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6 Reasons Why Yamnuska Is the Best First-Time Scramble in the Canadian Rockies

June 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 148

Mount Yamnuska is officially called Mount John Laurie, although I don't know anyone who uses the latter name. The name 'Yamnuska' comes from the native translation "wall of stone".

And a wall of stone it is. Yamnuska is a rock-climbing mecca because of its steep, sometimes vertical and overhanging, rock face, which supports over 100 climbing routes. But if you're not a rock climber, you can still get to the summit by hiking around the back of the mountain, where you'll need to use your hands only a couple of times along the way.

When I introduce people to scrambling for the first time, I always take them to Yamnuska because I think the mountain provides all of the things that will create an interest in further scrambling. Here are six reasons why I think so.

It's easy to get to.

Yamnuska is only a little over an hour's drive from Calgary, which means you can drive out to it, climb it, and be back for dinner.

Yamnuska is snow-free early in the season.

Yamnuska is the most easterly mountain in the Bow Valley, which acts as a wind tunnel that funnels Chinook winds, which cause temperatures to soar rapidly. One good Chinook can melt a foot of snow in a day. This means that the trails are ready earlier than in the rest of the Canadian Rockies, so when the spring hiking itch arrives, Yamnuska is ready for you.

There is a well-beaten path.

For even the most experienced scramblers, trail-finding can be a challenge. The best route is not always obvious. But Yamnuska has a well-worn path that leads up the eastern slope and around the back of the mountain. Your chance of getting lost is negligible.

It's a quick scramble.

As far as scrambles go, Yamnuska is an easy scramble that can be done in less than four hours for an average hiker. For a first-timer, this is the perfect amount of time to see if scrambling is something to be enjoyed, or something to be avoided.

It's a traverse.

Most scrambles require that you descend the same route you take to get to the summit. Because Yamnuska can be traversed, the scenery is different throughout the entire route.

There is lots of scree.

While scree is the bane of a scrambler's existence on the ascent, it is a joy to blast through scree on the descent. There are two main sections of scree - one immediately upon leaving the summit, and the other, longer section is at the base of the cliff. You'll get your boots full of pebbles, so wear gaiters if you have them.

The great Canadian climber, Laurie Skreslet, wrote about Yamnuska, "I've been to a lot of places in this world, but none of them feel like home the way that mountain does." I tend to agree with him. So if you're thinking about trying scrambling as part of your hiking repertoire, I encourage you to give Yamnuska a try.

Happy scrambling!

Dave is a Canadian boy who is passionate about hiking and scrambling in Canada. Check out his blog at http://www.HikingCanadaRocks.com

Source: EzineArticles
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