Vic Panei: The summit of the Rimwall in Kananaskis Country (October 28, 2006)
Vic’s View – October 28, 2006:
On Saturday, Oct. 28, Zora, Bob, Murray and I planned to hike to the summit of “The Rimwall”, located
between The Three Sisters and Windtower/Mt Lougheed, in Kananaskis Country. The trailhead is the
same as the Wind Pass/Windtower trailhead, located on the Smith-Dorrien Road on the East side of
Just before reaching Wind Pass, we headed left (North) at a large cairn on the left side of the trail.
From here, we gained elevation through trees and minor rock bands and then headed left (West)
towards a major rock face 20-30 m high. We followed the base of this rock band downhill to a low
point where we easily gained the top of it. From here on, it was the usual grunt going up on slabs,
rocks, scree, and snow with a southwest, cold wind whipping us like I never experienced before.
A couple of times we had to get close to the edge of the cliff overlooking Wind Valley and the wind
scared the hell out of me (in one instance it took my hat, pinned to my shirt, and blew it away
over the cliff like it was a peace of paper).
When we got to about 150m from the summit, it was time for lunch. With the prospect of having
lunch in the open — with no shelter at all from the cold wind and continuing to get sandblasted, we
decided to descend back to the treed area and have a pleasant lunch in the sun and out of the wind.
We agreed that the summit will still be there next year.
On the way back down the trail, we ran into a young couple with their daughter, Zoy, a smiley little
girl with her nose still showing the effects of a playground mishap.
If it wasn’t for the cold wind, it would have been a perfect day, with lots of sun. But, that’s October in
the Rockies! Remember to scroll down for the images!
Mount Lougheed has an elevation of 3,105 metres (10,188 feet). It is located east of Spray Lakes
Reservoir at the head of Wind Creek in Kananaskis Park, Alberta. It was so named in 1926 in honour
of the Honourable Sir James Lougheed. Prior to that date it was referred to as Wind Mountain.
However the renaming of the mountain was not the end of the name “Wind.” The impressive peak to
the south of Mount Lougheed and quite similar in elevation was named Wind Mountain in 1985. To
further complicate matters, the steep-cliff mountain to the right of Mount Lougheed is known as
Windtower Mountain and the ridge immediately southwest of Dead Man’s Flats is called Wind Ridge.
Windtower Mountain has an elevation of 8,819 feet (2,688 metres). This curved, tower-like mountain
is located in the Wind River Valley, northeast of the Lower Spray Lakes and two km northwest of
Mount Lougheed in Kananaskis Park, Alberta. It can be seen from Highway # 1 – check out the
panorama from Dead Man’s Flats.
Wind Ridge has an elevation of 7,150 feet (2,179 metres). This ridge takes its name from the Wind
Valley. This low feature is mostly tree covered and can limit the views from the highway of the higher
peaks at the head of the Wind Creek Valley. It is located in the Bow River Valley, southeast of Stewart
Creek and northwest of West Wind Creek within Kananaskis Park, Alberta. It can be seen from
Highway # 1.
The Rimwall has an elevation of 8,859 feet (2,700 metres). This mountain is named for its distinctive
appearance from the Bow Valley from which a wall of cliffs rims the two sides of the summit. The
northeastern cliffs of The Rimwall lie at the head of West Wind Creek. They are most impressive when
viewed from the Trans-Canada Highway near Dead Man’s Flats. The Rimwall is located between
Spray Lakes and the Bow Valley at the head of West Wind Creek. You’ll find it between The Three
Sisters and Windtower Mountain, north of Sparling Creek within Kananaskis Park, Alberta.
The Three Sisters may be most photographed views in the Rockies. The Three Sisters are probably
recognized by more people driving along the Trans-Canada Highway than any of the other
mountains in Alberta. They are also the peaks most associated with the community of Canmore.
With an elevation of 9,634 feet (2,936 metres), these three peaks were originally named “The Three
Nuns” because they were thought to resemble three praying nuns after a veil of snow was left on
each after a storm.
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.
Climbing up The Rimwall slopes
Lichens Pigeon & Windtower Mountains and Mount Lougheed from The Rimwall slopes
Fighting the wind That’s Canmore down there!
Spray Lakes from The Rimwall
The peak located just west of The Rimwall
Sneaking a peek over the edge! Slowly & Carefully descending
North side of Mount Lougheed from The Rimwall
Zoy, the little hiker, and mama Slopes of the back side of The Rimwall
Vic’s stretching class after the hike!