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Powderface Ridge (east approach)
Kananaskis, Alberta
November 11, 2016

Since Dinah and I had already done the usual south approach for Powderface Ridge years ago, we wanted to try the east approach. To make it more interesting, we would take the east ridge after hiking partway up Powderface Creek trail. The east ridge offers the added adventure of offtrail hiking and a chance to escape the hordes on this popular hike.

We met Zora and her friends, Goulfia and Khalil Ismaguilov, at the Powderface Creek trailhead. Only after starting out did I learn that this was Khalil’s second hike ever. But he took in stride everything this trip had to offer, including an icy trail, extensive deadfall, and a steep ascent.

The broad trail started out dry but we soon hit lengthy ice patches. With the exception of Goulfia who brought icers, we were caught off guard and trod carefully up the slick trail sections.

We left the ice behind when we turned onto the side trail that runs over the end of the east ridge. When the trail crested, we began hiking offtrail, dodging deadfall on the lower part of the ridge. Higher up, animal trails eased our passage through trees until the trails disappeared on the final, steep stretch. After bushwhacking up, we popped up onto the ridge 500 m from the summit. By then, most of us had shed our jackets. Mild and windless, it felt more like the end of summer than the middle of fall. We strolled along the grassy crest to the highest point on Powderface Ridge, where we lollygagged under the sun before heading back.

After starting down the ridge we soon caught Powderface Creek Trail and followed it through the trees back to the parking lot. The return on the trail was utterly boring and we were glad to get it over with. If we hadn’t ascended the engaging east ridge, this trip would have been largely forgettable.

KML and GPX Tracks


Hiking down Powderface Creek trail


Much of the first section was slick with ice


The east ridge came into view


Starting up the side trail that leads to the east ridge


On the soft, mossy side trail


After leaving the trail we started up the east ridge


Much of the lower ridge is strewn with deadfall


There were no views until we reached this point


Left of the cliffs is a steep, treed slope


Hiking up the steep slope


Looking back along the east ridge. In the background is Iyarhe Ipan


After taking a break on an open high point, we continued up the east ridge


Powderface Ridge ahead


Prairie Mountain in the background


We gained the ridge at this notch in the cliffs


Heading to the summit


The two points on the right appeared equally high


Khali, Goulfia, Zora, Dinah and I bask under a November sun


Heading to the trail


We faced a monotonous hike back along Powderface Creek trail


82 J/15 Bragg Creek


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