Black Rock Mountain
Linda Breton and I both had the day off from work on 14 March 2006, and we decided to hike up Black Rock Mountain in the Ghost River area (east of Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park).  This was our first visit to the area, and I have always been a little apprehensive about coming here mainly because of the rough access road--particularly at a much-ballyhooed steep hill leading down into the river valley.  As it turned out, the road was in far better shape than I had expected, and the steep hill was mostly dry and not too difficult for my Honda CR-V to negotiate.  Down in the valley, we had some trouble finding the correct turn-off to the parking area (it's marked by a stick in a large cairn).  What also complicated matters was that there used to be a wooden ramp and an outhouse near the start of the trail (see Vern Dewit's sixth photo from his trip in April 2005).  On this day, the wooden ramp was lying in the middle of the river bed several hundred metres downstream of the trail head (likely swept by the big floods of June 2005), and the outhouse was nowhere to be seen (we later found remnants of the outhouse crushed under some deadfall in the river bed).  Fortunately, we were still able to spot an obvious trail heading into the trees, and after a short scramble up the steep river bank, we were comfortably on our way up the mountain.

Despite some snow on parts of the route, our ascent was easy and trouble-free except when Linda fell over backwards trying to put on her wind pants!  This minor accident (should we report this to the alpine accidents website?) happened on the upper plateau which was swept by a bitterly cold wind.  The lookout hut offered little shelter from this same wind, and we quickly retreated back down the mountain after only about twenty-five minutes at the summit.  Back at the lower plateau, we took some time to explore some interesting rock formations before continuing our descent.  We made it back to my car after a round-trip time of over 6.5 hours.  On the drive back to the steep hill, we saw a PT Cruiser parked in a spot near where the road crosses the river bed.  We saw no one around and were a little dumbfounded as to why someone would leave their car there.  I had no problems driving back up the steep hill (definitely better than walking up), but a short while later, I took some air when my car went over a bump a tad too fast.  That might be the last time Linda let's me drive her anywhere!

Be sure to check out Linda's excellent trip report and photos.
Not as bad as all the hype (if snow-free).  Go slow. This is the top of the infamous steep hill leading down to the Ghost River.
Hope no one needs to use the outhouse anytime soon... This is Black Rock Mountain as seen from the parking area across the river bed.  A trail heading into the trees is barely visible at lower right (note the absence of the outhouse and wooden ramp).
Now the trip begins to get interesting! Linda breaks out of the trees below some impressive cliffs.
Looks kinda like a giant eyeball in the sky or a mammogram! The sky looks rather surreal on this day.
I'm getting a craving for mash potatoes all of a sudden. Devil's Head dominates most of the views west of Black Rock Mountain.
Much more striking from this side than from Banff, I'd say. This is Mount Aylmer as seen from the lower slopes of Black Rock Mountain.
A most enjoyable hike so far! Linda climbs up through a gap in the cliffs.
On descent, I managed to glissade the thin snow patch behind Linda.  Short but fun! This wall is easily bypassed on the left.
The wind was very cold on this day...brrrrrrrrr! The lookout hut is visible atop Black Rock Mountain's summit block.
Very similar to the crux on Mount Rundle.  Watch your step if it's snowy and/or windy! This is the crux--a narrowing of the ridge just below the summit.
Definitely a fixer-upper! Linda reaches the 2463-metre summit of Black Rock Mountain.  Devil's Head is visible in the distance at left.
That must be some big pencil in there! The summit register canister is astonishingly big.
It's really freakin' cold up here today! This is looking west from the lookout hut.
Be careful about stepping on certain snow patches! On descent, Linda checks out a deep, snow-filled fissure in the ground.
Yikes!  Not recommended if you have acrophobia! Linda bravely steps across a deep crack after visiting a large pinnacle with serious exposure on all sides.
There is much that is worth exploring on this diminuitive mountain. Linda traverses below the last of the big cliffs on her way out.
That must have been some flood in June 2005! The aforementioned wooden ramp can be seen in the river bed several hundred metres downstream of Black Rock Mountain's trail head.