Door Jamb and Loder Peak are easy/moderate scrambles near Calgary that can both be conquered in one half-day outing. It’s a surprise that I hadn’t experienced them sooner!
We’ve had a mild winter in Calgary this year, and the easterly location of Door Jamb and Loder Peak along the Bow Valley would almost guarantee a non-snowy May hike. Robbie and I parked at the side of the road on Highway 1A near the eastern cement plant near Exshaw, and the trailhead begins right from the parking lot.
The elevation gain starts right away. I was reminded that I’m still in shoulder-season hiking mode- my legs took a while to find their stride, and there were many pauses to catch our breaths; yet, we maintained a steady pace. The trail isn’t always well-defined, and there are many rock slabs on which to scramble, which makes the ascent interesting. Also, it’s hard not to hear the noisy cement plant behind you, but the sound quickly fades. From the summit of Door Jamb (~1935m), the 40 minute path to Loder Peak (~2050m) is clear. Of course, we pressed on, hungry and tired, but we made it and were afforded great views and a sense of accomplishment!
The descent back was tedious, in my opinion. Rock slabs are awesome for ascending, but having to carefully hike down on smooth rock slabs with the occasional small rocks that cause you to slide is not the most fun. Remember to watch your step, and trust the grip on your hikers!
Upon returning home, we did a quick tick check. It’s tick season! Read here for the Alberta Heath Lyme disease and tick surveillance program. I certainly did not tuck my pants into my socks for fashion reasons. You just never know where those buggers can end up :/
If you’re looking for a quick scramble about 40 minutes west of Calgary, I recommend the Door Jamb and Loder Peak double whammy! Two summits in one day, whoohoo :). It isn’t my favourite scramble due to the rock slab descent, but the views of the Bow Valley and neighboring mountains like Yamnuska definitely make it worthwhile.
Info: Take the 1X exit at Seebe/Exshaw, then turn left onto 1A (Bow Valley Trail). At the first Exshaw cement plant, the small parking lot is on the north side of the road in the ditch. Park along the side of the road if the lot is full. The hike took us about 4 hours and 20 minutes with an elevation gain of approximately 800 metres.