Location: Kananaskis Country
Trips: Sept 9, 2012 – Aug 18, 2014 – Aug 2, 2016 – Aug 2, 2016 – Aug 28, 2016
Trip Time: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,111m
Route: Kane (if you’re lucky!)
Difficulty: Climber’s Scramble
(written in 2014)
Mount Smuts deserves its reputation as one of the gnarliest scrambles in Kananaskis. Just getting to the base of Smuts is an adventure not to be taken lightly. The approach trail winds its way through bushes, brush and forest with limited visibility and a stream that mutes most of the noise you’re making in an effort not to surprise any bears…and there are always bears in this area.
Climbing Mount Smuts is really hairy. It’s a complete rush to top out on the ledge half way up. Scrambling Mount Smuts is wreckless irresponsible exhilarating fun, like winding out a crotch rocket on Crowchild Trail or dropping a 20 footer in a mountain bike park. You finish, realize you’ve made it and feel like a million bucks.
There are basically two options on Smuts: chimneys on the right or ridgy bumps and ledges on the left. Both options are totally exposed; you just go for it and try to pick the best line possible, crossing back and forth between the two. There’s the odd cairn to make you feel better but most of the time you just have to keep pushing up and resist the urge to over-think things.
Descending Smuts isn’t too bad. There are rap stations but they’re unnecessary; there is pretty much one line you can follow with cairns all over the place to make it easier. Take your time and you’ll be fine.