Ruby Ridge II

January 17, 2010

Mountain height:         2430 m
Elevation gain:            870 m
Ascent time:                4:40
Descent time:              3:30        

Snowshoeing with Mark and Keri.

It’s always a good thing when you experience totally amazing scenery and views before you even arrive at the parking area. Such was the case as we drove to the Lineham Creek trailhead, in preparation to ascend Ruby Ridge. Another phenomenally brilliant Waterton sunrise had us stopping several times to capture the vast array of vibrant colours above. This made the day a huge success and we hadn’t even parked. As I said "good thing", because the already suspect weather continued to deteriorate throughout the day and we ended up doing all of the ascent and most of the descent in bleak conditions, with limited visibility.

This was Keri’s first snowshoe trip and she performed remarkably well, considering the icy snow conditions and fair amount of elevation gain. Although the lousy weather was a constant source of disappointment, the red argillite rock on the slopes of Ruby was not. Neither were other varieties of colourful rocks underfoot.

As expected, the upper slopes were wind-blown and we finished the ascent on foot. The summit view was of course disappointing, but the clouds did lift enough to reveal Cameron Lake to the south and the forms of many familiar peaks.

Considering the time of the year and a pretty brisk west wind, the wind-chill was surprisingly tolerable. Usually a windy day atop a mountain in January would have everyone dashing down the mountain for warmer temperatures. However, we were able to stay up there for a fair amount of time, watching the rapidly changing weather. On descent, the skies did clear slightly in a few directions – enough to illuminate the beautiful snow and argillite.    

Despite the gloomy weather, an excellent trip.  

The Good Stuff - A Waterton sunrise

The Not So Good Stuff - a bleak weather ascent

Me and Keri make our way towards the ascent slope - Mount Lineham to the left

Why Ruby Ridge is called Ruby Ridge

Lichen on the red argillite

Mark and Keri and their matching jackets

Mark and Keri make their way up the mountain

Not only is the green argillite beautiful to look at, but it doubles as a great arm-rest

More red and green argillite

Mark arrives at the ridge; much of the Blakiston Horseshoe would be visible on a clear day

Me and Keri approach the summit

Keri and Mark take a well deserved break at the summit

A slither a sunlight through clouds; Mount Rowe in the centre

A short, but pleasant break in the dismal weather

Mark (photo by Keri)

Some of the Horseshoe route revealed

Mount Lineham is revealed (photo by Keri)

A big snow drift (photo by Keri)

Mark on the drift (photo by Keri)

Same as above

Keri poses while I try to extricate myself, having fallen into a deep tree-well

Keri and Mark, with an outlier of Buchanan Ridge behind

Heading down

Some of the colours on the mountain finally start to come out

Same as above

That's more like it!

Keri descends steep slopes back to the trail