Bull Creek Hills

On 24 January 2015, I joined Wietse Bylsma, Matthew Hobbs, Rafal (Raff) Kazmierczak, and Crux (Matthew's dog) for a hike up Bull Creek Hills in the Highwood region of Alberta's Kananaskis Country.  Although I had already hiked here in 2004, I welcomed the opportunity to hike with friends, old and new, and to take advantage of some unseasonably warm weather.  In 2004, we did a counter-clockwise loop which included the high point (east summit) of Bull Creek Hills.  On the most recent trip, we basically hiked the loop in reverse (clockwise), but we also included the slightly lower west summit which I had yet to visit.  Snow patches throughout the trip varied in depth, but we seldom had to post-hole for any significant length of time.  The final approach to the west summit from the south is actually more challenging than expected and requires a bit of route-finding and perhaps even some hands-on scrambling.  The highlight of the day was having a relaxing lunch break on the east summit while being entertained by Raff, Crux and a hacky sack from the geocache located there.

Be sure to check out Matthew's trip report and Wietse's photos.
Watch your step around here--lotsa cow patties! Everyone gears up beside the park sign.
2nd dog in as many trips for me in 2015; the start of a new trend?? Crux faithfully follows the group up the lightly-wooded hillside.
Doh! We're going downhill already! The two highest summits of Bull Creek Hills are straight ahead.  The group would eventually ascend the ridge on the left and descend the hill on the right.
What a nice day for a hike in January! The terrain is generally open and easy.
Don't worry; no avalanche danger here...yet! The slope here is quite steep.
Trickier than it looks, especially in the trees below the west summit. Here is the remainder of the route to the west summit (right).

A couple of must-do peaks for any competent scrambler!

Holy Cross Mountain and Mount Head dominate the view to the west.

Vern...I mean, Wietse, has already gone to the east summit! Matthew and Raff admire Holy Cross Mountain and Mount Head from the west summit of Bull Creek Hills (2142 metres).
If you like long scree slogs, this peak is for you! Here is a closer look at Mount Head.
More interesting and challenging than one would expect. Here is a closer look at Holy Cross Mountain.
Can you spot them in the photo? Matthew and Raff head for the east summit.
Raff is holding a hacky sack and some sort of medal. Raff holds up some of the contents of a geocache found on the 2160-metre east summit of Bull Creek Hills.  Wietse is signing the register.

Ladies, the guys that are wearing orange are single!

Relaxing on the east summit are (L to R) Sonny, Matthew, Crux, Wietse and Raff.

Nice doggy! Crux absolutely loves the snow!
Only one of these guys is truly Dutch though! Orange is indeed the new black!

Photo courtesy of Rafal Kazmierczak

Hey Macarena! Matthew dances on the rocks near the east summit.
Now I can't get that Macarena song out of my head... The broad east ridge will be the group's route of descent.
Had enough of Holy Cross Mountain yet? Here is a look back at the east summit of Bull Creek Hills.  The top of Holy Cross Mountain is just "peaking" over the left-hand ridge.
Crux: Watch where you stick that ice axe, you crazy Pole! Matthew, Crux, Raff and Wietse pause briefly on the descent.
Which means we still have some uphill left... The highway is just on the other side of the low hill in the middle.
One of the best places for year-round hiking! Total Distance:  10.8 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  6 hours 36 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  715 metres

GPX Data