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April 19, 2010
On Friday 15 April, between snowstorms, we decided to see if snowshoeing to Pinetop Hill would be a feasible outing for this activity. This feature overlooks from the south Pinetop day use area along Highway 68, one access to which lies at the end of Homestead Rd. Gillean’s description of the North Access in Kananaskis Trail Guide, 3rd ed., p. 220 (Trail 300) is still accurate, though don’t look for the berm to climb over – it has been bulldozed. Walk straight southeast on the logging road to GR570517 (approx. one km), veering left at this point (red flagging) onto another road, a cutline access, generally heading northeast. Soon this road intersects a NE-SW cutline. A bit later the road turns south and ends, while hikers destined for Pinetop Hill should continue down and then up the cutline to Pinetop ridge at GR586525. Your objective lies another half km to the northwest, easily reached by walking the ridge. The summit is found at GR588429, elevation 1630m, and offers surprisingly good views (including Calgary) through the thin forestation on top.
This trail makes a good, moderate snowshoe (and in summer, hiking) outing. Total elevation gain from the lowest point on the cutline is 162m, with some light bushwhacking on its ascending section leading to the ridge. At present the snow is waist deep and starting to granulate, discovered when we broke through the crust a couple of times. Still nearly all the time we walked on the hard surface. Early in the day we didn’t even need the snowshoes. It took us two hours to reach the summit, which included stops for GPS readings and exploration of the top of the hill with its three minor humps.
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