Scaling Fortress: ATV-assisted hike opens up mountain for all users

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White Mountain Adventures guide Sam Campeau at Bonzai Gardens at Fortress Mountain.
White Mountain Adventures guide Sam Campeau at Bonzai Gardens at Fortress Mountain. Photos, Michele Jarvie jpg

Based out of Banff, the guided hiking outfit is relishing its first foray into Fortress. It was just granted a permit to run ATV-assisted trips on the mountain for this summer and fall. With Sunshine Meadow’s gondola not in operation this summer, this is the only assisted access to high alpine meadows in the Canadian Rockies. It’s also the first time in several years that summer access is allowed at Fortress.

White Mountain Adventures shuttles clients in a van up the 12-km private access road, then onward to high alpine ridgelines via Ranger ATVs for 1/2-day guided experiences. They are running three trips: an easy photography and sightseeing trip that makes stops across the resort for small hikes; a moderate ridgeline hike; and a fall larch tour.

The first stop on the photography tour takes you to the top of the old Canadian Triple Chair beside the old ski run now known as Inception. It was where much of the Leonardo DiCaprio sci-fi movie was filmed. On another ridge, you see climbing bolts in a tumble of rocks used in another film. Hollywood loves Alberta for its rugged wilderness and several movies have been filmed at Fortress: Disney’s Togo, Jumanji: The Next Level, The Bourne Legacy and The Revenant.

The ATV used on a White Mountain Adventures guided hike at Fortress Mountain.
The ATV used on a White Mountain Adventures guided hike at Fortress Mountain. jpg

The resort is also a prime research area with the universities of Calgary, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Guelph, and Waterloo all running projects here, studying weather and water, snow and ice collection, saturation and melt.

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