Eagle Hill - No Details - Diary Only

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Date walked: 26/03/2015
Distance: 14.6km
Ascent: 653m
Views: 1

Canada - EEOR is more than a misspelled donkey!

Date walked: 17/03/2015

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 6.8km

Ascent: 898m

Every time you type EEOR into Google it comes back with images and text about a certain donkey friend of Winnie the Pooh, but in this instance there is no similarity. EEOR around here is an acronym for the East End of Rundle, a fantastic hike & scramble up a steep and sometimes dangerous ascent to a stunning overlook above the town of Canmore.

The East End Of Rundle is a scramble rather than a hike and unless you have a head for heights and enjoy a bit of exposure and moderate scrambling you might want to find a less aggressive lump of rock to tackle, particularly when it has a light snow covering.

Parking for the trailhead is either in the Goat Creek Parking lot as per Ha Ling Peak or you can save yourself a couple of kms and park by the roadside in Whitman's Gap. To get there simply follow the signs to Canmore Nordic Centre but instead of turning into the centre itself stay on the road which turns to a gravel logging trail and climbs a steep twisting ascent to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Canmore. A short drive alongside Whitman's Pond keeping your eyes peeled for the double telegraph post will show you the trailhead (fortunately for me today there was a guy parked right there when I i arrived) you can see the trail making its way up toward the poles.


The initial stages of the hike are on a north facing slope, consequently snow and thick ice remain here for months so microspikes are a necessity in all but summer months. The view over Whitman's Pond as you start out sets the day off perfectly. The pond is part of a hydro electric system bringing power to Canmore and surrounding areas. Just beyond the dam where the reflection is in the image below is a near vertical drop of a couple of hundred feet and a great viewpoint over the town.

After a short stint in the forest on north facing slopes I make a 180 degree turn and the hike begins an aggressive south facing ascent over slabby rock and the first glimpse of Mt Rundle appears through trees. Rundle is named after a roman catholic missionary (Reverend Robert Rundle) who visited Banff many times in the mid 1800's.

Looking back (south) along the canal that links Spray Lakes Reservoir to Whitman's Pond I see a nice sun dog to the right of Ha Ling Peak. You can almost see the whole of the Ha Ling ascent from here, though tough going it is just a hike rather than a scramble.

The slabby rock continues and wet melting snow lies in all the places you want to put your feet, but the going is still very good and with just a few hands on spots in the steeper areas it could hardly be described as a scramble at this point. There are now greater views of Rundle which actually stretches 12 km (7.4 miles) all the way from Canmore to Banff, I'm told the scramblers love it and the many challenges it gives them.

The ascent is constant and enough to remind you that you have been laying around all winter eating burgers, the loose rock shifts underfoot constantly but the going is easy enough. The temperatures are really climbing now and, as I set off late today (1pm) they will do so for the whole hike/scramble.

I finally meet up with the owner of the pick up truck parked down at the trailhead, he's a young guy (about 20) sitting on a stump blowing hard "you and me both lad" I say as I approach, he laughed and we had a natter about the usual stuff before I continued on leaving him there shouting "I'll see you up top" to me as I left.

Ahead now is a nice little level area where I can take a steady wander and get my breath back as I assess the ridge to come, all my guidebooks and maps tell me to make to the left toward a low spot that facilitates an ascent over the vertical rock face of the ridge. The books also use terms such as treacherous/risky and confidence/exposure and I found out why when it was my turn to ascend.
I stick to the right initially so I can make the best of the views to the east where Ha Ling peak dominates and Whitman's Pond adds a beautiful splash of colour to the scene. To the left of shot is the town of Canmore, then Ha Ling Peak which slopes down into the Spray Valley and the Smith-Dorrien Trail which runs 75 km (46 miles) through a stunning valley all the way to Kananaskis Lakes.

Continuing upwards, now on loose scree with ice and snow combined it is hard work up the steep slopes, the the views are spectacular, not so much up ahead as all I can see is that damn ridge at this point but to the east, south and west it is a perfect Rocky Mountain vista.

As I top out on another small plateau that ridge seems to be moving further away and the snow has become the 'settled in deep pockets' variety that is the bane of every hikers existence, two steps forward then sink to the knee, two more and sink to the thigh...then cover a distance with no problem and begin to think it was just that piece.....then sink to your knee again!!

I climb a little higher and find a perfect perch where I can enjoy my lunch (which is always oranges and snack bars) only to find I have neither oranges nor snack bars....I've left the lot at home, gutted and running low on energy I have to settle for a few sweets and some energy gels which I have to say worked wonders, and I was soon on the way again.

