– December 29, 2006
Elevation gain: 1350 m
Ascent time: 4:45
Descent time: 3:10
On a quasi
nostalgic/sentimental whim I decided to give
The chances of a repeat experience were second to none, but I couldn’t think of anything better to do, so what the heck – up I went! All started off quite well. The skies were clear and above tree line the scenery was beautiful, especially covered in a fresh layer of snow. Unfortunately, there were no visible ice crystals in the air and no low-lying clouds. There was, however, a ton of wildlife on the slopes: a herd of deer down low and several large groups of sheep above me. I did my best to avoid them, side-sloping to get around the animals, but at one point I popped up over a small rise to find a group of 5 or 6 big-horn sheep not more than 10 metres away. I was startled, but they didn’t seem too concerned and slowly moved away.
Higher on the ridge, the wind picked up a little, but nothing too alarming. Nearing the pinnacles, the wind picked up a little more and out came every layer of clothing I had. At the pinnacles, the wind unleashed bloody hell on the mountain (and me, of course) and conditions were absolutely brutal. It took me over three hours to negotiate the long ridge and most of it while being pummeled by the relentless wind and an enormous amount of blowing snow.
I was completely wiped out by the time I made the summit, but only stayed for about two minutes – it was simply too cold be standing still, even for a couple of minutes. As well, the sky had clouded over and the view not as good as on our previous trip on the mountain.
I didn’t think for a second that the descent could be any more draining the ascent, but it was. The wind increased in strength even more and several times I had to stop to brace myself, in fear of being blown over (a few more Quarter-Pounders with cheese per week might help there!). It also lasted until I was well below tree line.
A very different experience than our ascent five years ago, but definitely a trip that is worthwhile to repeat.
The north and east faces of Mount Kidd
Same as above
Mount Kidd again, with The Wedge at the left
Approaching tree line
Rocks with snow
Two deer (right side) spot me as I ascend the lower slopes; Ribbon Peak to the left
A group of big-horn sheep traverse the side of the mountain; note the multiple sets of animal tracks on the slopes - obviously why this trail is closed for lambing in April, May, and June
Approaching the first highpoint of the day
More rocks with snow
The first obstacle of the day, circumvented on the right side
A young ram - an unfortunate remainder that the St. Louis Rams failed to make the playoffs this season
Approaching the first obstacle
At Olympic Summit, with the true summit to the right and Wind Mountain to the left
The best view of
the day is always in the direction of Wind Mountain;
Lougheed's true summit is on the right
Sparrowhawk (left) and Wind (right)
Looking back along the ridge
Approaching the pinnacles, the wind picks up; true summit in the centre
Sparrowhawk (left), Wind (centre), Lougheed (just right of centre), and the pinnacles
A closer look at two of the bigger pinnacles
Same as above, from a different angle
One of the more striking pinnacles
Strong winds and blowing snow near the summit
A small powder avalanche, seen on descent
More blowing snow and dark clouds, as I descend the wrong ridge
"Old Baldy Mountain" at GR356417
Sunset over "Wasootch Peak"
Sunset over "Skogan Peak" and Mount Lorette (right)