BCP494 Fortress Ridge
Well I got the call early in the week about a proposed hike up to Fortress Ridge. I hummed and hawed as I didn't know what to expect and my past record with Sleepy_Hollow is often great views, lots of work but no brass . I eventually gave into the force and off we left at the typical crazy 4:30 am start.
We arrived at the trail head and began hiking at 6:30 am. It was pitch black so head lamps were required. We ventured up the trail whooping and hollering to ward of those night bears.
The sun began to rise as we hiked up the Headwall valley. We had beautiful views of the sun breaking on Mount Fortress. We estimated where our brass cap would be situated and discussed two options. One, head to a col just south of Mount Fortress and hopefully follow the ridge south to the cap. Two, head up a gigantic scree slope by Mount James Walker and walk along a ridge to the cap. We had no trip reports to go with so we went for option one.
Option one, the scramble up to the col was steep with some good views of Fortress Ski area. We then picked our way up and south looking for a way to the cap. I must admitt this was way beyound my comfort zone. I had no idea how I was going to get down . Well I got to within 50 metres (horizontal distance) and waited while SH scouted for a route. Sleepy was within 30 metres when he poked his head out and said there was no way to the top without climbing gear. We had run into sizable cliffs. So back down we went and I made it . We caught our breath at the col and talked about our options and decided to have a look at the scree slope we passed several hours ago.
Option two, we head up the very steep scree and after some interesting scrambling we made it to the ridge. And what a ridge. It was extremely broad and provided beautiful views of Mount James Walker and the mountains of the Opal Range to the East. As we were approaching the cap I was praying that it would be on the ridge and not down some nasty dropoff. Well we were finally rewarded for our efforts with brass and outstanding views. Now the long journey home.
We navigated down the steep scree slope, not an easy task and then began our trip back to the car. Our trip was a slow one as we were both beat. We had travelled about 23 km with our adventures and by the time we reached the car over 12 hours on the trail.