I made my way out to the edge again for another wide shot of the Rockies, this time I can see all along the Bow Valley on the left and almost down to Spray Lakes on the right, I have finally reached a point where I can see over Ha Ling Peak to the mountain filled horizon beyond.

I finally break away from the edge and those wonderful views and turn west heading across the scree slopes under the final ridge, I think I see the dip to gain access but confess it looks dodgy in these conditions. The 'wall' is about 15 meters (50 feet) high and leaning toward you making the scrambling moderate on a dry summer day and...well, something else today.

Crossing under the wall is again on very loose scree with that lovely 'walk a bit, sink a bit' snow on it that drains energy faster than almost anything else. I am also aware of the constant skipping stones that are bouncing down from the ridge. I stop to look back over the Goat Range to the south and to see if I can see the young lad catching me up, I strain my eyes but don't see him anywhere; he never showed so I guess he turned back.

I find my access point and begin the painstaking job of picking my way along the edge and up the 'steps' of the ridge as the opportunity to do so presents itself. I have to say it is a bloody nightmare in these conditions and I'm walking a tight line between very loose scree and wet snow with ice beneath it...I begin to question my own sanity.

As I get higher the challenge becomes even greater, the 'steps' are covered in an angled topping of loose scree and I find myself kicking in to make a flat spot where I can gain purchase to continue. It is hard going and when I see a large pinnacle sticking out I head that way in the hope of resting behind it.

When I reached the pinnacle I was absolutely knackered, clinging on with every muscle group you have is hard work, I tucked in behind the large rock and laid down with a nice rock pillow, 40 minutes later I woke up in my protected perch a little chilly but with a good suntan on my face. I felt queasy and lightheaded, probably a combination of just waking up and being at 2438 m (8000 feet) I had a couple more energy gels and a good drink before making my final scramble for the summit which was thankfully only another 150 or so metres (500 feet). Finally I'm standing on the East End Of Rundle (sporting a nice tan) but I don't have long to enjoy it as I will need to descend that ugly ridge and get back down before dark....my 'nodding off' really cost me time at the top.

At a final altitude of 2590 m (8495 feet) it is a spectacular view over the town of Canmore, Ha Ling Peak and the Spray Valley, it is still a nice warm day and I really don't want to go back down (though that might be due to having to take on that scramble in reverse which is always more difficult)

To the north is a nice looking ridge and more of Rundle's summits. Rundle could be described as a small mountain range rather than just a mountain, it's 12 km (7.4 miles) size is significant and it's 7 summits are a target for many a scrambler. To reach the main summit you need to access from the north end and head south, the main summit is the 3rd one along. From the south (where I'm standing right now) it is inaccessible to all except those with climbing gear. It is still a fantastic mountain from this end and certainly worth the visit, maybe better done on a dry summer day though.

The ridge looks to be a tantalising prospect from here until you see another 15 m (50 feet) vertical wall just ahead...though it might be worth a return in the summer to see the views from that perspective. For now I call it a day and make my way back to that ridge scramble. I manage to pick my way down almost to safety before a small fall leaves me with a few cuts and bruises but I'm back on terra firma after the drop and make a direct line for the the car park.

It's quite telling about this route that it takes almost as long to descend as it does to ascend (minus any little sleep sessions of course) it is a steep grind with some route finding required at both the top and the bottom, if you are a hiker looking to 'hike' then this really isn't for you; but if you like a hike combined with a little exciting scramble then EEOR is the place to be.

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Comments: 4

Canada - Mockingbird Hill ( A Spring Quickie)

Date walked: 12/03/2015
Distance: 5.6km
Ascent: 354m
Comments: 5
Views: 176

Cox HIll - no details, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 08/02/2015
Distance: 10.4km
Ascent: 620m
Views: 27

Prairie Creek Circuit - no detail, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 03/02/2015
Distance: 14.2km
Ascent: 494m
Views: 24

Canyon Creek Ice Cave - no detail, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 30/01/2015
Distance: 15.4km
Ascent: 298m
Views: 30

1, 2

Canada - Ha Ling Peak - Canmore - Alberta

Date walked: 27/01/2015
Distance: 6.2km
Ascent: 739m
Comments: 18
Views: 650

Loder Peak - no detail, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 22/01/2015
Distance: 11.9km
Ascent: 918m
Views: 25

Grotto Canyon - no details, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 20/01/2015
Distance: 10.4km
Ascent: 340m
Views: 25

Grotto Again - no details, diary only

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 07/01/2015
Distance: 10.4km
Ascent: 340m
Views: 24


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Location: Calgary - Canada
Occupation: Management Consultant - Semi Retired
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Mountain: Mt Rainier - USA
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