Two runs, two ranges, two countries, two days

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Mont Blanc and the Bossons Glacier from Chamonix  Photo: Canmore Runner

If you follow me on Twitter (@canmorerunner), you will know that i’ve been on a short European trail running adventure. It involved two runs in two stunning mountain ranges (the Alps and Jura), in two countries (France and Switzerland) in two days. And it was terrific. The weather during the French stage was a bit hit and miss, but there’s nothing like darkening skies and rapidly approaching rumbles of thunder to put a spring in one’s step. Continue reading

An overdue salute to the trail builders

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Ms. Canmore Runner enjoying the superbly built High Rockies Trail – Photo: Canmore Runner

I’ve been remiss. I’ve spent almost two years enjoying spectacular trails in and around Canmore and Kananaskis. And i’ve spent close to 18 months writing about those trails on this blog. But have I once spared a thought – or a word or two – for those that volunteer their time and effort to actually build and maintain these trails? Nope. Time to right that wrong as I wouldn’t be having all this fun and adventure without the vision, dedication and hard work of the trail builders.  Continue reading

East End of Rundle: Short, steep, spectacular

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East End of Rundle (left) – Photo: Canmore Runner

Known locally as EEOR, there is nothing gloomy, depressing or otherwise donkey-like about the East End of Rundle. On the contrary, it’s short, steep and spectacular. At an altitude of 2,530m, EEOR looms large over Canmore, along with its fellow Canmore Quad peaks of Ha Ling, Lady Mac and Grotto. The 2.5km trail to the summit (with 899m of elevation) is steep and shaded to begin. But it soon emerges from the trees to reveal spectacular views of the Spray Valley, Ha Ling and – once you’ve scrambled to the summit – Canmore and the Bow Valley. If it’s not on your list of short, steep and spectacular runs, it should be.

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High Rockies Trail 3 – 24km out-and-back from Three Sisters Dam

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Spray Lakes Reservoir and the Spray Valley  Photo: Canmore Runner

You could be mistaken for thinking that the High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis is my new favourite, go-to trail. Once again, I found myself out there, this time covering the 12km section from the Three Sisters Dam (at the northern end of the Spray Lakes Reservoir) to just beyond the “Spray Connector”. Continue reading

High Rockies Trail 2 – Out-and-Back from Goat Creek

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Backside of East End of Rundle (left) and Ha Ling (right) from the High Rockies Trail  Photo: Canmore Runner

The sun was out, the sky was blue, the temperature was heading up towards 20 degrees and my brain was saying “get ye away from this desk and off to the High Rockies Trail”. So that’s what I did. Continue reading

Heart Mountain Loop

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Looking north-east towards Mount Fable and Mount Yamnuska from Heart Mountain. Photo: Canmore Runner

Heart Mountain Loop. A steep, unrelenting, hands on scramble, followed by an undulating and spectacular ridge run as you gradually make your way up to and beyond the summit of Heart Mountain. And then a steep, technical, rocky descent that eventually gives way to an equally steep but more forgiving single track through the trees that gradually flattens out as you head back to the trail head. It’s only around 10.4km but that comes with more than 1,000m of elevation. It’s quite the workout. Continue reading

Yamnuska Loop

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Taking in the view en route to the summit. Photo: Kimberley Al

Thank you Yamnuska. It was epic. It’s only about a 10km loop but you pack of lot into those 10km: a challenging but largely run-able climb that gains around 994m in elevation; easy-going forest trails that deliver you to the exposed and more technical backside of the mountain before reaching the summit with its breathtaking panoramic views. From there, a scorching, scree-skiing descent leads you around the frontside of the mountain and back into the trees before returning to the trailhead. It’s a blast. Continue reading

Stoney Squaw Loop

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Ms. Canmore Runner at Stoney Squaw, Banff, looking north towards Mount Cascade – Photo Canmore Runner

West of Tunnel Mountain, at an elevation of 1884m, Stoney Squaw is a promontory extending east from the slopes of Mount Norquay. It lies at the end of a meandering, 2.2km trail that makes its way steadily upwards through the trees before offering up great views of Banff, the Bow Valley and Mount Cascade. From there you can loop back to the trailhead along a fast, twisty and at times steep and technical descent. Covering a total distance of around 4.5km, with some 393m of elevation, it’s a shorty but a goody. Continue reading

Lady Mac – Part One – the Helipad

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The Three Sisters from Mount Lady MacDonald – Photo: Canmore Runner

One down (well, almost), three to go (sort of).

Mount Lady MacDonald, elevation 2,606m and one of the four peaks that make up the Canmore Quad, the others being Mount Grotto, Ha Ling, and the East End of Rundle. An 8km out-and-back and really quite challenging. It put the whole prospect of attempting the Canmore Quad at some point in the future in a new, more frightening, perspective. Continue reading

New year, new route: Prairie View – Jewel Pass Loop

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View from the trailhead – A frozen Barrier Lake looking towards “Mary Barclay’s Mountain” and Grant MacEwan Peak  Photo: Canmore Runner

I’m not really one for new year resolutions. However, in keeping with an earlier post, looking back to look forward, I have resolved to focus more this year on running in pursuit of adventure and discovery rather than racing, intervals and hill repeats. This is not to say that I won’t train and race. On the contrary, Ms. Canmore Runner and I have signed up for the Broken Goat 50K in July and i’m very excited at the prospect of hitting the trails in Rossland BC. However, I don’t want racing to be all that I focus on this year. I want some adventure.

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