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Coral Ridge
David Thompson Highway, Alberta
July 20, 2008

Although I find it hard to say anything good about Coral Ridge, I am prejudiced by the poor route description found in the David Thompson Highway: A Hiking Guide. We had no trouble following the horse trail as described, but after leaving it to ascend the ledges, we found the instructions made no sense. The book suggests repeatedly to “drift left.” Such instructions are useless when you are bushwhacking for the better part of an hour. Instead, a compass bearing or a waypoint would have been useful.

Somehow drifting left didn't feel correct so we went right. As it turns out, my instincts were correct. When we climbed high enough to see above the trees to view the ridge, we saw a scree slope topped by steep slabs. We had to work our way right to avoid the slabs to gain the ridge. (Later I realized the simple map in the book does show the route going right.) Also, the wrong elevation and elevation gain were given – off by 200 m – which can be determined by looking at the NTS map. The summit GR should have been added since this ridge is not named on any map I found.

When the trees didn't obscure the view, Abraham Lake from the ridge was impressive. We spent an hour and a half on the summit ridge before heading down. Instead of retracing our steps, we descended a steep slab and scree slope below the summit. Possibly this is the "avalanche slope" that the authors refer to by drifting left, although that would be contrary to the route on their map. But it would take luck to reach it by bushwhacking.

As good as the views were on Coral Ridge, it may be better to gain the ridge at the east end and follow it as curves west. This would give you the best scenery.

KLM and GPX Tracks


Coral Ridge from the highway


Hiking up the trail


Southeast face of Coral Ridge seen from the trail


The trail follows Coral Creek gorge for a short way


Unnamed mountain to the west


This was the first ledge we encountered after leaving the trail


Ascending the scree slope to the ridge. Elliot Peak and Sentinel Mountain in the background.


Ascending the ridge


Looking southeast from the south end of the ridge


The ridge behind us might offer a better ascent/descent route


View to the northwest


Heading to the summit


Looking back along the ridge


On the summit


South end of Stelfox fills the view north. Vision Quest on the right.


Looking across Abraham Lake at Mount Michener


Looking southeast at Mount William Booth


Looking down our descent slope


Heading down


Hanging onto the wall outside our motel room we discovered this strange moth, Cerisy's Sphinx, nearly three inches across


83 C/2 Cline River, 83 C/1 White Rabbit


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