Mount Howard Scramble

Kananaskis Country
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Mount Howard Scramble

Distance: 20.1km
Elevation: 1,052m
Time: 7-10h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The views from the summit of Mount Howard are as spectacular as any, but it is the long and wonderfully scenic ridge walk to get there that sets it apart from others in the area.

Mount Howard Scramble Map

Getting there

Take Highway 66 west. 9.4km after the turnoff to Elbow Falls, take the right-hand turn onto Powderface Trail. Follow this gravel road for 14.3km, and park in a turn-off on the right-hand side.

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About

When to do

May - November

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Little Elbow campground

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Scarmbling Rating

Grade 1

Exposure

None

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Mount Howard
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Mount Howard Scramble

Start hiking up along the dry Canyon Creek flats. The scenery along the creek bed is surprisingly nice, especially the colorful rock and sheer cliffs of Mount Bryant to the north.

After 5.0km of hiking along the creek bed, equally split between pleasant hiking on old vegetated river flat and river rubble from the 2013 flood, there is an obvious ascent ridge to start up. A reasonably good trail leads the way through the forest.

The slope steepens significantly at treeline, but remains a simple hike. Fortunately, a light breeze and hats filled with snow kept us cool. This is definitely a hike to do in decent weather and with tolerable wind as it’s over 4.0km of hiking along a ridge from treeline to the summit. The ridge had several highpoints, but the descent off each was always much less than it seemed from a distance.

The final high point before the summit has a good bypass trail to follow. You can then choose between a somewhat steep slope, or ascend along the ridge. The ridge has unstable rubble, but depending on how much snow is around may be the better option, and was the option we chose.

Once past the messy rubble the easy ridge walk resumed, and you quickly reach the base of the summit bump. The final ascent was easy until we encountered an icy snow patch just below the summit. Unfortunately, it was frozen solid and not safe to walk on without crampons, which we didn’t have. Fortunately, there was some snow free bedrock, which was a moderate scramble to the summit.

The view from the summit was spectacular. The snow remaining on the surrounding mountains and in the valleys was beautiful, and the green forest, grey slate, orange scree, and blue sky complemented the whole scene.

On the way down from the summit we found a very easy route around the bedrock we had scrambled up earlier, then crossed the snow slopes from earlier. Continue east along a ridge leading towards Compression Ridge before descending on a ridge heading north and following a minor creek bed back to Canyon Creek. If it is a hot day, wet your hat in Canyon creek and stay cool for the rest of the hike out.

Insider Hints

  • Check the weather before you go, above the tree lines the hike is completely exposed and lightning storms are frequent.

Comments

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bigfootJOE 1 month ago

Mount Howard is a great scramble. It's on the easier side of the difficulty level. So it was perfect for me.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Wicked T 3 months ago

It really has some great views. Took lots of pictures. Great for beginners as well. Wasn't too hard of a scramble.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
7h 45m Time Taken
Cykelly 3 months ago

The ridge walk was really something. It just opens up the landscape beautifully.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
8h 00m Time Taken
3 Comments

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