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Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.


Postby ChrisW » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:02 pm

Date walked: 18/07/2016

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 12.9 km

Ascent: 817m

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When hiking to Bryant Lake last month I saw a nice looking ridge with a couple of summits on it close to the Powderface Trail, since then we have been inundated with thunderstorms and incredible lightning displays.
Obviously those are not the conditions to be out on a bare ridge so I have been away from the hills for all of that time. After all you wouldn't want to be out in the open under this.

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Today there was a reduction in storms and I decided a reduction was enough for me to go out to Canyon Creek and see what conditions were like.

Canyon Creek is on the Powderface Trail. To reach the trailhead take highway 66 from its junction with Highway 22 just south of Bragg Creek and follow 66 to its end 28km west. At the end of the route continue straight onto the gravel logging road, this is the Powderface Trail. Follow Powderface for 15km to Canyon Creek, parking is on the east side of the road before the bridge.

When I arrived the sky was full of cloud already but that little ridge visible from the parking area seemed like an easy target for the day, I calculated that I could be up and down before the storms built up, so without further ado I booted up and got going.

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heading west on Canyon Creek soon brings almost the whole ascent ridge into view, as you can see below the initial stages are a steep grunt to a lovely long ridge that culminates in a nice unnamed summit at 436425. As Mt Bryant is to the left I can't see why these haven't picked up the name 'Bryants Bumps' or something similar.

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I had no route or trail descriptions for this lump so I followed Canyon Creek to the first junction where the north fork comes in from the east side of Mt Bryant, from here you can see a route up through the trees.

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It's good going on the initial ascent and though steep it has a few easier sections that allow a breather, the ground is loose throughout with no sign of a trail or even animal tracks to follow.

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The steep climb means the views along north Canyon Creek are soon opening up, the hillside steepens significantly before hitting an easy scramble up the rockwall. I later noted that this scramble could be avoided by walking further up North Canyon Creek before ascending.

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As I reach the lower end of ridge it suddenly feels so good to be back in the hills. I can now see east to Moose Mountain where dark clouds are beginning to gather. I can see where canyon creek meets the powderface trail and my truck in the small grassy area there.

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Once on the lower ridge the going is much easier, the forest still reaches up to the drop off on the east side and the gentle slope on the west side makes for an easy route. There's still no sign of a trial, I guess this is not a popular lump.

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It really is a lovely hike along the lower ridge and soon I've ascended beyond the forest and into the open spaces above. Looking back over the route so far with Mt Bryant to the west (right) and Compression Ridge directly behind me to the south beyond the dry bed of Canyon Creek.

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What lies ahead now is a crisp ridgeline rising more aggressively toward its tiny summit leaving the forests falling away on both sides of the bare rock. There's still no trail but it's not like I could take a wrong turn.

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There are a few small steps in the ridge that lift me ever higher, I can now see Nihahi Ridge over the top of Compression Ridge and Mt Howard to the right of that. I can see the powderface trail cutting through the forest from its bridge over Canyon Creek and the tree covered foothills beyond. Dark clouds are still bubbling up but currently staying over Moose Mountain to the east.

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At the summit a small cairn gives away the fact that others have gone before me, I guess they trod softly on their ascent...or perhaps ascended a different way (though why would you miss out that lovely ridge) On the far left of this shot is the north fork of Canyon Creek leading to Bryant Lake, the three additional peaks directly north are all without name and simply referred to as coordinates on a map. How can such a beautiful ridge and it's bumps remain nameless for so long.

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This is as far back as I can get without dropping off a steep descent back to tree level, as I stand here it strikes me that I could make that drop and keep on going. There are clear 'bail out' options on the left should lightning threaten and it seems such a waste to come all this way and stop at this one sumit.

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I had a short rest and a snack before dropping off that summit and continuing north, the first part of the descent to the col is very steep and demands concentration but it eases off after losing about 100 metres, I then lose another 75m to the col.

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From the col there is a nice level section of about 1/2 km then a steep ascent on loose rock to a nub where the gradient eases for the final ascent to the second summit of the day.

