N 50° 57.256 W 115° 14.728
BCP665 - Wind Mountain
Brendan716 and I hit the trail from the Ribbon Creek TH just after sunrise this morning to tackle Wind Mountain. The Ribbon Creek Trail is closed from the 2013 rain event, so we ended up taking a series of trails Kovach et al to circumvent the washed out portion of the Ribbon Creek Trail.
Further up the trail as you by-pass the closed section of the Ribbon Creek Trail is a new bridge that is being completed over Ribbon Creek. Once you cross Ribbon Creek cross you return to the Ribbon Creek Trail until reaching the Memorial Lakes junction. The trail along this section is washed out in three places and requires travel up and around the washout in each section – fortunately there is a reasonable trail around each of the washouts.
Once past the Memorial Lakes Junction the trail is reasonably good for a back country trail. The trail is well defined and isn’t overgrown. The trail quickly delivers you to the scree below Wind Mountain and what an impressive sight all of the peaks are in the area.
You enter a scree bash towards the summit and just after a rather impressive cave on the hiker’s left in a grassy section that delivered us to a ramp to circumvent the initial cliff band. Once past the grassy section is a short scramble with plenty of hand and foot holds to by-pass another rock band. From the short scramble section you follow an obvious scree ramp towards the summit and when you run into the next rock band, head left and around the rock band on the scree towards the summit.
The last tricky section are the steep slabs before the summit where approach or climbing shoes will quickly allow you to traverse the fairly steep 50 metre section of slab. If the slabs are ice covered (verglace), down climb the rock fin on the scrambler’s left and carefully do a short scree bash around the slabs on steep terrain. Both routes deliver you to the short walk to the summit which holds as Alberta Survey Marker and a summit log. According to the summit log we were the first visitors since early September 2012.
Overall the track log showed a round trip distance of over 28 km (due to the washouts on Ribbon Creek) and an elevation gain of well over 1800 metres on our 11.5 hour trip through light rain showers, snow and fortunately a break into the sun as we approached the summit that lasted for the balance of the trip. Simply an amazing little hike into an area in which you are surrounded by massive peaks with incredibly steep cliffs.
A special thanks to Brendan716 for the terrific conversation and pace setting on the trail (I definitely did the trip at least an hour faster than I would have done by myself) and to OFTH for the posting of a very do-able peak cap that might be best done as an overnight backpack!