Vic Panei’s hike in Kananaskis Country (“Lichens Ridge”)
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 look above at 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.
Check below the image gallery describing in details what Vic and his hiking friends encountered during their hike from bottom to top and back down. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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 metres 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.
Vic Panei, is a Calgary resident and photographer. Vic has travelled & photographed the landscapes & people on several continents.