Trail to Old Baldy

What is  the condition of the popular (unofficial) trail  up McDougall Creek now that a few years have passed since the 2013 flood?  Undoubtably, the flood waters did a number in the valley, spreading  cobbles and flood debris across the floor and eroding the banks.

Old Baldy1-deadfall across

Deadfall to step over.

I can report  the going is pretty good to the Y-junction with the southwest ridge route to the helipad. In the V-shaped valley beyond, though, you need to keep a sharp eye out for flagging  and cairns of all sizes indicating bypasses, a few of which are quite substantial, like the new walk up the cobbles of the creaked. Most notably, the traverses across first and third banks have been abandoned, which means four creek crossings and stints along the east bank. The first east bank bypass has a trail, the second no trail and hikers are either pushing a route  through deadfall close to the creek or wading inland through more open bush. Second and fourth banks are crossable, but care is needed. The end result is that all the changes eat up more of your time, so start  early if you want to get to the top of Old Baldy.

Old Baldy2-deadfall debris

Log jam om the east bank can be avoided by going into th trees.

Old Baldy3-creek deadfall

Typical view down the creek,

Old Baldy6-beyond fourth

At the first creek crossing showing the washed-out trail up and across the first bank.

Old Baldy4-gill crossing

Crossing the creek to avoid the first bank.

Old Baldy5-fourh bank

Looking up at the remains of the third bank crossing.

Alf envisages a new trail that completely misses out the problematic lower creek by using the burn and the forest of the east bank. If we had to start all over again making a trail, this would definitely be the route to go. Question of the day: If a new route is flagged, will people follow it?


6 comments… add one
  • Stuart Jul 29, 2018, 9:14 am

    Just did this via loop going up the creekbed to the tarn then up to the ridge and down the alternate route on the ridge above the creek. The creekbed trail is a lot better now as some new trails have been forged, but at least two creek crossings are still necessary. The route on the ridge down is well marked, although you need to trust when the cairns indicate to leave the Ridgeline to go straight down the boulder field (would have been more obvious if we had ascended this way).

  • Gillean Daffern Sep 9, 2017, 12:37 pm

    Hi HRP.
    In the next edition of Volume I, I am omitting the west flank descent to Boundary Ranch. In its place will be the south ridge route. Not perfect.(the boulder slope!) but it makes a better loop.

  • HRP Sep 8, 2017, 2:24 pm

    With 12 A’s from the Evergreens on Thursday, we did what looks like a new route straight up the ridge, ignoring the creek approach. It was fairly obvious. The continuation down to Boundary Ranch wan’t obvious and I think that we went a little too far north before turning west and down. That made it a long hot, dry and thirsty hike. Then when we hit the road / horse trail, we had a little trouble finding the shortest route to the Ranch. It took 7 hours v the planned and allowed 6 hours. GPS track available.

  • Kaptain Kananaskis Sep 3, 2016, 7:53 am

    New flagged trail = yes most definitely, I would hesitated to do this again due to the creek bed washout.

  • GMJ Aug 29, 2016, 5:00 pm

    I would probably follow it if it’s nicely routed and isn’t just a flagged bushwhack.

  • Gillean Daffern Aug 27, 2016, 5:55 pm

    So everyone is either on holiday or is quite happy to flog up the creekbed??

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