Jumpingpound Summit Hike

I had figured we wouldn’t get out to the mountains this weekend (what with the bees and all) but we had such an early start on Sunday that we had time for a quick escape to the mountains while our bees adjusted to their new home. I’d picked out Jumpingpound Summit to hike next weekend, but it seemed to be no reason why we couldn’t do it this weekend instead.

Jumpingpound is in the Sibbald Area of Kananaskis, making it only an hour or so drive from our place. We headed out around 10 am and were hiking a little after 11:15 am. The trailhead is near the end of the Powderface Trail – a narrow gravel road with lots of up and down – which made us wish we’d brought the truck (but was OK in the car). We drove to the Summit trailhead, about 17 km down the road, which is the shortest route up to the ridge and the top of Jumpingpound Mountain. Our guide-book recommends walking the whole ridge but we didn’t have time (or energy) for a 17 km full day adventure so we planned to hike up and back to the summit.

The trail was quiet when we started – there were only 3-4 cars in the pull out – and we didn’t see anyone else until we were almost to the ridge. Most of the way up is on well maintained switchbacks. The trail was wide and pretty even and the only obstacles we encountered were a few blown down spruce and some snow patches that we skirted around. When we intersected the ridge trail (at ~2.5 km) we found a lot more snow but nothing impassable where we were. Patches didn’t like going through the snow but was happy to take breaks and lie in it.

After less than an hour of hiking we’d cleared the trees and were on the ridge. The views from the ridge at this point were amazing, especially since we’d climbed only about 300 m of elevation. I was busy looking where we were heading but the views behind were even nicer.

Jonny tried to take a few photos of Patches and I with the mountains in the background but he just wouldn’t turn around and put his back to the view (and the ground squirrels).

We carried on up the grassy slope, which was just starting to get wild flowers on it, until we came to the side trail that led from the main ridge trail to the summit of Jumpingpound.

All the trail intersections were signed which made this an easy hike to navigate and I never had to consult the book at all once we made it to the trailhead. We hiked off the ridge and along the well-defined trail to the summit. I’d definitely come back on another day and explore the ridge further. The views along it looked amazing!

At the summit we posed for a family shot before the batteries on the camera unexpectedly died. I was quite sad but at least we got one attempt of a photo of us done! We sat for a few minutes on the rock admiring the view but the breeze was chilly and we headed down before we had to share our summit with the hikers we could see heading up the trail.

On the way down the snow was already melting and probably if we’d hiked it next weekend wouldn’t have covered the trail at all. We met quite a few groups on their way up as we headed down and again we were happy that we’d had an early(ish) start. The way down took almost as long as the way up (about an hour) but we stopped more to let the dog swim in a creek and chat with people.

Overall it was  fantastic half day adventure. The round trip hiking distance was just under 7 km and the elevation gain wasn’t challenging. I’d definitely go back – either for another shoulder season hike to the summit or for a longer adventure on the ridge.

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