The ACMG’s Training and Assessment Program (TAP) conducted an Apprentice Hiking Guide Course and Exam in the Canmore area June 20-28, 2020. We spent the first few days working on skills and hiking around Quarry Lake, Engagement Peak (Quaite Valley area) and West Wind Pass. We started the exam on North Buller Ridge for a day hike, and then went backpacking in Kananaskis Country for 3 days.
We had 3 groups backpacking in the Porcupine Creek area, with two of the groups following the route below, and one of the groups completing the trip in the opposite direction. The weather was quite warm and dry for the first two days with highs of 26 and 28 degrees, with light to moderate SW winds. It rained overnight on the 26th, and was relatively cool with a low temperature of 9 degrees. The rain stopped in the early am, and turned into a beautiful morning for hiking. We saw one patch of snow just below a ridgetop at 2000m, but otherwise the area was bone dry – we did have to hunt a bit for flowing water in the creeks.
We did not see any wildlife in the area, but there were quite a few wildflowers out such as: Prairie Crocus, Calypso Orchid, Few Flowered Anemone, Rock Jasmine and White Geranium.
Departing from Baldy Pass trailhead we bushwhacked up and over the shoulder of Midnight Peak (GR 368492), and descended to the North fork of Porcupine Creek. We found water and a good campsite at GR 371480.
The next morning we ascended to the ridge between the North and South forks of Porcupine Creek, continuing SE along the ridge before starting our descent at GR 374466. We walked down the creek for a while and established camp at GR360468 where the creek was flowing well.
From camp we ascended steeply to Wasootch Ridge and used the scramble route as our descent to the parking lot. On our descent we saw many recreational parties out for a hike, none of whom were wearing masks, but seemed to be practicing physical distancing. Overall we found it challenging but manageable to comply with Covid-19 protocols during this trip – it definitely takes some extra planning and diligence to make this work.
Guides: Peter Amann, Alison Cardinal and Adam Burrell
Candidates: Jesse Scotland, Matt Trodden, Jason Lindsay, Alex Peabody, Heidi Nixon, Jordan Chin, Jonas Grabowski and Colleen Hammond