that offers spectacular views of both Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lake.

The trailhead is located at the absolute end of the Kananaskis Lakes trail, which is accessed via a right-hand turn off Hwy 40 (about 1.5 hours from Calgary in total).
Parking is at the North Interlakes parking lot.

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The infamous Grizzly sign; basically marking the trailhead.

Recently, a friend and I brought a pair of snowshoes up to the lakes with a plan to hike the circuit of the Upper Lake, but upon coming across the famous bear warning sign, I had to wonder if this mountain was surmountable with a few feet of snow involved.


**DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS have your bear spray on hand and be informed.
This is prime bear habitat because bears dig their dens in ideal slopes with mature trees (such as Indefatigable). This trail is also not maintained, and can be eroded in areas. Proceed at your own informed discretion.


A decision was made in a matter of minutes. Off we went.
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Surrounded by Lodgepole pines!

 

The ascent begins lightly through a shaded forest, and is an enjoyable stroll in itself.
It is quiet and the smells of pine resin are strong.
The slope soon picks up and it’s mostly uphill from there, baby.

Snowshoes with good crampons are a must here.
Elevation gains are quick and you are soon rewarded with views
in the first 20 minutes, already making it worthwhile.
As you emerge from the shade of the trees, the trail becomes mostly sunlit for the remainder of the hike.

 

 

Continuing to incline along what would be a rocky ledge in the summer, we make it to the lower viewpoint… and the rewards are great.

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Epic views

With all the snow, the sunlight makes the viewing twice as brilliant, and the panoramic views of surrounding rock faces are in high definition. The silky clouds gently roll off the peaks in slow motion. The air is crisp but calm. The whole atmosphere is hushed except for the distant, gentle wind travelling through trees miles away. It fills our ears and creates a sense of vastness in myself.
For this moment, all my worries fall away.

By now it feels like the sky might open up and shine a miracle before us while U2 plays in the background. In the “naaaaame of lo-o-oveeee!”

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Okay, back to the trail.

We are pretty pumped over these views, and we continue to hike along the South Ridge towards the Northern summit. We relish in the beautiful views of the Lower Kananaskis Lake to our right, lying at the feet of sprawling rock.

 

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Channeling my inner Bono

All of a sudden things shift. The wind picks up, the dog is whining over ice caught in his toes, I notice my back is incredibly moist. I continue to climb the ridge until I see the small traverse leading to the base of the North Summit.

A swift judgement concludes that there is no way we will summit this today. Not without proper climbing equipment and some experience! And certainly not with a dog.

We accept our limitation and turn back to begin the easy descent.
Have you ever tried sprinting down a mountain in snowshoes? That should be a sport of its own!

After being baked by the sun all day, the slopes are quite slippery but you just have to roll with it. You get down eventually.

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Along Upper Kananaskis Lake

 

And when you do, you have a whole lake to explore!
You can walk the surface, but on a sunny day some places are soft and a bit sketchy. We did see some determined people out there fishing though!

 

 

 


 

In summary, the lower viewpoint on Mount Indefatigable is no problem in snowshoes, and makes for a quick but effective workout!

To reach the viewpoint is only about 1.5 hours of solid trekking. Another 30 – 45 minutes to the base of the summit.
From there, ice climbing equipment and experience is definitely necessary!

Happy hiking!

 

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