Vic Panei Grass Pass in Kananaskis Country (October 25, 2006)
Vic’s View – October 25, 2006:
Grass Pass has an elevation of 6,070 feet (1,850 meters). It is located in the hills west of Longview in
Kananaskis Country, Alberta. The summit of this pass is covered with grass – perhaps the reason why
this name was made official in 1980 at the suggestion of Gillean Daffern.
Bull Creek Hills have an elevation of 2,179 meters. They are located in the Highwood River Valley, 5.5
km east of Holy Cross Mountain. Although well established locally because of the fact that the hills lay
at the head of Bull Creek, the name was not made official until 1980. Four years later, in a rather
bizarre turn of events, the creek after which they were named was renamed Cutthroat Creek at the
suggestion of a provincial fisheries biologist. So now there is no longer (officially at least) a Bull Creek
for the Bull Creek Hills to stand beside!
Holy Cross Mountain has an elevation of 2,650 meters. It is located immediately west of the Bull Creek
Hills. Holy Cross Mountain was named by George Pocaterra in the early 1900’s because of the clearly
defined cross which often appears in the spring as the snows are melting off of the east facing slopes.
The appearance of the cross is dependent upon the snow conditions of the previous winter and it
only lasts a couple of weeks at best. The peak lies just north of Highwood Gap, the point where the
Highwood River passes through the front range and into the foothills.
Mount Head has an elevation of 2,782 meters. It can be seen from Highways 40S and # 541. Mount
Head lies to the north of a high, broad saddle which connects it to Holy Cross Mountain, the two
mountains being similar in height. The lower, eastern summit of Mount Head appears on the right
when the mountain is viewed from the Highwood Valley, with a high, jagged ridge leading to the
western summit which overlooks the Upper Highwood Valley. John Palliser named Mount Head in
1859 in recognition of Sir Edmund Walker Head (The Governor-in-chief of Canada from 1863-1868
and an important supporter of the Palliser Expedition.) Mount Head was first ascended in 1934 by
Raymond M. Patterson
For a 3-D view of these mountains, or any of the 1,558 mountain peaks identified on Dave Birrell’s
web site, surf up www.PeakFinder.com and click on the Google Earth link.
On Wednesday Oct. 25, Dee and I went for a hike in the hills West of Longview, with the idea to join
Sherry after the hike for dinner in Longview and then going to Ian Tyson concert at the East
Longview Hall as walk-ins (Sherry wasn’t able to book tickets in advance). Sherry is a real fan of Ian
Tyson, but the same can’t be said of Dee. She would endure an Ian Tyson concert, as long as she
could go hiking on that day! Everything worked fine through the dinner, but, when we went to the
Hall, we were told that there wasn’t any room for walk-ins, absolutely. With Sherry disappointment
but Dee’s joy (and partly mine too) we headed home late in the evening.
We hiked up to Grass Pass, then the South Ridge with the Leaning Fir (again wasn’t able to find the
darn tree) and then to the East up and down 4 of the Bull Creek Hills (in reality they are bumps). We
had a sunny day, but the wind was quite a menace. We tried to stay in the treed area as much as we
could. We had great views of the ranges to the West and, from top of the last couple of Hills, great
views of the Foothills, the prairies and Calgary to the North.
Scroll Down for the images!
Holy Cross Mountain and Mount Head from the Leaning Fir Ridge
Northwest Panorama from the summit of the Bull Creek Hills
Scene at the top of the Bull Creek Hills
Downtown Calgary from the Bull Creek Hills
East Panorama from the Bull Creek Hills
Wind blowing snow off of the mountain peaks