Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nhiahi Ridge Traverse

Had one of the raddest days out in the mountains in a while, with some friends from the Rocky Mountain section Alpine Club. I met up with Linda (our fearless leader), Crystal, and Clifton at the Bagel Co. at 7 am, and then we drove down in 2 cars to Elbow Falls parking lot (more of a pull-out), where we dropped off one car for the shuttle, and then drove the 10 km or so to the campground at the end of Hwy 66 (Bragg Creek), which just opened for the year on May 15th. The Nihahi Ridge trail is marked from the end of the campground, and it is a really nice easy trail for about 4 km to just below the South Summit. We continued past the South Summit, along the knife-edge (in some places) ridge for another 10 km or so! There is some easy, exposed scrambling along the ridge, but there are also some sections of pretty easy strolling. There was a bit of snow along the ridge, but not enough to change the nature of the hike really. We were having a pretty stellar day, until the thunderstorms which had been brewing around us for a few hours finally reached us on the ridge! It got pretty nasty, with 50+km/hr winds, groupel, and heavy rain- for 3 hours. Needless to say, we were pretty happy to find a little exit gully near the end of the ridge that would take us out of the wind. As it turns out, the gully we chose had a bit of slippery down climbing and snow walking, but we eventually got into treeline and funny enough that's when the sun came out! No matter which gully you descend, it is a very easy bushwack for a few km until you hit a trail that takes you to the car. We arrived at the cars around 6:30 pm (yeah, we took it pretty slow), and it got back to Canmore around 8:30 pm. Just an all around fabulous day, with a little bit of everything. If you haven't done much scrambling, this is a really good day trip!

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