Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ending Summer on a High Note

It's been quite the fabulous summer and I wanted to end it on a high note and the exact place to make that happen was along the Highwood Pass where you are high before you even put one foot on the trail towards gaining any elevation.  I was happy to have so many friends on board to join me today to conquer the Highwood Ridge + Grizzly Ridge Loop.  After a short stint in the trees, some easy scrambling and only 90 minutes later we are already at the highest point of the day.  Unusual for today, I start of my photo montage with my summit shot at 2700 meters at the north summit of Highwood Ridge.
This Ridge is a wonderful place to cruise or sail, what ever your choice may be.  Even though it is still technically summer, the autumn shades were abound.  My summit shot was taken at the high point of that ridge center left.  It was incredibly windy here and that stuck with us the entire day.
Along the Highwood Ridge we could see down to the parking lot where we began our day.
We stopped for a fuel break below the south summit before heading up.  The wild wind was not favourable for sticking around for many photo opportunities but I did capture the summit's Inukshuk with Highway 40 far below.  
We then carried on along the col and began our steep descent off Highwood Ridge to the valley below.  This included some route finding, a little bushwhacking, a creek crossing, another fuel break and then the steep ascent up the slope to Grizzly Ridge.  Once on this Ridge, we found a lovely spot for a little bit of a longer break for our lunch. Yes, refueling again!

The wind was still wicked, the clouds came and went, the sun sporadically appeared and the scenes were gorgeous.  This is along Grizzly Ridge with Paradise Valley down below in the middle and Highwood Ridge, where we just were, to the right.
Looking south, behind us, as we worked our way along Grizzly Ridge.
We missed the cairn along the way so stopped here for my summit shot on Grizzly Ridge.
We descended steeply off Grizzly Ridge to Grizzly Col.  
We stood on the Col eyeing Pocaterra Cirque.
Down we go again!
At Pocaterra Cirque looking back up at Grizzly Col and the trail we descended through snow.
view of Pocaterra Ridge
The blue sky reappeared for our stroll through the Cirque.  The larch trees have begun to transform but the best is yet to come over the next few days.  They seem to be a little later showing off their golden glow this year.  No matter what, this was such a pretty area to pass through. 
Pocaterra Tarn
The winds died down here long enough to get some gorgeous reflection shots in the Tarn.  We took another break here.  Even though at this point, we wanted to get this hike/scramble over with, we were reluctant and slow to leave this spot.  Even though we were low now, technically we were still high elevation-wise and mentally-wise I was so high I felt like I was "on top of the world"!  
I ended summer on a high note, at a high place, in a high frame of mind!
Mission accomplished!


  1. Good for you! There was more snow on the north side of Grizzly Col in the morning, and I was being blown off my feet on the ascent....didn't make it - too slippery. But lovely in the valley.

    1. MJT, the valley sure was lovely. It was sketchy coming down off the Col later in the day. I was nervous as some sections seemed icy and other sections were very soft and giving way. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment.

  2. Have just spent a wonderful evening catching up on your amazing adventures 'on top of the world'!
    'Down under' has its own special beauty, but it cannot match your soaring, majestic Rockies with their ever changing views to match the changing seasons.
    Summer is over, but I patiently wait for your autumn escapades.

    1. Helen, Thank you for your comment. With the feel in the air these days, there will probably only be another few Saturday's to be out and about before we begin to contend with snow fall. You are now on the cusp of your hotter days I believe and I wonder will you still be out and about then!


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