Avalanche hazard on the last slope under the false and true summits. ***** This was our first 1100m+ elevation gain in winter and it was not bad at all. The views are tremendous almost all the way up because of the burned out forest. We managed to complete it in 5 hours at a fast pace and with no route finding pretty much. This is straightforward and popular enough that we had some snowshoe and ski trails to guide us.
From Numa Falls parking lot, cross the highway and start your ascent staying just right of Vermilion Peak up to the Vermilion-Haffner col. You can`t see Mount Haffner when you start so make sure you always keep in sight the southeast ridge of Vermilion Peak and it`s almost straight up to the col (use our GPS track as a guideline). You will cross an old road at the beginning and then a very dense forest but only for 10 metres or so. Once past that section, it`s easy bushwhacking in the burned out forest up to the col. You will start seeing Haffner false summit just before the col. You can then start turning right toward your goal. Once you`re on the col, it`s straight up to your right to the false summit following the ridge line. When we got closer to the false summit, we cut out to our left and switched back for the last few metres to the true summit. This is the only section where there was avalanche hazard (moderate as per Andrew Nugara’s book). This is definitely worth a visit as views are incredible so you are rewarded for all that elevation gain.
From Banff, stay on Trans-Canada Highway and take the AB-93 S exit at Castle junction. Start your odometer for approximately 24.4 km from the junction and park at the Numa Falls parking lot on your right.
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