Fortress Mountain: Scrambling It Will Make You Feel Like a Conquerer

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Fortress Mountain has many things in common with more traditional fortresses.

The popular peak located in Kananaskis in the Canadian Rockies is difficult, but not impossible to penetrate. Like any true fortress, if you want to conquer it, you’re going to have to work for it. It’s hiking challenges like this that can change your life.


Fortress Mountain, a great scramble in Kananaskis in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

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It’s between 18-20 km long of hiking and scrambling roundtrip, depending on which route you take. Then, there are the 1100 meters of heart-pumping elevation gain. It’s definitely a mountain adventure.

Some of which is very slow going on the hiking trail. There’s nothing fast about digging each foot into a steep snow drift, making sure your foot is secure, before digging the next step.

But if you want to reap the rewards of conquering any fortress, you’ve got to be prepared to put the work in. And in this case, the expansive views over the Rocky Mountains more than compensate your effort. Not to mention that YES, I did it! feeling. And how do you put a price on a sense of achievement and adventure?

As with any true fortress, one must be prepared for anything. That’s especially true when it’s located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. That could be camping in snow – in June or wildlife encounters. We narrowly avoided a large grizzly on the way back!

Instead of bullets being whizzed at your or blazing cannons fired your way, at Fortress Mountain you may face a different element. I’m talking about the temperamental weather.  When I was there, I was pelted by hail close to the size of hail almost the size of golf balls.

Then it started thundering and lightning! Believe me, the very last place you want to be during a lightning storm is on a high peak! It did motivate me to make one of my quickest ever descents though!

For more info on scrambling Fortress Mountain contact the tourist office in Kananaskis Country.  The trail starts at the trailhead for Chester Lake.

Once you leave Chester Lake it turns into an unmarked unofficial trail, making for a true adventure! But as Fortress Mountain is a popular scramble,  the tourist office can likely give you some info on the trail conditions and current weather.

Regardless, always be prepared with rain gear and bring gloves and a hat – even if it’s a hot day, see my day hiking packing list for a complete list. The weather can change really quickly.