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Powderface Ridge (East Approach)
Kananaskis, Alberta
November 11, 2016

Distance: 15.2 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 814 m

Since Dinah and I had previously used the South Approach for Powderface Ridge, we wanted to try the East Approach. To make it more interesting, we would take the east ridge after hiking partway up Powderface Creek trail. The east ridge offers the added adventure of offtrail hiking and a chance to escape the hordes on this popular hike. We would, however, take the usual route back to make this a loop trip.

We met Zora and her friends, Goulfia and Khalil Ismaguilov, at the Powderface Creek trailhead. Only after starting, did I learn that this was Khalil’s second hike ever. But he took in stride everything this trip had to offer, including an icy trail, extensive deadfall, and a steep ascent.

The broad trail began dry, but we soon hit lengthy ice patches. Exception for Goulfia who brought icers, we were caught off-guard and trod carefully up the slick sections.

We left the ice behind when we turned onto the side trail that runs over the end of the east ridge. When the trail crested, we began hiking offtrail, dodging deadfall on the lower part of the ridge. Higher up, animal trails eased our passage through trees until the trails disappeared on the final, steep stretch. After bushwhacking up, we popped up onto the ridge 500 m north of the summit. By then, most of us had shed our jackets. Mild and windless, it felt more like the end of summer than the middle of fall. We strolled along the grassy crest to the highest point on Powderface Ridge, where we lollygagged under the sun before heading back.

After starting down the ridge, we soon caught Powderface Creek Trail and followed it through the trees back to the parking lot. The return on the broad trail was utterly boring, and we were glad to get it over. If we hadn’t ascended the engaging east ridge, this trip would have been mostly forgettable.

KML and GPX Tracks

Hiking down Powderface Creek trail

Much of the first section was slick with ice

The east ridge came into view

Starting up the side trail that leads to the east ridge

On the soft, mossy side trail

After leaving the trail we started up the east ridge

Much of the lower ridge is strewn with deadfall

There were no views until we reached this point

Left of the cliffs is a steep, treed slope we'll ascend

Hiking up the steep slope

Looking back along the east ridge. In the background is Iyarhe Ipan

After taking a break on an open high point, we continued up the east ridge

Powderface Ridge ahead

Prairie Mountain in the background

We gained the ridge at this notch in the cliffs

Dinah peers over a cliff

Heading to the summit

The two points on the right appeared equally high

Looking back at the east ridge we ascended

Khali, Goulfia, Zora, Dinah and I bask under a November sun

Heading to the trail

We faced a monotonous hike back along Powderface Creek trail

82 J/15 Bragg Creek

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