I've always found the area around Highwood Junction in Kananaskis to be a good source for December hikes, and I figured "Etherington-Baril Ridge" would be no exception. This ridge, described in Mike Potter's Ridgewalks, can be climbed by walking up the Etherington Creek road and ascending the south end of the ridge. Although it's just a minor point, Dinah and Sonny were willing to join me.
We were expecting to break trail in the snow on the road, but what little snow there was, snowmobilers had thoughtfully pounded it down for us. Trees rose up on either side of the road, so we hiked 2.1 km up the road until we came to a open slope on our right. Although steep, it provided a suitable launching point.
After a few minutes of climbing, we came to a rib of orange and gray rock. Sonny and I stuck to the rib with its bits of easy scrambling, while Dinah headed up the grassy slope on the right. However, the three of us soon converged and we continued together along the ridge.
The ridgewalk was hardly serene. Strong winds battered us, but at least the ridge relaxed its steep grade and azure skies provided clear views all around us. We reached the summit where we stopped to take some photos. Afterwards, we turned around and enjoyed the ridgewalk back. In a season when many hikes are confined to trees, the open crest on Etherington-Baril Ridge was a welcomed diversion.
Etherington-Baril Ridge from the trailhead
Walking up the road
We left the road and ascended an open slope
We soon hit a rocky spine
Sonny and I stuck to the rocks
Dinah ascended the grassy slopes on the right
Looking down the ridge
Pushing up the steep grade
The grade eases and the ridge becomes lightly treed
Dinah often tells me she hates the snow yet here she is smiling!
Hiking among the trees
Sonny stops to admire Baril Peak, Mount Bolton (mouse over) and Mount Armstrong
Plateau Mountain stretches above Dinah, while the wind whips snow from Raspberry Ridge
The wind tugs on Sonny's jacket
The ridge becomes surprisingly spacious here
Heading to the summit
Looking north at Coyote Hills (foreground, right)
Mount Etherington and Baril Peak
82 J/7 Mount Head
Canada | Home