Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red Sky........

.....at morning, hikers take warning!
We all did our homework last night and this morning checking weather, road and avalanche conditions and seeing that all was in check and A.O.K., we decided today would be a let's do it day for Sparrowhawk Tarns with the option for another close by Ridge! The sky was absolutely beautiful for the drive out with the pinkish red mixed in with the blue.  For us, this meant a nice day ahead! 

We found the trail head and parked on the side of the road to wait for our friends.  We got out to walk around and check the conditions of the surrounding mountains only to see these tracks at the trail head. We put our animal tracker skills to use and declared a cougar had passed by here within the hour.   Just like the red sky, new cougar tracks were no worries for us!
Our friends arrived, we joined forces then hit the trail!  We made it through the sheltered tree section then we were out in the open for the rest of the ascent.  From this vantage point we could see that Read's Ridge was a definite possibility on the way back.
We ascended between Read's Ridge on our left (above photo) and the beginnings of Red Ridge on our right (below photo).
 This cairn marked our way!
We layered up behind this boulder as the wind was picking up and it felt like the temperature was going down.  I looked behind and took a photo of Spray Lake thinking this could possibly be the only view I might get of it today.
We continued our determined ascent through swirling snow, paying close attention to foot placement through the gigantic boulder field.  At times we were able to walk on top of the snow, other times we sunk to our knees.  Our pace slowed.  Visibility was decreasing.  We would stop look at each other, no words being spoken,  then carry on.  
Thank you Smuts Fist for this photo!
When conditions deteriorated to this point where I could barely see my friends a short distance ahead,  we stopped then looked at each other, and this time words were spoken!  Smuts Fist made the call, to call it a day!  We couldn't see anything, it was getting worse, we couldn't tell what was a slope and what wasn't. We all quickly agreed with the call and hightailed it out of there.  
But of course, not before taking our non-summit shots!
We worked our way towards the trees finding a sheltered spot and stopped for lunch.  After eating and hiking back to the trail head, I checked my 60CSX to see we were going to be just short of 10km of hiking.  Now that's a short day!   Even though, it was still fun to be out adventuring with my friends!
If you check the google earth map below, you will see we almost made it to the Tarns.  Give or take another roughly .5 kms over approximately 50 meters up would have taken us to the beginning of our destination.  Today the smart decision was made though!  I know I will return one day in favourable summer or autumn conditions where including a close by Ridge won't be an option but a definite instead! 

1 comment:

  1. I applaud your initiative to tackle that kind of elevation in those particular weather conditions. I am familiar with Read's Ridge and it can be a push in good conditions. Thanks for sharing the photos. Glad you got in and out safely. More snow there than I would have expected.

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