Thursday, September 13, 2007

Grizzly Peak/Col

5.8km 7239ft trailhead 8550ft col vert gain: 1300ft

Trip # 3 took us to Grizzly Peak. The northernmost peak in the Opal Range. The Opal range dominates the K-country landscape with its vertical bedding planes giving rise to some very striking mountains. The car is parked in the ditch at an unmarked creek which tells you that you're definitely off the beaten track. The approach follows the wonderfully named Ripple Rock Creek with Mt Evan Thomas looming behind Suzanne in the photo.(right)
Foolishly I pronounced this "the best trail ever!" though the first kilometer was unbelievable gorgeous. But it quickly got pretty steep. Which is fine, you just have to throw yourself at the task ahead. But after about 500 vertical feet, our protestant work ethic was morphing into some sort of zoroastrian trial by fire. Finally after determining that I could climb up but my lack of shoulder extension prohibited me from getting down safely, we carefully retreated. Was rather surprised since a guidebook I had made no mention of the exposure (drop) pictured at left. Certainly when fully healed I will return with great fury and vengeance.

left: Beaten by the Rock Band

Fortuna, ever a good friend provides again as we determined to salvage the day by wandering over to the Highwood Pass. This is the highest public road in Canada and after parking at the pass we journeyed up a nameless peak overlooking the highwood valley.

This view was a 10 out of 10 and took only a half hour from highway 40! Pretty good effort/reward ratio. Climbing southeast into Pocaterra cirque brought us through stunning country finally having a well deserved break at the tarn that fills the cirque. Suzanne got the best of me in an impromptu tarn pun off.

At left Suzanne poses in the Pocaterra Cirque somewhere above the treeline in the peri-glacial deathscape. We loved this hike and it allowed us to recon the Pocaterra ridge (peak on the left)

I found a very small ammolite up here but of an unsaleable grade. Something that really impressed me was along the way we passed a wall of scree that was perhaps 500m tall and bowling around us in two directions. Its quite staggering to have 400 million apple-sized rocks filling your entire field of view. All in all this trip got 8 Quaker chewy bars out of 10 despite turning our legs to jelly.

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