From the Mount Yamnuska parking lot, we wandered east to an obvious telephone line and followed it straight uphill. While the telephone line eventually turns eastward, we kept to a cut-line going in the same direction uphill until it petered out. We eventually veered eastward ourselves in hopes of rounding the shoulder of Yamnuska Ridge without having to actually climb over its crest. Travel was initially easy on the south-facing slopes of the ridge, but we encountered more bush as we turned northward. After some moderate bushwhacking, we stumbled onto a road which appeared to be headed in the right direction. We followed this road briefly, but after checking my GPS, I realized that the road would not lead us down to Old Fort Creek, at least not directly. We left the road and bushwhacked downhill for a short stretch until we hit another road parallel to the first one but lower down. This second road led us down to Old Fort Creek, and we were soon hiking along the creek bed toward our objective. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a good trail leaves the creek and climbs up to Association Pass which separates Association Hill from its namesake peak. Instead, we took our cue from Spirko's route and left the creek bed when it seemed feasible to climb up the lightly forested hillside. We ended up hiking a more roundabout route to the summit than Spirko, but travel was generally easy anyway.
Zosia and I enjoyed a very pleasant 50-minute break at the top before commencing our descent. After weaving in and out of trees for a bit going toward Association Pass, we broke out onto a big grassy slope and made a beeline for the aforementioned trail which we had spotted from the summit. This trail took us all the way down to Old Fort Creek without fuss, but I was a bit dismayed to learn that we had earlier left the creek bed only mere metres short of the trail. We subsequently retraced our steps along the creek bed and back up the second road. We actually climbed most of the way over the end of Yamnuska Ridge by staying on this road, and when the road turned east, we left it to hike cross-country toward a large unnamed lake just north of Highway 1A. After crossing a wet, marshy area, we stumbled onto yet another road on the north side of the lake and followed this road all the way back to the telephone line we had started up earlier in the day. The entire return trip turned out to be a lot less painful than I was expecting which should make future trips to this area more enticing.
Best of all, I was privileged to
share this 'accidental' hike with a most engaging companion in Zosia, and
even a few uninvited ticks were not enough to ruin our wonderful day in
the hills. A clearing grants this unobstructed view of Mount
Yamnuska's north face. The east face of Association Peak dominates the view
to the west.
Zosia follows a series of telephone
poles up the hill.
The cut-line peters out in a grove of aspen trees.
Zosia finds a nice deer antler.
Although it was cloudy earlier, the
skies begin to clear over the peaks to the south.
Zosia heads down a road leading to Old
Fort Creek. Association Peak, End Mountain and Association Hill
are all visible in the distance.
Old Fort Creek is very easy to ford.
Leaving the creek bed, Zosia bushwhacks up the slope.
The ridge begins to open up a little
near the top. Association Peak looms behind the trees.
Zosia pauses just before the final
rise to the top of Association Hill.
Sonny and Zosia stand near the
1930-metre summit of Association Hill with End Mountain in the
The view to the south includes Mount
Here is a more comprehensive view of
Association Peak and End Mountain.
Zosia follows a good trail which leads
all the way down to Old Fort Creek.
Distance: 20.2 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 8 hours 26 minutes
Total Elevation Gain: 943 metres
A clearing grants this unobstructed view of Mount Yamnuska's north face.
The east face of Association Peak dominates the view to the west.