Heinz's Report - July 05, 2003

Ridge Walk

The snow has now receded well up the mountain and we heard that the Lizard Ridge was accessible all the way across. We decided to take on one of the most favourite and well known hikes of the area � the Ridge Walk � from the top of Snake Ridge, across the top of Cedar Bowl to Griz Peak and then along the ridge above Lizard Bowl to Polar Peak. This hike took place on July 4, 2003.

None of the girls took up the challenge so it was left to the seven of us guys to do what had to be done. You could just smell the testosterone when we started out from our house at 9 am. We headed straight up Holiday to the top of the Elk Chair and then on up Bear to the top of Bear Express, which we reached by 10:15. Then across Cedar Bowl on the high traverse to the snow cannon at the top of the road which leads to Redtree/Snake Ridge. The trailhead off this road is a bit hard to find, but it is marked with a small flag in the trees on the left and is just before you reach the access into Fish Bowl.

Wojtek was better behaved today than what I read about in Dave�s report of Mt. Proctor the week before, and he kept with the group for most of the hike. But he does not stop talking � which is probably why we never encountered any wildlife on this trip! The pace kept up by Wojtek and Tom was brutal and we reached the top of Snake Ridge within 2 hours - which I hear is pretty damn good for this hike.

I have heard differing stories about the scramble up Snake Ridge. Some say it was pretty technical, others say it was a peace of cake. Apparently Linda Socher takes up a group of 60�s something athletic women every year and they do it with apparent ease. About halfway up the ridge from the cat road you come to a rope. This is where things get interesting! You can use the rope to get up this steep section, but my arm and shoulder were still weak from my skiing accident in the spring, so I took the crack in the rocks to the right of the rope. It was still difficult finding a suitable handhold with the loose rock. After that, there are two exposed sections with cables to grab, but I found the little section in between these the most challenging. You go down for a bit and then around an exposed corner. The rock here is very worn and smooth and the exposed view down into Cedar Bowl is intimidating. After these parts it is a fairly straight away scramble to the top of Snake Ridge and then a short walk and climb to the top of Griz Peak � 1070 metres above the base of the resort from where we started.

After a short lunch on Griz Peak we went along the ridge above Lizard Bowl to Polar Peak. There is a small technical section on this ridge just before you get to Polar, but after the tricky sections on Snake Ridge, this was easy and only required a very short time for keeping focused on the task at hand. We reached Polar Peak within an hour of setting out from Griz Peak. Once here, we had a decision to make. Kathy called me on the cell phone to tell me that Currie Bowl had been shut down by the resort on account of a grumpy grizzly that had made a couple of charges at a hiker the day before. We decided that we would chance it rather than taking the extra time to go over to Timber Bowl and walk down the access road. We figured that there were more of us than the griz and we could take him down at the knees! I wasn�t that sure since I was oldest of the group and usually at the back of this fast moving pack. As they say � you only have to be faster than the last person in your group to be safe with bear encounters!

On the way down Currie we kept making a lot of noise just in case and nothing untoward happened. Halfway down Currie we took the new bike trail under construction that leads from Trespass Trail in Timber, across Stagleap, Skydive and Incline and then empties into the bottom of Easter Bowl, just above Freeway. This should be a nice, long and fairly easy bike ride down all of the way from the top of Timber Chair, once they open the Timber Chair this summer.

We made it down in under an hour and half, again due to the torrid pace set by Wojtek, Steve and Tom. Overall time for the hike was 6 � hours. I would rate the hike as above average in skill level due to the parts on Snake Ridge and most people should be able to do it. Give yourself around 7 to 8 hours though, to enjoy the fantastic views, flora and perhaps you may even see some wildlife if you don�t have a chatterbox like Wojtek along.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Our destination today � The ridge above Lizard Bowl, between Griz Peak on the right and Polar Peak on the left.

Cedar Bowl. Griz Peak on the left. The trail to Snake Ridge starts at the road just visible in the trees on the right and continues up to the flat peak to the right of Griz Peak.

The rope on Snake Ridge. This is the point of no return. If you go past this point and can�t make past the cable section it will be very hard to come back down!

The view down into Cedar Bowl from Snake Ridge. The top of the Bear Express chair to left of Griz Peak on the right.

The cable section on Snake Ridge. Tom up high and Wojtek just starting across. Cedar Bowl to the left and below. The most exposed section of the ridge.

Mandatory artsy shot from Dave. Top of the Bear Express chair.

My artsy shot. The ridge between Griz and Polar. Polar Peak in the distance.

Panoroma from the top of Griz, town of Fernie on the left, Polar Peak and Polaris Bowl on the right and the Johnny Latt cairn on the extreme right. This file is way too big to store on the web site (48 in long x 10 in high and 4 mb in size) Email me if you want me to send you the original hires file.

Currie Bowl in the summer. Hard to believe we ski this in the winter � it�s so wild looking. No grumpy grizzly to be seen, other than ever present Wojtek!

The troupe for today�s adventure. The Magnificent Seven?