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An Early Season Ascent of Panther Mountain
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.25 - 03:30:37
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges / Palliser Range
  (3 days)
Participants: Rick Collier
Difficulty: 2: A long approach but easy scrambling
This article recounts a three-day solo trip I did in 1993 that took me by bicycle and foot to Wigmore Lake in the Front Ranges and then E up the easy slopes of Panther Mountain
I simply could not find anyone addled enough to join me on this three-day trip into an area of the park renown primarily for its lower, rounded, front-range peaks and rumoured to be inhabited by copious numbers of grizzlies. Besides, it was still early season and, as is so often true of the June-early July period, subject to intermittent but intense rain. Still, I had heard that, after the somewhat dull start along the Cascade Fire Road, this front country becomes sufficiently variegated in vistas and vegetation as to possess its own unique charm. With all this in mind, I determined to set out on another multi-day solo adventure into 'bear country'.

For several work-related reasons, I started out from Calgary late on July 6, 1993, arriving at the Bankside staging area for the fire road in the afternoon. I loaded up the panniers on my mountain bike, cinched down the load on my rear rack with bungee cords, and puffed up the first long hill in my lowest gear, plunging eventually downhill to the bridge; after crossing the Cascade River, I dawdled N up the rolling contours of the gravel road to its intersection with Stony Creek (13 km) (GR 976/894 on 82 O/5 - Castle Mountain), which is as far as cycling is allowed (the prohibition against mountain bikes proceeding any further is clearly a sop to the outfitters - who claim that bikes scare their horses - since the road all the way to Flints Park is virtually made for cycling).

I should mention that after passing the summit lake prior to the bridge, it started to rain, a condition that, in addition to making the riding cold and unpleasant, also meant that I had to stop several times to clean the mud from my cog set and derailleur; however, this problem was no where near as ugly as I have encountered on other wet trails....

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