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This summit is very different to the last, there's a good dome and plenty of space to move around. looking back to the first summit provides a good indication of that steep initial descent angle from there.

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The only problem with going on is it leads to this, another wonderful long ridgeline continuing north. Just a small step down and I could be taking in another 1.5km of ridge, again there are bail out options on the left which is enough to convince me to keep on rolling.

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I'm soon halfway along the easy going ridge, there's little more than undulations along here and the storms have stayed away to the east for the most part. Moose Mountain is now left behind and the heavily forested Powderface Ridge fills the space between.

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Up ahead I can see Belmore Browne peak which I hiked in 2012 and the brown ridge between it and another 'no name' peak which I ticked off that day too. On the far horizon is Black Rock Mountain and to my left two more unnamed peaks.

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A nice steady wander with just a small ascent in the last few hundred metres and I am at my third cairn of the day. Directly east is Powderface Ridge and beyond that heavy rain falling on the prairies. As the huge clouds billow across the sky their shadows dance along the forest covered ridges below. The summit of Moose Mountain is now scraping the clouds and there are more active storms all around.

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Looking north the ridge continues but a significant scramble would be required to make the initial descent (perhaps even requiring a rope) I didn't investigate this further as it was already after 4pm and continuing further would take far too long for today. A closer look at Belmore Brown and it's brown ridge connector is available from here and the pointed tip of Tiara Peak sits prominently in the centre of the frame (no prizes for guessing why it's named so)

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As I made my return along the ridge I reached the middle summit of the three when lightning cracked down over the first summit, then it did it again and I bailed. I skidded and stumbled down the scree onto a steep grassy slope and down into the relative safety of the canyon below. The thunder rattled the ground as I hurried into the tighter spaces of North Canyon Creek, fortunately the rain stayed away.

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Dropping into Canyon Creek had made the hike a bit longer than it would otherwise have been but the weather continued to show that it was a wise decision. Thunder and lightning hammered the area around me but thankfully not right on me. The final couple of kilometres across the open ground of Canyon Creek did have me concerned, as the only water filled bag around holding two carbon poles I didn't fancy my chances and made some significant strides back to the truck.

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Incredibly I managed to get back to the truck without getting anything more than a few spots of rain on me, I changed my boots and began the journey home as the heavens opened. At home I stood on the balcony watching the lightning hammer the foothills during sunset.

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I'm really glad I decided to check out that little lump I'd spotted a month ago, who would have thought that it would lead to such a beautiful ridgewalk, and how on earth does this wonderful wander not have a name of its own.

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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ilovescotty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:23 pm

That lightning pic is the coolest thing ever!

A real vintage ChrisW report this one! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:01 pm

What a fine, fine report and ridge Chris :clap: that must have been one awesome wander along a great ridge :clap: just a pity the weather spoiled your return journey :( but a more than wise decision to reduce your chances of being lit up like a sparkler :lol: :lol: Great photos with a great closing shot of natures power. Well done you.:clap:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ChrisW » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:15 pm

ilovescotty wrote:That lightning pic is the coolest thing ever!
A real vintage ChrisW report this one! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


Thanks ILS, I got lucky with that lighting shot but it did turn out great :wink:

trailmasher wrote:What a fine, fine report and ridge Chris :clap: that must have been one awesome wander along a great ridge :clap: just a pity the weather spoiled your return journey :( but a more than wise decision to reduce your chances of being lit up like a sparkler :lol: :lol: Great photos with a great closing shot of natures power. Well done you.:clap:


Cheers TM, it really was a great afternoon up on that little ridge but it was the first time I've been genuinely concerned about being zapped :shock: ............:lol: :lol:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:38 pm

So you do get clouds in Canada :lol:
Another stunner Chris :clap:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby mamoset » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:46 am

First and last pics are awesome, ones in between are not too bad either mind you :lol: great TR Chris :clap:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby past my sell by date » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:52 pm

Another great report Chris - I have to agree the first and last pics are the best - quite spectacular. It all looks amazingly arid - easy walking but hard on the feet I would imagine
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby Graeme D » Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:22 pm

