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Etherington-Baril Ridge
aka Three Cairns
Kananaskis, Alberta
December 10, 2011

Distance: 7.2 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 559 m

I've always found the area around Highwood Junction in Kananaskis to be a good source for December hikes, and I figured "Etherington-Baril Ridge" would be no exception. This ridge, described in Mike Potter's Ridgewalks, can be climbed by walking up the Etherington Creek road and ascending the south end of the ridge. Although it's just a minor point, Dinah and Sonny were willing to join me.

We were expecting to break trail in the snow on the road, but what little snow there was, snowmobilers had thoughtfully pounded it down for us. Trees rose up on either side of the road, so we hiked 2.1 km up the road until we came to an open slope on our right. Although steep, it provided a suitable launching point.

After a few minutes of climbing, we came to a rib of orange and gray rock. Sonny and I stuck to the rib with its bits of easy scrambling, while Dinah headed up the grassy slope on the right. However, the three of us soon converged and we continued together along the ridge.

The ridgewalk was hardly serene. Strong winds battered us, although at least the ridge relaxed its steep grade and azure skies provided clear views all around us. We reached the summit where we stopped to take some photos. Afterwards, we turned around and enjoyed the ridgewalk back. In a season when many hikes are confined to trees, the open crest on Etherington-Baril Ridge was a welcomed diversion.

KML and GPX Tracks
Sonny's Trip Report

Etherington-Baril Ridge from the trailhead

Walking up the road

We left the road and ascended an open slope

We soon hit a rocky spine

Sonny and I stuck to the rocks

Dinah ascended the grassy slopes on the right

Looking down the ridge

Pushing up the steep grade

The grade eased and the ridge became lightly treed

Dinah often tells me she hates the snow yet here she is smiling!

Hiking among the trees

Sonny stops to admire Bar il Peak, Mount Bolton (mouse over) and Mount Armstrong

Plateau Mountain stretches above Dinah, while the wind whips snow from Raspberry Ridge (mouse over)

The wind tugs on Sonny's jacket

The ridge becomes surprisingly spacious here

Heading to the summit

Summit pose

Looking north at Coyote Hills (foreground, right)

Mount Etherington and Bar il Peak

82 J/7 Mount Head

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