Chaffen Ridge, East Peak
Chaffen Ridge lies west of Whaleback Ridge, and although traversing its entirety wouldn't be practical during the short days of December, its east peak appeared to be a worthy ascent.
We drove nearly to the end of Chimney Rock Road off of Highway 22, south of Chain Lakes, and parked on the corner where the road bends ninety degrees left, the same trailhead we used for Chimney Rock and White Ridge. A gated fence barred access to a road going south and displayed faded signs warning: “No Fire,” “No Camping,” and “No Trespassing.” We hadn't noticed the “No Trespassing” sign before but having parked here undisturbed on other occasions I assumed it was intended for hunters.
As we started gearing up, a truck suddenly drove up and the driver asked if we were hiking. After affirming we were and explaining what we were doing, he suggested the trail we should take. (I had already mapped our trip but I politely listened.) After the truck disappeared back to whatever farm it came from, we shouldered our packs and set out.
After hopping the fence, we walked down the road 1.7 km to a drainage. Our route would follow the north side of this drainage so we started up it. I was expecting an off-trail hike so I was pleasantly surprised to find trails that followed alongside the drainage. Eventually we settled on a single trail that ascended well above the drainage and headed toward the open slopes of a nameless ridge. We left the trail before it crossed the drainage and ascended the ridge.
From the ridge we could see the east peak of Chaffen Ridge. We dropped down to a drainage and then ascended a treed ridge that led to the summit. Although not completely free of trees, it did provide good views of the mountains west.
The west peak and highest point on Chaffen Ridge lay nearly four kilometres west (and 100 m higher), too far from where I stood. In 2015 I used the west approach to ascend the West Peak of Chaffen Ridge.
After parking, we start up the road. We're headed to the open slopes above the buildings.
After leaving the road we follow a drainage
On track to the open slopes
Hiking through a grove of aspens
Nearing the open slopes
This trail extends to the end of this valley before crossing the drainage and veering left
Ahead, the trail follows a fence
Whaleback Ridge left and Chimney Rock far right
We leave the trail soon after crossing this side drainage
Hiking up a grassy slope after leaving the trail
We pass a solitary tree on our way to the east peak (left)
From a break in the trees we can see the grassy ridge we were on
Looking down a ridge running south. White Ridge on the left.
Heading to the summit
Another fence reminds us we are not far from civilization
After a short climb, it's a walk to the summit
On the summit
Coffin Mountain, Mount Livingstone, Sheep Mountain and Saddle Mountain
Chaffen Ridge continues southwest. The summit is barely visible, well in the background (mouse over).
Back at the solitary tree we find a tombstone (mouse over)
Heading back to the trail below
We pass by a wasp nest
Langford Creek 82/J1
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