Outdoor Report: An 'inspirational' scramble in Kananaskis Country

For his final Outdoor Report of the season, the Calgary Eyeopener’s Paul Karchut follows a man with MS to the top of Rimwall.

Paul Karchut guided to top of Rimwall by man with MS

Scrambling up Rimwall

5 years ago
For his last Outdoor Report of the season, Paul Karchut tackled a scramble in Kananaskis with someone he calls “inspirational.” 1:56

Relatively easy scrambles close to Calgary, such as Ha Ling or Yamnuska, can be packed with people on a sunny weekend.

So for his last Outdoor Report of the season, Paul Karchut tackled a less-travelled option with someone he calls "inspirational."

Adrian Huysman guided him to the summit of Rimwall in Kananaskis Country. The Calgary junior high school teacher has multiple sclerosis.

"It certainly can make my body feel very heavy and I work through nausea … a lot of pain," said Huysman. "Even with this illness, I'm out here working through it."

Adrian Huysman guided Paul Karchut to the summit of Rimwall in Kananaskis Country. (Paul Karchut/CBC)

You will need some hiking experience, some route finding skills and a certain level of comfort with a bit of exposure, but that's the nature of scrambling — which is defined as having to use your hands for at least part of the trip.

That said, this is a fairly benign choice, with just a few short sections that require that hands-on climbing.

Where is it?

If you've ever hiked up to West Wind Pass, Rimwall has the same start point.

From Canmore, follow Spray Lakes Road for about 22 kilometres. You can park on both sides of the road and the trail starts to the left side of a dry drainage.

We were up and back to the car in a pretty leisurely six hours.

What was it like?

You start on that West Wind Pass trail, then branch off fairly quickly onto a much less used path which pops you up above treeline within the hour.  This isn't larch country so you won't see those changing yellows in the alpine.

Then there's this wicked view of the Spray Lakes below you, the Windtower, Mount Lougheed. That view made slowly picking my way through a long scree slope up to the mountain's ridge just fly by.

And if you have a fear of heights, I would suggest you keep well back from the ridge because there is a very dramatic drop down toward the town of Canmore and a view over to Exshaw and Yamnuska.

You'll feel the butterflies in your belly here, for sure.

And is that the summit?

Not yet. You follow that ridge toward the summit for your final push to the top — which looks far more daunting than it is. This is where the hands-on climbing happens.

I'm not a lover of rocky exposure, but I felt perfectly comfortable on this final section. Just make sure to bring along a good guide book so you can confidently stay on route.

'Even with this illness, I’m out here working through it,' says Adrian Huysman, who has multiple sclerosis. (Paul Karchut/CBC)

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener