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Freedom of the Hills...

Fortress Ridge
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Date:                                                    June 18, 2006

Participants:                                          The author and Carrie.

Distance:                                              Approximately 11 km

Elevation Gain:                                     Approximately 364 m net gain, however gross gains would be more due to significant elevation loss (at least 550m)

Maximum Elevation:                             2365 m (7,757 ft.)

Elapsed Time:                                      Unknown (est. 5 hours)

Published Routes:                                 Daffern (modified)

Published Rating:                                  Daffern: “Mild Scrambling”

Difficulty - Endurance:                          3.5

Difficulty - Technical:                            Overall 2.5 (Short down climb and some minor ridge exposure near last peak rates as 3)


Fortress ridge offer some magnificent scenery for such little effort.  If you are interested in just a quick hike in exchange for outstanding views I would suggest you just tramp up the old backside ski runs and bask in the glory of the Fortress and surrounding peaks, replete with a wonderful little tarn.  This little spot is so gorgeous that some have chosen to construct memorials here.


The route avoids this spot, which is a shame, by steering you north to the summit of the first peak known as “Baldy”.  The route unfolds as a relatively expansive ridge walk over two more summits and a short easy scrambling section on the col to the last summit.  As you approach the last summit, fantastic views open up including the daunting face of Mount Kidd South.


There are some down sides to this hike, one being the large and repeated losses and gains of elevation, the other is more sinister.  Fortress Ridge, of course, used to be a ski area which closed down in the last few years.  All the ski hill accoutrements are still in place and frankly are a massive eyesore.  Some of the buildings have been shut down by order of the district due to mould infestation and other assorted problems.  Furthermore there is a shop of some kind still present on the hill which looks like an environmental assessment may reveal some contamination.  I can only imagine how stunning this place must have been before man’s presence screwed it up.  This whole mess almost makes me want to look into this situation pro bono.


The ridge with "Baldy" in the forefront and the last peak just right of center transposed against Mout Kidd South.


The begining of the ridge with the Fortress and friends.


Memorial cairns in a wonderful setting.


The cairns appear to be rock attached to a wood structure.


One of the inscriptions.


Getting close to the end of the ridge and looking back.


At the end of the ridge.  The very end of Mount Kidd is in forefront on the left.  Old Baldy is in the distance off my left knee and Little McDougal is in the distance off my right knee (one day I will get around to posting reports for these trips.)