The Four Peak Challenge, also known as the Canmore Quad, consists of running/walking up the 4 main peaks surrounding Canmore. The peaks are Grotto Mountain, Mount Lady MacDonald, East End of Rundle, and Ha Ling Peak. To add to the difficulty, you must start and finish in the town of Canmore and can only travel on foot between the mountains! In total, this amounts to around 57km with 4800m elevation!
Time Required: Must be completed in one day
Location: Canmore, Alberta
Highest Elevation: 2706m
Elevation Gain: 4800m
Difficulty: 10/10 – Extreme elevation gain and distance!
Season: June when there is the most daylight
Additional Requirements: Serious physical and mental preparation
4 Peak Challenge Rules
To officially complete the 4 Peak Challenge you must follow the below rules:
- The start and finish point is at the Georgetown Inn in Canmore
- The challenge must be finished before midnight (completed in one day)
- You must summit and take a photo at the top of Grotto Mountain, Mount Lady Macdonald, East End of Rundle and Ha Ling Peak
- You can only travel by foot between the mountains
Although there are no rules on which order you must complete the summits, most people begin with Grotto Mountain and end with Ha Ling. In total the 4 Peak Challenge took us 18 hours and 24 minutes. Our goal was simply to complete this challenge but if you want to go for a record the fastest time recorded is 9 hours and 14 minutes…. which is insane!
Starting from the Georgetown Inn (Route marker #1 on the map) we ran through town and along the Horseshoe Trails to the Alpine Club of Canada. From there we headed up Grotto Mountain to the summit (Route marker #2 on the map).
From Grotto Mountain we descended the same trail we went up and cut back through the Horseshoe Trails to the Lady Macdonald Trail Head. There are many trails between the two mountains but to shave off a few kilometres we took the furthest west one. The hike to the top of Lady Macdonald is a well beaten trail until the top of the ridge where there is a very sketchy ridge walk to reach the true summit of Mount Lady MacDonald (Route marker #3 on the map).
After completing Lady Macdonald we ran back through town, stopped for lunch, and then began the long trek to the East End of Rundle. We cut through downtown, across the Bow River on the Canmore Engine Bridge, and up to Three Sisters Parkway (742) near the Canmore Nordic Centre. From there it was a long run/walk along the Three Sisters Parkway to reach the trailhead to the East End of Rundle.
Note: We cut through Grassi Lakes on the way up, but it probably would have been faster to just stay on the road.
Both the East End of Rundle (Route marker #4 on the map) and Ha Ling Peak (Route marker #5 on the map) are popular well trodden hikes. We did EEOR first and then Ha Ling Peak as our last summit of the day.
After Ha Ling it was a long jog back down the Three Sister Parkway (742) and through Canmore to the Georgetown Inn where we completed the challenge with 6 minutes to spare!
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