Stoney Squaw Mountain
Elevation: 1886 m
Elevation Gain: 190 m
Stoney Squaw Mountain is the second smallest peak in the immediate vicinity of Banff. Only Tunnel Mountain is smaller. The peak’s name arose as the result of a traditional story involving a brave Assiniboine woman who cared for her sick husband for several months by hunting for game in open clearings on the peak’s flanks.
April 13 2014
GPS Track: N/A.
Hot on the heels of a 30 km-long run the day prior, Brianne and I were due to have a rest day. Of course, to me “rest” means “climb a small mountain.” With completely clear skies and sunny spring weather upon us, we opted not to waste the day on the couch and instead took our sore muscles to Banff where we masqueraded as tourists for the afternoon. First on the agenda: a brief walk up tiny Stoney Squaw Mountain. We brought snowshoes but left them in the car upon seeing that trail had, not surprisingly, already been broken for us.
Starting our afternoon with a stunning view of Mount Rundle, high above the Banff townsite. Actually, this view was from a road-side pullout on the drive up to the Mount Norquay ski resort parking lot/Stoney Squaw trailhead. Sadly, it may have been the most scenic stop of the day!
The Bow River winds through the town of Banff below Sulphur Mountain and more distant peaks of the Goat Range.
A closer look at beautiful Mount Rundle and its diminutive neighbour Tunnel Mountain.
While the views from the road-side pullout were sublime, those on the actual Stoney Squaw hiking trail left a little more to be desired. While the fresh snow on the trees was pretty, the lack of grander vistas did grow somewhat tiresome by the end of the short 2 km hike.
So there ARE mountains through all of those trees! Brianne enjoys a rare view of Mount Rundle through the forest near the summit.
At the summit, a small clearing in the trees grants you a view of Cascade Mountain 1,112 meters above. Not accustomed to climbing such small bumps, when Brianne finally saw Cascade through the trees, she panicked thinking that that was the “easy” summit that I was taking her up!
Large cornices guard the summit of Cascade Mountain.
Trying to see the forest through the trees.
As good as the views get on Stoney Squaw Mountain: a panorama of the nearby Fairholme Range. Click to see larger.
Peaks of the Fairholme Range: Mounts Inglismaldie (left) and Girouard (right).
Impressive towers along the west ridge of Mount Girouard – the highest point in the Fairholme Range.
Peaks of the Fairholme Range: Mount Peechee.
After taking a couple of photos on the summit, we started our descent, stopping once or twice at clearings to try to see a little more.
Looking west up the Bow Valley; Eagle Mountain (aka: Goat’s Eye Mountain) visible in the center.
Mount Bourgeau above (ironically) much smaller Massive Mountain to the west.
The happy couple stops to pose for a photo in a clearing just below the summit.
One half of the happy couple grew less happy as the other stopped for too long to take pictures. The picture-taker was subsequently bombarded with snowballs.
After agreeing to put away the camera, I was forced to chase Brianne back to the parking lot as she raced downwards hoping to get back to Banff in time for happy hour. I’m pleased to report that we made it to the Banff Brewing Company with time to spare…