Saturday, October 15, 2011

Climbing Turtle Mountain in Crowsnest Pass

As I’ve indicated before I volunteer as an 11 year old scoutmaster for our local Boy Scout organization. I like the 11 year old scouts the best as they still kind of think your cool. Also, when you go on activities it’s usually the first time they’ve done anything like that so it’s the best camp/hike/time they’ve ever had.

Another reason I like the 11 year old scouts. They are still young enough to miss their mom and dad. Often when they get dropped off at an activity they still hug and sometimes kiss their parent goodbye. Too bad it only takes a year or two for them to forget all that niceness. ha.

Here are the photo’s and recap from our camp and hike.

We crammed into my old Intrepid. I pray every day that this car will just last another year. I’ve been saying that prayer for 5 years now so I guess it must be working. We started off the activity with radio blasting and kids yelling.

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Got to our campsite late and had to put the tents up in the dark. If you are travelling from Pincher Creek, the Lundbreck Falls provincial campground is a great place to camp. And it’s only about 20 minutes from the base of Turtle mountain.

I tell the scouts I’m not their mother and let them figure things out with putting up their tent etc. It usually takes about 2 hours for the tent to get fully setup. These wonderful scouts did it in less than an hour. Not bad for newbie scouts.

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I treated everyone to some A&W and we had some fun around the campfire.

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The scouts made their own breakfast. All three of them came with like a 5 course meal. My breakfast is the can of chilli on the grill. I sure am glad I’m not a bachelor anymore. My assistant is still a bachelor and his meal was ravioli in a can. Ladies, better snatch him up while you can. Good guys like him don’t come along everyday.

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One scout even brought a mechanism to make toast. Here he is making 071

Here’s what  a boy scout camp table looks like. I sure it’s just a little bit messier than the girl scouts. You can see the toaster contraption on the table if you look close.

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Although one scout did say he brought lots of spices for his meal. I was disappointed there was no basil or paprika but I guess my canned chilli didn’t need all that much spicing up.

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Here’s how one scout made hash browns. He didn’t have a pan so cooked them up on a pie tin. Worked ok I suppose.

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Lundbreck Falls in the morning.

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OK, onto Turtle Mountain. Don’t believe any directions you get when trying to find the trail head. We drove around Blairmore about a half an hour asking everyone how to get to the starting point. Three different people finally got us where we needed to go. We were all impressed with how nice the people were around town. Even the big biker dude was cool and he gave us the best directions.

Here is a map of how to get there. Blairmore’s (really nice little town I’d like to explore more) main street is near the top of the picture. You drive in and take the first left over the railroad tracks. then follow the blue lines to where I indicate to park. It’s a back alley off of 135 street close to 15 Ave. Park your vehicle and walk down the hill and back up about half ways until you see all the painted rocks indicating the start of the trail head.


After 5 mins everyone was asking if we were almost there. The hike is pretty well straight up. It took us about 2 or 2.5 hours to get to the top. We kept saying it must be just around the corner in hopes we could encourage everyone on.

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The view was pretty cool. Here’s Crowsnest mountain in the background.

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Another hiker brought is dog and we got really acquainted with Rosco. The hiker had his 10 year old son with him and they followed up behind us on the trail.

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Looks pretty content doesn’t he?

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Not sure what this is. Looks like everyone throws on their walking stick as they go by.

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At the top of Turtle Mountain...Almost. This is the North peak. camp 086 You can climb another little ways to the actual summit but if you notice there was a lot of snow and sketchy trails leading up to the other peak so we backed off. It probably would have been fine earlier in the year but Mid October weather was a bit chilly for us.

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Kind of intense to see the slide up close. The trail hikes right along where the mountain fell off. I was nervous the whole time one of the boys was going to act like an 11 year old scout and do something silly. Luckily they were all very well behaved.

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The white dot in the middle of the shot below just to the left of where the rocks end is the Frank Slide interpretive center.

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My “I’m the king of the world” pose. I’m quite a poser.

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A few of the scouts didn’t want to even get close to the edge. I don’t blame them. It was awesome to see but kind of freaky as well.

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That’s Blairmore below. I was pretty impressed we could do this hike. The hike is about 3000 feet pretty well straight up.

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More Frank Slide pictures.

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OK, I’m not that big of a poser compared to some.

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Highway 3 running through the valley.

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Greg Duchscherer, your mark is still at the top. I’m wondering what kind of paint was used to still be there since 1982. I guess he wanted to make sure he never had to do this hike 100

Yoga on the mountain.

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After looking back up to where we climbed to it was a great feeling to see how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it

The ride home was a delight. I was wondering why it was so quite when I looked back and saw this funny sight. I guess you can wear out an 11 year old scout.

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All in all it was a great trip. I would recommend the hike to any scouting troop. There are many small peaks up to the top so if you decide enough is enough there can be good turning back points all up the trail. The final stretch isn’t for the little ones. I think we were on the edge of being just able to make it. One scout just turned 11 a few weeks ago so this was his first time on any trip like this. He made it up and down with a bit of encouragement even if a few spots were a little iffy.

Good job boys.


  1. Hi,

    My name is Greg Duchscherer. It was me who signed the top of this hike over 30 years ago. I was 16 and I hiked from Hillcrest across the slide face to this spot then down to Blairmore. It took 8 hours in total. As I recall it was quite scary walking along the slide face/cliff as it was so unstable, huge cracks and loose rock! My cousin Terry and I crawled on our bellies to see over the edge as we were too scared to stand and look down! I have hiked Turtle 9 or 10 times, but not recently.

    I cannot believe it is still there! I can't remember what paint I used, but it must have been the right one!

    Thanks for posting! It was quite a surprise for me to see it!

    Greg Duchscherer (

    1. I came home from a business trip last night and the first thing my wife said was "did you see that comment?" I was just being funny putting a picture of your name on the post and we did the hike about a year ago. Maybe I should start a hobbie of taking photos of names of places I hike and posting them on my blog. This has been the most surprising comment I've ever had. Thank for letting me know some of the details of your hike 30 years ago. Just curious, how did you come across this post?

    2. I periodically Google search my own name and it showed up on the search! Definitely not a common name!

      Feel bad about the "graffiti", however it was an unexpected surprise to see it again.

      Yes, it might be an interesting hobbie!