I have been neglecting the Outside Scotland board for too long Chris. I forgot there were gems like this to be found on there! :clap:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:11 pm

Great report, as usual Chris. That ridge looks absolutely brilliant, and it does seem odd that it's unnamed!
The hair was standing up on the back of my neck reading about the lightning - I'm even more terrified of lightning than I am of avalanches! But good to read that the only bag of water in the area (with carbon poles to boot!) didn't attract any strikes!
Amazing pics, especially that first and last, as others have commented. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby scoob999 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:24 pm

Just love the lightning pic and the first one with the illuminated clouds :D

I hate lightning, especially after a workmate got struck while we were working in France :shock: I probably would've broke records for getting of a mountain if lightning was striking :lol:

Hope the weather's picking up? we're busy making plans for our trip at the moment :D

Atb

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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:04 am

johnkaysleftleg wrote:So you do get clouds in Canada :lol: Another stunner Chris :clap:

Cheers JK, it's the rainy season now mate, only lasts about 6 weeks but its bloody frustrating when it's here :roll:
mamoset wrote:First and last pics are awesome, ones in between are not too bad either mind you :lol: great TR Chris :clap:

:lol: Thanks Mamoset, it's easy work with the landscape around here :wink:
past my sell by date wrote:Another great report Chris - I have to agree the first and last pics are the best - quite spectacular. It all looks amazingly arid - easy walking but hard on the feet I would imagine

Thanks PMSD, it is hard on the feet around here, I wear good boots year round for that reason, almost all of the summits and the lead up to them are loose hard anklebiters ...it can get a bit stalling after a long day :roll:
Graeme D wrote:I have been neglecting the Outside Scotland board for too long Chris. I forgot there were gems like this to be found on there! :clap:

Thanks Graeme, I can't say anything mate, I rarely make the Scotland section now as there's too many to keep up with in here :crazy:
Alteknacker wrote:Great report, as usual Chris. That ridge looks absolutely brilliant, and it does seem odd that it's unnamed!
The hair was standing up on the back of my neck reading about the lightning - I'm even more terrified of lightning than I am of avalanches! But good to read that the only bag of water in the area (with carbon poles to boot!) didn't attract any strikes!
Amazing pics, especially that first and last, as others have commented. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Cheers Alteknacker, it always amazes me that so many tops here have no name, I guess they have so damn many they ran out :lol: The lightning thing really did have me concerned over the last few km's, I was bloody pleased to get in the truck mate :lol:
scoob999 wrote:Just love the lightning pic and the first one with the illuminated clouds :D

I hate lightning, especially after a workmate got struck while we were working in France :shock: I probably would've broke records for getting of a mountain if lightning was striking :lol:

Hope the weather's picking up? we're busy making plans for our trip at the moment :D
Atb
Scoob & Fi

Cheers Scoob, I wasn't slow getting off that ridge I'll tell ya :lol: :lol: The weather is settling out now after our usual chaos in early summer. Sarah and I did a nice one today in 26 degree temps and it's lined up the same for next week :wink: I've ordered good weather for your arrival mate :wink: looking forward to it :thumbup:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ancancha » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:57 pm

Those ridges look incredible :D
As usual Chris, National Geographic eat your heart out :lol:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ChrisW » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:25 pm

ancancha wrote:Those ridges look incredible :D
As usual Chris, National Geographic eat your heart out :lol:


:lol: :lol: Thanks Ancancha, it's still grotty weather here and I've seen very little of the hills since this :(
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby simon-b » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:55 pm

Spectacular stuff, Chris. Those mountains are pretty magnificent, but, I agree, it's a good job you weren't up on the ridge when you took the first and last pics :shock:
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Re: Canada - Dodging the lightning on a ridge with no name.

Postby ChrisW » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:04 pm

simon-b wrote:Spectacular stuff, Chris. Those mountains are pretty magnificent, but, I agree, it's a good job you weren't up on the ridge when you took the first and last pics :shock:

Thanks Simon, lightning is great for a few days as it lets me get some nice photos....but man am I sick of it now :roll:
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