Two months earlier, Our Indian Ridge attempt offered more excitement than we wished for, but this time around, Dinah and I had no difficulties in bagging the peak.
Like our last trip, we preferred ascending the first 1000 m using the tram rather than hiking up the trail. This time, however, our packs appeared to attract the attention of tourists who amused us with their questions. The moment I stepped off the tram a woman in her 70s approached me and asked if I was going to hike down the trail. As if!
A moment later, another woman, this one middle-aged and waiting for her husband, accosted us and asked, "I saw two people walking fast up the trail. Is it safe to go that fast?" The woman admitted she turned back because she thought it might be too slippery. Apparently too the effort tired her, and she wondered if with practice or training she would get better.
Now you have to realize that the trail to Whistler's Summit is about two metres wide, 1.5 km long, and well worn with only a mild grade. We reached Whistler's Summit in about 20 minutes. We were glad to leave the tourists behind and continue on in solitude. Much of the travel to the Indian Ridge summit is on a trail and we reached the summit without incident.
Unfortunately a haze obscured the distant mountains, but we had no trouble making out Mount Edith Cavell and Mount Robson rising above lesser peaks. After a short stay on the top we continued along the ridge to the west end. The first part was an easy hike, but the difficulties increased as we approached the west end.
Along the way, we ran into a couple coming toward us who had decided, at the toss of a pointed rock, to traverse Indian Ridge in reverse. We asked them about the crux at the west end. They found the climb difficult and said they wouldn't want to downclimb it.
Dinah stopped just short of the high point at the west end while I continued on to scope out the downclimb. The west side, where the couple climbed up and where Alan Kane suggests climbing down, was quite steep and covered with loose rock. It looked too dangerous to descend. The east side didn't look good either: it was steep, rugged and under snow. So we turned back.
It took only half an hour to return to Indian's summit. Shortly past the summit we caught up to the couple. We spent several minutes exchanging stories. The guy, Dave, said he did Castle Mountain, Stuart Knob, Television Peak, and Helen Ridge in a day. Interestingly, when he had stepped off the trail on Helena, the rocks under his feet gave way and he fell into a crevice. As he fell, he tried to slow his fall with his hands and badly injured them.
Continuing on down, Dinah and I made our way back to the tram station where again we were forced to mingle with the crowds. Just before we reached the tram station, we were stopped by a middle-aged, overweight couple sitting on a rock. They had managed to walk about 250 m from the station before being forced to rest. The man wondered if it was worthwhile going all the way to Whistler's Summit. "Is the view on the top the same? It's the same as what you see here, right?"
A little farther down the trail, a youth with a different outlook asked if we had seen what's on the other side of Whistler's Summit. I said we did.
"Cool!" he said, and he started sprinting up the trail.
Indian Ridge after climbing over Whistler's Summit
Looking back at Whistler's Summit
A couple more bumps before we reach the summit
Pyramid Mountain in the background (mouse over for a close-up). I assume the purple haze is
from B.C. forest fires.
Coming up to the summit
Just below the summit
Mount Robson: 3954 m
This mountain goat quickly climbed down from the ridge when we startled it
We made our way to the west end of the ridge
We turned back at the notch on the west end
A closer view of the notch
Looking back at the ridge leading to Indian summit
83 D/16 Jasper