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Conquering Fisher’s Peak

I grew up in a small town in the Canadian Rockies called Cranbrook. Everyone in Cranbrook knows Mount Fisher (or as we call it, Fisher’s Peak). It looms over the city a pointy pinnacle of rock significantly taller than any of the surrounding mountains. For some reason, despite all the hiking I did when I lived there, I never climbed it before I moved away.

When I was home in June of 2012, I knew I had to climb Fisher’s Peak. So, at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning my girlfriend Emilie, my brother, and my brother’s friend Dan piled into a pickup truck and set out to climb the beast. That day, at the age of 33, I finally conquered Fisher’s Peak.

It’s not the hardest hike I’ve done, but it’s a very serious one. It was well worth the effort as you will see below.

It takes about an hour to drive to the trailhead from Cranrbook. About half of that time is spent on small modestly maintained logging roads. Driving a car is not recommended. The trailhead is small and nondescript marked only by a wooden sign.

The hike is short distance-wise–only about 10km round-trip on the horizontal plane–but there is a very significant elevation gain of 1400 meters to reach the peak, which stands at 2846 meters. So, on the way up, you’re going about one meter up for every three meters you go forward. The trail starts by climbing steeply through a glade of trees.

After leaving the glade you get a short break as the trail levels off to a mild incline and the trail follows the base of a slide towards a waterfall.

After climbing a steep pitch beside the waterfall you come to the saddle, a relatively flat area beneath the peak with a small glacial lake. Peaks rise up steeply on both sides. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the hike.

Here are a few of the peaks that you hike beneath. The moon was still out as we hiked beneath them.

Depending on the time of year there is usually a river of snow flowing down into the saddle. You can climb either the snow or the loose shale beside it. We found the snow easier.

As you near the peak the trail gets quite steep and a bit of climbing and scrambling is necessary, but nothing too serious.

Here’s my brother relaxing with a drink before we attempted the final ascent to the peak.

Here’s Emilie enjoying the view from the peak.

The walk down is where things get tricky. The steep ground and loose shale are very hard to navigate on shaky legs.

When we got to the snow, however, it was time for some fun. My brother gestured for me to get my camera and shouted, “Have you ever seen the penguin?” Then he dove head first onto the narrow strip of snow, sliding down on his chest with his arms splayed behind him like a penguin down an iceberg. It was hilarious. It was also a bit crazy. There were rocks in the snow. I know because I hit a couple with my butt while sliding down the snow on my ass.

Rocks in the butt and sore feet aside, it was an awesome day.

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9 Responses to Conquering Fisher’s Peak

  1. Christina M July 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Crazy views! So gorgeous. Half Dome is next on my list but I am a little scared!!

    • Matt Gibson July 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Glad you liked it. Half Dome sounds epic. I can’t wait to read about it!

  2. Frank February 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Great post and pics are great. Thanks

  3. Adam April 10, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    I grew up in Cranbrook and did this hike 3-4 times before moving out of the area.
    I was wondering if you know how far up the mountain is the “bowl”?
    Could be what you called the saddle.
    I am planning to hike it again but thinking about making it a 2 day adventure.

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