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Coral Ridge
David Thompson Highway, Alberta
July 20, 2008

Although I find it hard to say anything good about Coral Ridge I am prejudiced by the poor route description found in the David Thompson Highway: A Hiking Guide. We had no trouble following the horse trail as described, but after leaving it to ascend the ledges, we found the instructions made no sense. The book suggests repeatedly to “drift left.” Such instructions are useless when you are bushwhacking for the better part of an hour. Instead, a compass bearing or a waypoint would have been useful.

Somehow drifting left didn't feel correct to me so we went right. As it turns out, my instincts were correct. When we climbed high enough to see above the trees to view the ridge, we saw a scree slope topped by steep slabs. We had to work our way right to avoid the slabs in order to gain the ridge. (Later I realized the simple map in the book does show the route going right.) Also, the wrong elevation and elevation gain are given – off by 200 m – which can be determined by looking at the NTS map. The summit GR should have been added since this ridge is not named on the any map I found.

When the trees didn't obscure the view, Abraham Lake from the ridge was impressive. We spent an hour and a half on the summit ridge before heading down. Instead of retracing our steps, we descended a steep slab and scree slope below the summit. Possibly this is the "avalanche slope" that the authors refer by drifting left, although contrary to the route on their map. But it would take luck to reach it by bushwhacking.

As good as the views were on Coral Ridge, it may be better to try following the entire ridge as curves west and thus extend the experience.

KLM and GPX Tracks

Coral Ridge from the highway

Hiking up the trail

Southeast face of Coral Ridge seen from the trail

The trail follows Coral Creek gorge for a short way

Looking ? at ?

This was the first ledge we encountered after leaving the trail

Ascending the scree slope to the ridge. Elliot Peak and Sentinel Mountain in the background.

Ascending the ridge

Looking southeast from the south end of the ridge

The ridge behind us might offer a better ascent/descent route

View to the northwest

Heading to the summit

On the summit

South end of Stelfox fills the view north. Steep rock slabs (centre, bottom) block an ascent up the west side of Coral Ridge. Vision Quest on the right.

Looking at Mount Michener across Abraham Lake

Looking southeast at Mount William Booth

Looking down our descent slope

Heading down

Hanging onto the wall outside our motel room we discovered this strange moth, Cerisy's Sphinx, nearly three inches across (mouse over for another view).

83 C/2 Cline River and 83 C/1 White Rabbit

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