Zosia Zgolak and I made plans to see a Polish movie at the European Film
Festival in Calgary late in the afternoon on 10 November 2018, but not
wanting to let a nice day go to waste, we chose to ascend Ben’s Hill that
morning near Elbow Falls in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country. Joining
us for the short hike, as described by
Gillean Daffern, were Andrew Chinnick, Wendy Kadar, Dinah Kruze, Ali
Shariat, Bob Spirko, and Wendy’s dog, Ruthie.
Starting from Elbow Falls parking lot, we headed east along Highway 66
for a short distance until we passed an obvious drainage.
Scrambling up the embankment north of the highway, we quickly found a
good trail running up the east side of the drainage. This trail is
unofficially known as “Loamzilla” and is mostly used as a downhill run by
mountain bikers. Despite a light dusting of snow, the trail was
very easy to follow, and we had no serious issues hiking up the drainage.
A minor cliff band partway up poses no serious difficulties, but the
trail can be dangerously slippery here in wet conditions.
About 2.5 kilometres from the highway, an unsigned junction marks the
turnoff to the top of Ben’s Hill. We turned left (west) here and
soon reached a large clearing with a mysterious ring of rocks. The
summit is located near the north edge of the clearing, and a geocache
with a register is also hidden nearby.
After taking a break at the top, we retraced our steps back down the same
trail. Not paying enough attention, Zosia and I ended up hiking in
the wrong direction when we missed our turn at the unsigned junction.
We only noticed our mistake when we came across a trail sign that we did
not remember seeing on the way up. Thankfully, the others were nice
enough to wait for us lower down, and we soon rejoined them for the rest
of the descent which was mostly uneventful except for a small spill I
took at the minor cliff band where I slipped on some mud.
Fortunately, only my ego was bruised.
Be sure to check out Bob’s trip
||At Elbow Falls parking lot, Ali,
Andrew, Wendy (and her dog, Ruthie), Zosia, Dinah and Bob are set for
an epic adventure on Ben's Hill.
||The others wait as Andrew climbs up a
section of trail that breaches a minor cliff band.
||Bob climbs up one of the steeper
sections of trail.
||Zosia leads the group along a flatter
section in the forest.
comes into view as the group enters a clearing near the top.
Gathered on the summit of Ben's Hill
(~1935 metres) are Sonny, Zosia, Ruthie, Ali, Wendy, Dinah, Bob and
||Near the summit is this interesting
ring of stones with a fire pit in the middle.
||Here are the contents of a nearby
hidden geocache which includes a summit register.
||Ruthie stands guard while Zosia signs
the summit register. The stack of rocks might be the grave site
of someone's beloved pet.
||Not seeing this sign on the way up,
Zosia suddenly realizes that she took a wrong turn at an important
junction on her descent.
||The group tries to figure out how
mountain bikers manage to ride down the section of trail that
breaches the minor cliff band.
||The most dangerous part of the trip is
crossing Highway 66 near Elbow Falls parking lot.
Distance: ~6.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 2 hours 49 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: ~435 metres