Razor's Edge Connector Complete - Fall 2020

Razor's Edge Connector Complete - Fall 2020


November 09, 2020

CAMBA and the Canmore Trail Alliance are excited to announce that this past week a critical milestone on the Razor’s Edge project was reached. In collaboration with the Friends of Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks, our trail crews completed the connector trail running from the top of the unnamed ridge northwest of McConnell Ridge to the Quaite Valley Connector. This new 1.9 km connector trail addresses major safety concerns and is an important achievement in the process of sanctioning the Razor’s Edge trail. The safety issues include potential for rocks to dislodge from the cliff at the rock cut landing on Highway 1 as well as the hazards associated with riders descending down onto Highway 1 right of way. In addition to alleviating these safety concerns the new connector trail adds a longer descent that is inline with the flavor of the rest of the Razor’s Edge trail.

An amazing group of volunteers from the CTA and CAMBA
An amazing group of volunteers from the CTA and CAMBA

While there is still more work to do next season in terms of maintenance on the rest of the Razor’s trail, this is by far the biggest piece of the puzzle, and we want to congratulate and sincerely thank the 206 volunteers who invested over 1,500 hours to ensure the Razor’s Edge, a crown jewel of riding in Kananaskis Country, will sustain for the foreseeable future.

Background

Despite being one of the most noted trails in the area, Razor’s Edge is unsanctioned and unmaintained. As with any undesignated trail, there is always a risk of it being closed and/or decommissioned. Decommissioning can occur for a variety of reasons including safety issues, environmental concerns, and wildlife challenges. One of the biggest problems with the existing Razor’s Edge alignment is that it funnels riders down the sleep slope off the ridge northwest of McConnell Ridge and directly onto the Highway 1.

The below map outlines the proposed and approved alignment for the Razors Edge trail (including the connector).

The Razor's Edge Connector Trail
The Razor's Edge Connector Trail

To address this safety issue, a connector trail running from the top of McConnell Ridge to the Quaite Valley Connector was proposed, approved, and building started in 2017. The new trail is primarily descending, with a few short climbing sections to enable the trail to traverse across the slope and utilize natural features. The point at which this new trail leaves the original trail was carefully chosen to allow users to experience the majority of the technical sections that Razor’s is famous for. The new trail aligns with the style and character of the original trail, and will enhance the user’s experience. This phase of the project is critical to provide users with a better quality, longer and more enjoyable trail experience over the original line and offers a safer route back to the Quaite Valley Connector trail.

Next Steps

The opening of the connector, albeit a very important milestone, is just one step of the process of getting the Razor’s Edge to official status. Next year our trail crews will start working on improvements to the rest of the trail which are required by Alberta Parks to ensure the sustainability of the trail and the safety of riders.

Rest assured that the Razor’s Edge that we all know and love will very much be left intact. The planned work will not affect the style or technical difficulty of the original trail and people will still get to ride the same lines they cherish today. In cases where a ride around is required, the original line will remain mostly unaffected. In cases where multiple lines exist, one or two lines will be chosen and the remaining lines will be removed.

The following map shows the locations on the trail that we’ll be working on next season with some description below about the specifics of what will be done.

Map of locations for the 2021 work plan
Map of locations for the 2021 work plan

Location 1 @ 1.5km

The plan for this location is to better define the technical line and also construct a ride around option. Other less used lines at this location will be decommissioned. There will also be signage installed before the feature to inform riders of the two line options.

Location 2 @ 1.6km

At this location, which consists of a steep right hand corner over exposed rock, there will be some rock removal to add an additional less technical line around the feature.

Location 3 @ 1.7km

This site consists of a steep section of eroded trail below a tilted slab. Some bench cutting and corner extension will take place in order to reduce the grade. An out-sloping drainage feature will also be installed to remove water flow from the trail.

Location 4 @ 1.8km

We all know this one! The infamous V rock feature. The plan here is to add a less technical ride around with some signage to inform riders of the line options. The right hand berm will also be reinforced to better catch riders coming down.

Location 5 @ 2.7km

At this point in the trail we have a steep slab that leads into a loose and eroded section. The plan for this location is to redesign the slab exit to require less braking heading into the forest in order to prevent and reduce erosion. There is an existing ride-around for this feature that we’ll be doing some bench work to improve. And finally some signage will be installed to inform riders of the line options.

Location 6 @ 3.0km

The final location will be the steep section in the trees that has become quite seriously eroded over time. Due to the steepness, side slope, and organic material of the first 100m of this section a re-route is necessary in order to reduce the overall grade of the section and make it more sustainable. The re-route is delineated in the inset of the map above titled “Loam Forest Re-route”.

In addition to the maintenance in the specific locations above, volunteer trail crews from CAMBA and the Canmore Trail Alliance will also be improving sight lines and installing signage throughout the trail to help keep riders on the designated trail to reduce multiple lines and trail braiding.

We’re excited to get back to work next season and even more excited to hear what you think about the new connector trail. If you have any feedback or questions don’t hesitate to email us at contact@camba.ca. Until then….Happy Trails!