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Partial panorama from our turn-around point

"Commonwealth Ridge" (attempt)
Kananaskis, Alberta
February 13, 2010

When Dinah and I climbed Commonwealth Ridge in 2001 with a group, we never had a chance to try climbing higher. We returned to explore farther.

Following the well-packed trail that leads to Commonwealth Lake, we snowshoed to the foot of the ridge before starting our ascent. In a short time we came across an old snowshoe track that followed the ridge to the shoulder above the treeline.

We continued up the ridge, but turned back when it became steep and rocky for us. A winter scramble isn't for us. Exposed to the wind on the shoulder, our hands began to get cold so we didn't stick around long.

As we headed back we spied a track dropping down on the east slope and took it. It meandered down until it reached a north-south trail. We followed that trail back to the Commonwealth Lake Trail.

We later learned that the snowshoe track we had followed was laid down by the Rocky Mountain Ramblers six weeks earlier.

Commonwealth Ridge and Peak from the road

Starting up the trail
The Fist appears on our right

Going up the ridge

Spray Valley spreads out below us

Entering a copse of larches

We reached the treeline

The Fist now appears as a pointed rock

We worked our way around to the shoulder (mouse over to look back)

On the shoulder

Mount Smuts and The Fist

Dinah continues up the ridge

Looking back at the shoulder

I stopped when the ridge became too steep to continue

Coming down

We followed a trail under a broken tree

Looking back at Commonwealth Ridge after descending the east slope (mouse over for a close-up)

82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

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