Wasootch Ridge
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Wasootch Ridge Hike Scramble – Kananaskis Highway 40

Pictures are from two trips one overcast and snowy on Sept 17, 2011 to the "End of Trail" and the other on a very hot blue sky day Sept 24, 2011 to the highest point

Ridge is looking right at you on the east side of the parking lot, steep trail just to the right of the green sign then heads left, lots of vehicles are there for the climbing at Wasootch slabs by going up Wasootch Creek to the right

A closer view, you can just see the trail through the trees, it is that close, better do a good stretch and warm up before you ascend

Start of trail

Doesn't take long and you are gaining elevation, the first 3 bumps on the ridge gain you about 1,500 feet of elevation

A nice view of Nakiska ski hill

The next big hump

More trail views as you get higher up

Scenic viewpoint

View down to Wasootch Creek

Looking north at Midnight Peak North and South summits

The point way in the distance is the high point of Wasootch Ridge

One of the bigger dips perhaps 125 feet

Getting closer

The ridge opens up a bit

Looking back at Mt. Lorette and Mary Barclay's

Getting closer, the middle bumpy area is the "End of Trail" cairn and most people call it a day there as terrain to the high point is basically off trail and scree bashing for an hour or so

Interesting red, reminds me of the crimson blood shed by the Savior for lost sinners, have you availed yourself of that payment in God's courtroom made on your behalf?

More crimson plants

Wind and snow as we approach the "End of Trail" cairn

Last few feet to "End of Trail"

Started too late in the day to go any further

Yours truly

But the sky did open up as we were at the "End of Trail" cairn

I believe that might be Tiara Peak in the middle there?

It is farther than it looks! Do the 2 humps then you drop down on the right or SW side

The next hump after the "End of Trail" cairn, basically 2 humps till you drop down on the right hand or southwest side to traverse the more difficult part of the ridge. Once you go left after this point the trail is pretty faint due to large rocks. You just rock hop or traverse south towards the next hump, some route finding here

The second hump has an obvious trail up and over it and brings you to the wind break and the spot where to descend to do the traverse

Looking back where we dropped down to start the traverse

Precariously there since the Flood of Noah?

More of the traverse

Once you get around the corner this is the view. There is a steeper looking trail higher up on the corner but we preferred this slope to pick our way up. Very steep with some hands down but you could pick your way on fairly stable rock

A look at the two ascent possibilities from the corner. We took the one closest in the picture

We ascended up towards the rock face and traversed along and around up to gain the ridge

The last part to the ridge although still quite a bit to go along the ridge

Terrain along the ridge

Ridge view from summit

A tough effort for me on a hot day as I don't really like hot weather scrambling

Another ridge view from summit cairn

Mt Bogart left and Mt. Sparrowhawk right

AA heads home, a long ways to go and the feet are a bit sore!

Adeem also

A parting look back

Wasootch Ridge Hike Scramble – Kananaskis Highway 40

Scramble: Class 1 – Steep Hiking to "End of Trail", Class 2+ to the high point with off trail some route finding and scree bashing

Altitude: 2,332m (7,650 ft)

Elevation Gain: 762m (2,500 ft) to "End of Trail", ~ 975m (3,200 ft) to the Highest Point

5.3 km to the "End of Trail" 6.9 km to the Highest Point

Ascent Time: 2 1/2 – 3 Hours to "End of Trail", another 1 to 1 1/4 hour to the High Point

Best Season to Scramble: May to October, Dry Slopes, Possible Ticks in Spring

Highlights

This ridge walk is very enjoyable once you do the steep first hour + to get past the first 3 big humps. Nice views even though you are not above the surrounding peaks. Highly recommended. Would say you should return the same way and not descend to the creek bed. Though able to be traversed around there are cliff bands below and 5 or 6 km on a rocky uneven creek bed get a bit wearing after awhile.

Getting There

Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to the Highway 40 Kananaskis Country turnoff (approx 60 km from the Canada Olympic Park intersection to the Highway 40 turnoff). Take the turnoff and head south on highway 40 for approx. 17+ km to the turnoff for Wasootch. The sign just says Wasootch and it is a left hand turn off the highway. Just a minute down the road you come to a large paved parking lot with the usual pit toilets. This the same parking lot for people going up the creek bed to climb on the Wasootch Slabs.

Route Description

You can see the start of the ridge like only 20 yards from the east side of the parking lot. There is a green sign right there, just walk like 10-15 yards behind it heading slightly right through a small clearing and the trail up the ridge is right there. Shortest warm up ever. Probably good to stretch and warm up at the car as the ridge ascends steeply. The first 3 big humps gain a lot of elevation and the scenery gets better and better. From that point it is a long ridge walk on a good trail up and down to just before the high point in the distance where the trail part officially ends at a big cairn. The biggest down along the ridge was only say 125 feet and there were quite a few that were a lot less.

From there it is class 2+ off trail with route finding and side hill scree bashing for a good portion to the highest point. I don’t recommend the ridge from "End of Trail" to the High Point as it has a difficult section that a climber might be more comfortable on or might even want a rope for security. Dropping off the ridge to the right  or SW after the second hump (see pictures) and going around the difficult ridge section on the scree is the easiest route. Be careful as you go straight up and over the first hump as it is narrow and a bit exposed then you go left and traverse big rocks over to the second hump which has an obvious trail up and over it.

Once you drop down and traverse along the ridge for quite a ways you reach the corner. There is a higher route which we did not prefer (see pictures) so we continued left up the open slope along the rib picking our way up the best terrain to reach the upper ridge. From there it is still a fair ways along the ascending ridge to reach the summit cairn