May 17, 2014 · 9:15 AM
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Our route will follow the summer trail to the fire lookout at the top of Moose Mountain. The road to the trailhead opens on May 15 and the upper parts of the trail usually have quite a lot of snow that early in the season.
This is an intermediate hike, participants have to feel comfortable doing hikes with[masked]m elevation gain.
Difficulty: Intermediate+ Trail Length: 15 km (return)
Time to Complete: 7 hours Elevation Gain: about 650 m
Drive Time to trailhead: 1 hour
Moose Mountain trailhead is west of Bragg Creek near Paddy's Flat Campground. Access to the trailhead is via 7 km steep gravel road.
The trail is relatively gentle (but muddy, with some snow and puddles this time of the year) for the first 5 km, then climbs quickly to the peak over scree slopes of Moose Mountain. Snow fields and cornices can usually be bypassed on the way up (except at the final approach to the fire lookout.) On the way down, snow allows much easier and quicker descent to properly equipped hikers.
Expect and be prepared for: fabulous views of the mountains, the prairie, Calgary, and nearby towns; snow, mud puddles on the forest fire road; hiking in the snow up to your knees; wind at the top.
Required items to bring:
o waterproof hiking boots + gaiters
o hiking poles or ski poles with snow basket (mandatory)
o MICROSpikes, ICETrekkers etc. - if one already has them
o food and drink sufficient for 7 hours (hike/snowshoe + trip back to Calgary)
o something to sit on at lunch break (piece of foam, garbage bag)
o pants and jacket which will not get wet when you fall; toque, neck warmer, gloves, windbreaker (with hood if you have one); spare pair of dry socks; dress in layers, have something warm to put on when we stop for lunch and a set of dry clothes to change into when we get back to the cars.
Hazards: forest fire road can be slippery because of mud and snow; one has to be aware of dangers hidden under the snow like air pockets, big rocks, talus fields; final approach to the lookout is steep, possibly with mild exposure because of the snow.