Heinz's Report - July 22, 2004

Ridge Ramble Redux

Ridge Ramble Redux

One of the top hikes of the area is called the Ridge Walk which officially goes up Snake Ridge (the ridge between Cedar Bowl and Fish Bowl) and then across (and up) to Griz Peak and finishes on Polar Peak. I did it for the first time last year � see July 5, 2003 report. We wanted to do it again this year and Kathy and Eastern Dave decided to join us for their first attempt. For Eastern Dave it was especially significant as he had never done any serious mountain scrambles before and was determined to get past the rope ridge where many have turned back. We also put a special twist on it by parking our bikes at the top of Timber Chair (after getting approval from the resort as this part of the mountain is not officially open this summer) and using these as our downhill transportation at the end of a long day. This was especially important for our old and tired knees!

We started from our house on the hill around 8:45 am and headed straight up Bear. Steve felt this route would save us at least 30 minutes of the summer heat. He told us that we could call him a miserable old pr�, or whatever we wanted to call him at the top of the run. Some of the descriptions we came up with were quite original and unprintable here. I think we saved the 30 minutes, but gave it all back resting to catch our breath.

From the top of the Bear it was a leisurely walk across Cedar Bowl to the trail head up Snake Ridge � marked by skier goggles on the trail over to Redtree. Past the gun tower, the ridge is well marked by red dots painted on the rocks every 10 ft or so. After, a 20 minute or so walk along the ridge you arrive at the rope at a short cliff. Kathy had donned her knee brace by this point and Eastern Dave sucked it up and gave it a heave ho. To the enjoyment of all, everyone made it past this point and started to relish the scramble. Even I was pleasantly surprised when I passed my point of concern after the cable section. I had visualized this part all winter and had made it out to be much worse than it actually was this time around. In fact, I had to ask Steve if that really was the part I had dreaded. It seemed so much tamer the second time around.

After about 3 hours of hiking and scrambling, we arrived at the top of Snake Ridge, made a detour to the right to check out Liverwurst Bowl (for a future project) and then made our way to Griz peak where Kathy and I made our annual visit to Johnny Latt�s cairn and then finished off to Polar Peak for a well deserved lunch. We had originally decided to continue along the ridge over Elephant Head and then down to Lost Boys� Pass to the top of Timber and the bikes. We had run dangerously low on water by this stage, it was late in the day and the Coronas on the deck back home beckoned. So we trudged down Polar Peak and over to the bikes. By this time, Kathy�s knees had given out and everybody was in a real rush to get on the bikes for a well deserved rest break, but the road down proved to be steeper than we expected � for Steve it was the scariest part of the hike considering he was still nursing a broken rib and two cracked from an earlier biking misadventure! After 8 hours on the trek we met the girls back at the house and enjoyed the well deserved refreshments!

The pictures today are courtesy of Steve and Mike � my camera is the hospital after the No. 9 Mine hike.

Snake Ridge. The real beginning of the Ridge Walk. Cedar Bowl on the right, Fish Bowl on the left, Fernie in the Elk Valley below.

Eastern Dave on Bear. Why is he smiling so much. Could it be he's discovered a grow operation?

The slog up Bear. Steve was way up by now and we were waiting to kill him!

Resting further up Snake Ridge before attacking the rope section.

Eastern Dave makes it to the top!

Lizard Lake in Liverwurst Bowl - one bowl over from Fish Bowl.

Looking north from the top of Snake Ridge. One Steep Mother is the peak in the forefront, the Bears at Island lake Lodge beyond.

The final assent up Griz Peak. There is an easier way, but Steve decided to test us some more.

Eastern Dave makes it up the chimney to Griz, but pays with a bit of blood.

Our troupe for the day.