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Climbing (Hiking) Mountain Fisher
Hiking Fisher is one of the most rewarding Alpine activities one can undertake. It is a very steep hike, so certainly not something for untrained legs. The youngest age record is somewhere around seven years of age. There are a few Fisher lovers who have done this hike to the top over 100 times(!). People climb it throughout the year (though we only recommend good stable weather no-snow hikes). And last but not least, the speed record sits around 70 minutes from the parking lot on the Mause Creek to the top.
Some come up there with a city car (silly), but you really should have a car or truck with proper clearance. Four wheel drive is nice but not necessary.
Directions to the Trail-head
- From Fort Steele, turn off the Highway 93 at the Fort Steele Gas Station and Camp Grounds unto the Wardner-Fort Steele Road.
- After precisely 2.0 kilometers, turn left unto Mause Creek Road (totals (T) are from this point.
- Follow the main road for 2.1 kilometers (T 2.1 km), and go straight ahead (do not take the fork to the right).
- After 1.3 km (T 3.4 km), continue straight ahead (do not take the fork to the left).
- After 6 km (T 9.4 km) you will see the trail head sign on the left, and some parking spots mostly on the right.
- The initial climb is steep but fairly well marked. You stay mainly right of the creek, until you have crossed over thinly forested shale. In that area, make sure you look behind you, as you will appreciate both the view and the speed with which you gain elevation.
- Not long after the shale, the trail crossed to the other side (the northwest side) of the creek. You will see a beautiful waterfall on the right. The trail circles around it in a right-hand arc, and passes it on top.
- From there you will reach more shale and boulders and you will notice the trail climbing angle starts to level off. You are reaching the Alpine tucked between peaks on the three sides. The campground is somewhat halfway between this point and the north-east end of the Alpine.
- Leaving the Alpine towards the north-east, hug the feet of the mountain wall on your right (white trail on the picture). Don't get lured into walking on the bolders and rocks, as there actually is a proper trail right at the feet of the mountain on your right. You'll be climbing around 150 meters.
- You will reach a brownish shale area on which you will see a clearly marked trail (the purple trail). The trail is steep and hardly zig-zags. It brings you to the the last ascent of another 150 meters up to the ridge (the blue trail).
- Beware! This steep ascent to the ridge can easily be made wrong. Precisely at the end of the clearly marked trail over the brownish shale you find yourself facing much steeper greyish shale, with some growth and tiny Alpine fir trees to the left and the right of it. Some climb up the shale: Bad idea. Some go left to the firmer ground: Also a bad idea as it gets steeper and more and more difficult and dangerous towards the ridge. Some wander of much to the right on the growth and Alpine fire covered area to the right. Also a bad idea, as it again becomes very steep. What makes this section so elusive, is because there are quite a number of agile mountain goat and big horn trails, making you think you're on a trail. The actual proper ascent is between some 10 to 40 meters to the right of the open greyish shale. Don't wander off too far to the right.
- After this 150 meter ascent (the blue trail ascent) you reach the ridge, at which point you already enjoy stunning vistas.
- Looking towards the top you will see a pyramid towards the top. This final ascent is 300 meters. It is marked by stone pillars, but there are pillars which are wrong... Overall, this ascent is badly marked for a hike climbed this often, so beware. On the picture you see three lines: A green one, a yellow one, and a final red one. The green one keeps somewhat on the right half of the pyramid towards the top, and ascents 100 meters. It is fairly well marked. The middle 100 meters ascent (yellow) keeps in the middle, and the final 100 meters (red) sits on the side of that pyramid left of center. Both the far right and the far left end in ultra steep and dangerous slopes that are profoundly dangerous. Stay away from them, please. Near the top there is the one awkwardly big boulder to cross over. It carries a steel O-ring mounted into the rock to aid you.
- On the top you'll gain your reward. The view is stunning, and you clearly see how high up you are. In the far North, at 140 km, you see the huge pyramid top of Mount Assiniboine (just south of Banff) reaching 3,618 meters. Towards the south, looking along the Steeples ridge or Lizard Mountains range, you will see Dibble Glacier.
What to bring
This is not a small hike for most of us, and it is not without risk of injury. One may sprain an ankle, bang it again rocks, break a leg, etc. Weather may change. In dry seasons water is unavailable in the ascent to the Alpine. There is also no water from the Alpine to the top. We always bring wind jackets, extra sweaters, first aid, a properly charged cell phone (we had to helicopter out once), and first aid gear. My first aid includes a cheap roll of casting plaster. Be wise. I encounter folks in their T-shirts with nothing with them. That's nice if all goes well, and potentially disastrous when things go wrong.
Mountain Man Outdoors, and the author/contributors, to these trail/hike pages, provide this information As Is. These articles are not provided as formal instruction, but merely function as experiences shared to you. You remain fully responsible for your own outdoors adventures. Nature is beautiful and honest. Be safe, be wise.
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