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East Ridge of The Fist II
Kananaskis, Alberta
February 24, 2018

The East Ridge of The Fist offers snowshoers a good workout while breaks in the trees provide glimpses of nearby peaks. And by staying in the trees we avoided avalanche risks making this a fairly safe winter trip.

Zora, Keith, Suzy and I parked on the Smith Dorrien Trail with the East Ridge in plain sight. Cliffs make it impossible to head directly to the ridge, so we would skirt them on the left. (They can also be avoided by going right as we did in 2003.) Our car joined several other vehicles on the roadside, all apparently transporting skiers.

We strapped on our snowshoes and quickly dropped down a short slope to the snow-covered marshland that extends to the edge of the forest. After entering the trees we merged onto a broad trail, so smooth and compacted that our snowshoes barely left impressions. After going over a slight rise and before the trail bent left, we broke off to make our own track in the snow as we headed toward the ridge.

We soon crossed Commonwealth Creek and a short time later, came to an old logging road. We followed it until we hit a steep slope on our left. Keith did a lion's share of trail-breaking, but we all found the climb strenuous because of slippery sugar snow patches – three steps up and sliding one back down. Deadfall and dense forest didn't help either. But we persevered and reached the crest. Here the trees thinned, travel eased and we caught sight of nearby peaks. Ski tracks were everywhere.

After a time the ridge crest, steep and broad at first, settled into a narrow, undulating line. We stopped on a high point to have lunch. Across a deep valley loomed Tent Ridge while ahead The Fist thrust into the blue sky.

Closely following our tracks, we made our way back down. On the steeper slopes we slid down on our butts in the deep snow with much whooping and yelling. The fast, fun descent made up for our tough ascent.

GPX and KML Tracks


View of the East Ridge and The Fist from the highway


We headed to a trail in the trees


We left the trail and made our way to the ridge


We easily crossed Commonwealth Creek


Going up a logging road


The road conveniently goes toward the ridge


Tree-covered Rummel Ridge lies northeast


After leaving the road it was a steep climb to the ridge crest


Finally we're on the ridge


After a long climb in trees we welcomed the sunshine


We passed a stand of larches on the ridge


On our right, Tent Ridge rises above Tryst Lake


The ridge continues to The Fist


Keith, Zora and Suzy on the ridge


Suzy slides down


82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

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