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Crystal Ridge (treeline)
Banff National Park, Alberta
March 10, 2018

Distance: 4.6 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 460 m

While a high point on Crystal Ridge is a worthwhile goal, the long ridge offers plenty of places to explore in the winter. On this trip our party of six snowshoers parked by Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. We didn't have a clear destination, unless you count getting to the treeline an objective. But the avalanche risk limited us from climbing very high that day.

From the parking lot, we more or less went straight up the slope. After a steep ascent, and after the trees began to disappear and the terrain grew gentler, we were treated to gorgeous winter alpine scenery, crystal clear under cobalt blue skies. On reaching the treeline, we faced kilometres of open, rolling terrain all under a thick blanket of snow. But as inviting as it was, we climbed no higher that day because of the avalanche risk; we didn't want to attempt any steep, open slopes. We did however, reach a high point on a side ridge before turning around. On our way back down, we cut a short loop before following our tracks back. On the steep slopes that we had earlier climbed, where we had groaned while painstakingly cutting in switchbacks, we now thrilled in sliding straight down. We made quick work of returning to our cars.

GPX and KML Tracks

There were no views as we climbed the lower slope

Eventually we began encountering breaks in the trees

Higher up we started getting some scenery

Bow Lake came into view

Still more trees ahead

We continued climbing up

north up the valley. Far right, Mount Chephren rises to a prominent point (mouse over).

We headed to the low ridge on our right

The bump in the centre was the highest point we reached

Zora, Kari, Keith, Suzy, me and Sarah

Stopping for lunch

We continued on to the bump

Looking back from the bump. A bitter cold wind kept us from lingering here.

Heading back down

Zora pauses on a cornice with Bow Lake behind her

Sarah takes delight in sliding down

Back at the parking lot, we can see the slope we were on above the trees

82 N/9 Hector Lake

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