I hooked up with Dinah Kruze and Bob Spirko on 13 October 2007 to hike up
Sugarloaf Lookout near the headwaters of the Oldman River in southwest
Alberta. Since I was continuing alone to Cranbrook, British
Columbia at the end of the day, we drove two separate vehicles on this
trip. Our original intension was to hike up nearby Livingstone
Lookout from the northwest, but after a quick perusal of the necessary
ford of the Livingstone River, I "chickened out" (as Dinah so aptly
described my decision to bail). Besides getting cold feet, I was
also not particularly keen about the ensuing long approach (8.3
kilometres one-way from the ford). Therefore, we decided to ascend
Sugarloaf Lookout instead. After leaving Bob's car near Dutch Creek
Campground, we piled into my car and drove west along Dutch Creek Road.
Although neither Bob nor I had brought along a route description, I felt
confident that we would have no problems since I had
previously hiked partway up the road leading to the lookout.
Unfortunately, extensive logging activity had significantly changed the
look of the landscape near the access point, and I had a difficult time
remembering the location of the correct turnoff. Bob actually had a
map with a cursory description of the access point for Sugarloaf Lookout,
but he had left it in his car because I had assured him that I knew where
I was going! After a couple of false starts (one of which turned
out to be the correct road after all), we drove all the way back to Bob's
car to pick up his map, and then we drove all the way back to the correct
turnoff (8 kilometres west of Dutch Creek Campground). Since my
previous visit here, not only had a lot of the forest disappeared, but
the rough road had been improved such that I was able drive much further
than before (saving us at least 2 kilometres one-way and about 300 metres
of elevation gain). After all the driving around that morning, we
were relieved to finally start hiking, but apart from some off-trail
diversions, the hike itself was unremarkable. Still, the fantastic
views and an abundance of golden larches made the outing worthwhile.
Our round-trip time was a little more than 3.5 hours.
Be sure to check
out Bob's trip report
||Dinah and Bob hike up the road to
||After leaving the road, Bob and Dinah
head straight up the hillside.
||Dinah grinds her way up the grassy
||Bob and Dinah scramble up some rock
bands on the way up.
Bob plods up the last few metres to Sugarloaf Lookout.
||Sugarloaf Lookout is the highest active lookout in Canada
with an elevation of 2517 metres. The compass rose in the
mosaic is apparently oriented accurately.
||This is Gould Dome (2894 metres) as
seen from Sugarloaf Lookout.
Tornado Mountain (3099 metres) looks impressive to the west.
||Here is a close-up of the upper part
of Tornado Mountain.
||Dinah looks southeast toward the
Livingstone Range. Thunder Mountain
(2347 metres) is the bump on the left.
||Bob, Dinah and Sonny pose for a group
photo with Gould Dome and Tornado Mountain in the background.
||Dinah eases on down the road.
||Bob and Dinah take a short cut to skip
a few switchbacks.
||Dinah and Bob try to keep this rock
from rolling across the road.