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Freedom of the Hills...

Deer Ridge
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Date:                                                    September 16, 2006

Participants:                                          Author

Distance:                                              Unknown

Elevation Gain:                                     Approx. 350 total

Maximum Elevation:                             Unknown

Elapsed Time:                                       6 hours total

Published Routes:                                 Daffern

Published Rating:                                  Day Hike

Difficulty - Endurance:                          2.5

Difficulty - Technical:                            1.5 (alpine 2.5 with bushwhacking)


Well, the snow had definitely fallen in K Country.  However, in Calgary there was no hint of snow so, naively, I assumed that the snow accumulation in K Country would be relatively minor.  My original plan was to try GR436425 and maybe a connecting peak as Matt and I had failed to summit this peak during the summer with our dogs.  When I drove up Powderface Trail I knew I was in trouble as the snow stacked on each side of the road was, in parts, close to the height of my car roof!  When I arrived at Canyon Creek I had no where to park due to the snow drifts so I just plunked the car on the road.  I knew from the start that snow shoes would be required to make any progress but having left them at home, I was determined to give it a try anyway.  The post-holing started immediately in the mid-thigh level wet snow.  It took about an hour to cover the distance that I could have done in 10 minutes in the dry.  I gave up and returned to the car deciding that I’d continue to drive further North down Powderface Trail and see if someone had packed down a trail on the easy hike up to Jumping Pound (which, incidentally, has some great views and, if combined with Cox Hill or Moose Mountain can make for an interesting, if not strenuous day).


At the Jumping Pound trail head (I have done this route twice before including a winter ascent) it appeared that someone had braved the snow before me so I followed their path for a ways until it stopped at a bridge with a massive conifer having fallen over under the heavy wet snow load.  In the dry this would have been no obstacle but given the swelling creek, the fallen tree and the thigh deep, wet snow there would have been an epic battle to be fought to get to the summit.  I turned around and went back to the car for the second time that day.


Determined to climb something, anything, I stopped at the northern terminus of Powderface Trail and headed straight up the first bump I could find.  Bushwhacking through some now rapidly melting snow on south slopes I encountered a trail that had some foot prints on it.  I followed it up a ways to a nice little lookout that I later learned was called Deer Ridge. I spent a good hour in the warm sun and soaked in the views.


Canyon Creek looking like a sea of snow.  Compresion Rdige on the left and Mount Bryant on the right.


Coming back, the stream is already starting to swell from the melt.


The Jumping Pound trail head doesn't look very promising.


Snow, fallen trees and a creek stop me.


Finally something to climb, looking back on my descent from Deer Ridge.


Looking North-West from Deer Ridge lookout.  Notice Yamnuska on the right.


Looking South-East to the Moose Mountain Massif, which is looking quite alpine.