Vic Panei: Scrambling up an unnamed ridge in Kananaskis Valley (October 14, 2006)
On Saturday October 14, 2006, Vic Panei (one of our reader photo contest winners) hiked and scrambled up an unnamed ridge in Kananaskis Valley. Being able to regularly enjoy the great outdoors now that he is retired, Vic usually climbs twice a week in the mountains located west of his home in Calgary.
Vic is quite involved with Hostelling International and the Calgary Area Outdoor Council. He seldom hikes alone, as over the years he has developed a large circle of hiking friends. And Vic usually takes his time as he climbs – to ensure he captures at least some of the magnificent panoramic vistas as well as the flora & fauna he encounters along the way.
On October 14th, Vic was accompanied by Dee and Zora to the Mount Lorette Ponds Day Use Area. To get there simply drive south from Highway #1, on Highway #40. While on Highway # 40 and after you get past Mount Baldy (on your left), simply watch for the parking lot (also on your left). You’ve gone too far if you reach the Mount Allan viewpoint.
Are you a visual learner? Me too! So, just click onto the map that Vic provided for your convenience. Look for the trail in the centre of the maps, illustrated as a loop that is marked in small purple dots.
Or use Google Earth, an online tool to see where they were. Just surf up Dave Birrell’s web site at www.peakfinder.com. Half way down the left column of the Welcome Page is a link to “View Peaks Using Google Earth”. For a wild 3-D ride, take a few minutes to check out this view from outer space! You can tilt the earth, zoom in and get incredible detail. Can you find Mount Lorette? It is actually located to the west of Highway # 40!
Ok, so here is what Vic writes this week…
“One rocky section of the ridge was covered with amazing lichens and for this reason I’m calling this ridge Lichens Ridge.”
We started in the forest behind the ponds with some minor bushwhacking.
At around 2,000m, we finally got out of the trees and started scrambling on rocky sections
A cool wind was blowing from the south, but fortunately, we did most of the climbing on the north side of the ridge where we were partially sheltered.
A little higher on the ridge, we found a bit of snow on some of the north facing ledges we attempted to avoid having to climb some difficult rocky sections
Apart from the wind, the weather was ideal for hiking: cool, sunny, high clouds & clear views of the surrounding mountains
After lunch at the top of the ridge, we descended on an northeast spine that joins Lichens ridge to another ridge parallel to it but lower in elevation (I call it North Lichens Ridge). This spine was extremely hard to negotiate – with lots of loose scree on bedrocks. But slowly we got out of this (apart from a little tumble of mine).
The north ridge wasn’t as steep as the one we went up, but beautiful steep slabs of rock were on our side for quite a long section, with some exposure here and there. In the upper part of the north ridge, we had to descend from the rocky top to avoid a 4 to 5 m drop.
We regained the ridge shortly after this point by walking on a 6 inch ledge on a wall and then up a chimney
The last two or three hundred meters down in the trees weren’t much fun. They were pretty steep. We avoided coming
down the rocky section of the ridge and stayed away from the edge, in the trees where moss or grass were a welcome relief for the knees.
Eight hours after we left the car, we finally made it back to the ponds, in time to take some shots of the beautiful late afternoon reflections.”
Remember to check back here regularly for the latest edition of Vic’s View!
Vic Panei, is a Calgary resident and photographer. Vic has traveled & photographed the landscapes & people on several continents. He shows his latest works each September at the Central Blends Café in Kensington. To contact Vic, simply write to him at email@example.com.