Located in the Elbow River Valley opposite Cougar Mountain. Kananaskis Park, Alberta
Looking southwest to Banded Peak
Banded Peak, together with Mount Glasgow, Mount Cornwall, and Outlaw Peak, forms a small range which lies between the Little Elbow River to the north and the Elbow River to the south. For some reason this group seems to attract falls of early and late season snow. Often in the late spring and early summer, where rain has fallen on nearby mountains, this group will be white with fresh snow. The late summer often sees this phenomenon as well. There must be some meteorological reason for this but it is not a simple one.
The Marquis of Lorne sketched this group of four peaks during an ambitious, cross-country trip he made during his years as Governor General of Canada (1878 - 1883). It is interesting to note that Lake Louise would later be named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria who became the Marquis of Lorne's wife. Another interesting connection is that an engraving of the Marquis's sketch was made by Edward Whymper, the man who first climbed the Matterhorn and who visited the Rockies several times in the early years of the twentieth century. The engraving appeared in "Canada's Pictures," the book which the Marquis wrote about his trip.
Probably the major factor which results in mountain features being highlighted by snow are the varying slopes associated with different layers of rock. When a hard layer of rock (such as limestone) erodes it tends to leave a steep cliff; a softer layer (such as shale) will leave a more gentle slope. Thus a mountain with a number of different layers will provide opportunities for snow to accumulate along the gently sloped, softer layers and highlight the layering of the rocks.
The band on Banded Peak is a dramatic example of this form of highlighting. Near the top of the mountain is a steep cliff whereas the remainder of the mountain erodes more easily and forms fairly gently slopes. Although the band can be seen at any time it is most obvious in the winter after a fresh fall of snow. The steep, dark cliff which forms the band remains visible while the more gentle slopes of the mountain are completely white.
*A hiking route to the summit is described in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 2.
For a panoramic view from the summit of Banded Peak visit www.canadasmountains.com.