Carbondale Lookout
Kelly Bou and I headed to the Castle Wilderness in southwestern Alberta on 19 April 2009 in hopes of hiking up to Whistler Lookout.  Because the access road for Whistler Lookout was choked with snow, we decided to hike up nearby Carbondale Lookout instead.  Right off the bat, a gate on the Castle River road caused some confusion, and we ended up hiking along the wrong fire road for quite a distance.  By the time we realized our mistake, it was too late to backtrack.  Instead, we simply made a beeline for the hilltop using GPS to navigate.  Lingering deep snow made travel through the light forest rather annoying at times, but we made better progress once we cleared the trees.  We eventually came across the proper fire road, but because it was mostly choked with snow, we elected to go off-trail and climb up the open ridge.  A chilly wind greeted us at the top, and we had a quick lunch before retreating back down the ridge.  Although the first part of our descent was trouble-free, we encountered nasty bushwhacking combined with tiresome post-holing as we entered the forest lower down.  Ultimately, we regained the snow-choked fire road and were quite happy to be just post-holing without the bushwhacking.  We reached the Castle River road shortly thereafter and walked another easy kilometre back to my car (round-trip time of 4.75 hours).
We should have kept walking down the main road for another kilometre to the proper start of the fire road. Kelly takes some photos of the trees.  Carbondale Hill is visible at upper left.
Finally get some views! After some miserable post-holing, Kelly regains the fire road.
The wind was definitely bone-chilling! There are some interesting cornices along the ridge.
Pretty nice views from this lookout. Carbondale Lookout sits atop Carbondale Hill.
Elevation gain from the main road is about 500 metres. Here is the welcome sign for the lookout.
Actually took less time to bag Table Mountain than Carbondale Lookout! To the southeast is Table Mountain.
I have some unfinished business on Barnaby Ridge. Barnaby Ridge and Southfork Mountain (right) are to the south.
I still haven't skied this resort...yet. Mount Haig looms over Gravenstafel Ridge (right) and Castle Mountain Resort.
The highest peak is the one on the right. The three peaks of Syncline Mountain dominate the view to the southwest.
Doesn't look like any easy routes from this side! West of the lookout is spectacular Mount Darrah.
High on my to-do list this year. Centre Peak stands out to the north.
Too steep and too much snow! Kelly unsuccessfully tries to find a way down the north side of the lookout.
Wish we could have gotten a helicopter ride off this miserable little hill! Kelly checks out the helipad which appears to be what is left of an earlier lookout building.