After a long day with Phil Richards on a three peak traverse of Vimy Peak, Arras Peak (Vimy Ridge) and GR939323, I wanted an easy, short objective to wind down my two weeks off. Wietse was interested in joining me for the day and eventually we settled on Ruby Ridge. We figured it would take us around 6 hours, which gave us plenty of time to get back to Calgary on time.
[Our route on Ruby Ridge.]
Ruby Ridge is pretty darn straight forward as far as route finding goes. Simply hike up the Lineham Lakes trail until you spot open slopes on your right, then follow them to the summit on scree! Our views were good, but more cloudy than expected. This only emphasized for me how lucky Phil and I got the day before on our grand traverse above Crypt Lake. From the summit we could see all the way back over Cameron Lake towards Mount Custer. We also had great views of Mount Blakiston looming 400 meters above us to the northwest and the impressive traverse from Hawkins to Lineham above Lineham Lakes.
[Fall colors are in full swing as we march up the easy-to-follow Lineham Lakes trail. Mount Lineham looming above us.]
[Looking back along the highway trail]
[A nice morning]
[Great views of Mount Lineham off the trail]
[Starting our off-trail ascent]
[I love Waterton colors! Looking back at Lineham (R), Rowe, Custer, Alderson and Carthew.]
[A bit cloudy and cool, but lovely nonetheless.]
[Wietse with Lineham Lakes starting to show up.]
[I love this view - the traverse from Blakiston to Hawkins to Lineham goes over the ridge in the far distance.]
[Just before the west summit of Ruby Ridge. Blakiston and Ruby Lake on the left. Wietse on the right. ++]
[A summit pano looking west and over Cameron Lake in the far distance. ++]
[Cameron Lake with Mount Custer looming in the background and Forum Peak / Akamina Ridge on the right.]
[Great views over Ruby Lake and towards the ruby colored east ridge of Ruby. ++]
[Starting the traverse to the east peak of Ruby Ridge. ++]
The traverse from the west to the east peak of Ruby Ridge was a bit more interesting than I was expecting based on Bob's rather droll description of "easy" scrambling. Maybe we were too lazy, but we found some moderate and even low-difficult sections when descending the nose of the ridge. Great views of Ruby Lake / Stream and Waterton's highest peak (Blakiston) kept us entertained too. The brilliant rose colored rock of the east peak of Ruby, combined with the yellow larches, green trees and aqua lake was pretty cool. The east peak was simply a short walk-up and soon we were on top. We only stayed shortly, since snow squalls were now moving in from the west. So much for a "mix of sun and cloud"! I found The Weather Network to be VERY misleading in its weather forecasts for Waterton over the two weeks I spent climbing a bunch of peaks in the area. "Sun and cloud" generally meant "98% cloud" with some rain, snow and lots of wind. Using SpotWX seemed to be more accurate.
[Looking up at one of the moderate descent sections.]
[Pretty obvious why it's called "Ruby Ridge"!]
[Great views looking back at the higher west summit of Ruby Ridge. ++]
[Great views of Blakiston looming over Ruby Lake.]
[Vimy Peak and Upper Waterton Lake sneak into view. Buchanan on the right.]
[More Ruby goodness... ++]
[Looking north and east at Galwey, Dungarvon, Bellevue Hill and Lakeview Ridge. ++]
[Galwey (R) and Dungarvon (L)]
[Tiny Lakeview Ridge]
For descent there are many options on Ruby Ridge. We choose the easiest, which is to descend the drainage between the east and west peaks before cutting skier's right across the nose of the ridge coming down from the west ridge and bushwhacking back to the trail head for Lineham Lakes. This worked pretty good. We were pretty surprised with our round trip time of 4 hours as it didn't feel like we were rushing that much! It was good to get out with Wietse again, and Ruby Ridge was perfect for the conditions we had. Highly recommended for those times when you don't have a ton of time or the weather surprises you with less ideal conditions for longer objectives in the area.
[Looking back up our descent drainage]
[Looking across at the Alderson / Buchanan / Carthew traverse and down our drainage.]
[Another look back up the drainage.]
[Cutting back to the trailhead, we'll keep traversing to the right while we descend. Bob went down on the left and had to walk 1.2km back to his car.]