Opal Ridge N
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Opal Ridge North - Kananaskis Highway 40

The initial steep steep slope to the ridge, route only approximate

The summit block from the north, traverse around to the West side

Opal Ridge North

Scramble: Class 2 Ė Very Steep Hiking, Route finding, Some Use of Hands

Altitude: 2,575m (8,446 ft)

Ascent Time: 2 -3 Hours

Elevation Gain: approx. 870m (2,854 ft)

Best Season to Scramble: June to September

Highlights

This scramble would be a great one except for the initial slope from the road to the ridge. The first slope is very steep and hard on the legs both coming up and down. However, the ridge walk is just superb with great views of the Kananaskis corridor. I would still do this one again just make sure your legs are in shape for that first slope.

Getting There

Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 for 79km (49.4 miles) and take the Kananaskis Country Highway 40 turnoff and head south. If your base is Banff head east on the TransCanada for 52 km (32.5 miles) and turn south on route as above. Drive south for 35.7 km (22.3 miles). You can park in the right hand ditch just past the Eau Claire campground turnoff and below the steep open slopes that lead to the ridge. Land marks before Eau Claire would be first the Galatea Trail parking lot then Rocky Creek bridge, then Eau Claire.

Route Description

Cross the road and work your way up treed and open slopes to the ridge. I found better footing just off the slabby stuff. It takes a bit of route finding to pick the best spot to go up. Around the mid point of the ridge length seems best. If you start to far right as you face the slope itís even steeper, if you go to far left there are more trees. Anyways, once you are on the ridge head south staying on the right side of the ridge and you will pick up the trail. This portion to the base of the Opal North is a really nice ridge walk with gentle elevation gain. Once at the base follow the trail up towards the cliffs, then head right in a traverse just below the steep cliffs onto an easy west facing slope. From here itís a short scramble up this slope to the top.