After a hiatus from the mountains due to motivation issues and cold weather, I decided to return for an easy outing up Wolverine Ridge with a group of friends on Saturday, January 14th. I first got the idea for Wolverine while ascending Lipalian Mountain and the Purple Mound with the same group back in April of 2014. I knew it would be a ridiculously short day, but what the heck! Sometimes all you need is a short break to get the mojo back.
We left a pretty busy Fish Creek parking lot at the early hour of 09:00 and chatted our way up the dull ski-out road along Corral Creek to the Temple Lodge. From just above the Temple lodge we followed the route leading into the lower Wolverine Valley.
[A much colder day than Calgary was experiencing - felt like -26 in the parking lot while it was 4 degrees at my house.]
[Warming up on the wide ski-out.]
[This view back down the ski-out is always nice - Temple at left.]
[Following ski tracks into lower Wolverine Valley.]
[We start to warm up as the sun hits the Wolverine Valley - Unity Peak ahead.]
[Some tighter tree skiing on the way down when you exit this valley.]
The only real route decision of the day was whether to tackle the ridge directly or take a longer circuitous route up against Unity Peak before contouring back to the ridge. We chose the latter option for more exercise as there was no track going that way. The snow pack was pretty crappy but we made it slightly higher than Wolverine Ridge on a shoulder coming off Lipalian before losing a few meters to the ridge. We had a delightful lunch in the warm sunshine at a shallow col before tagging the summit of Wolverine Ridge.
[Looking ahead at our ascent options. We can go left around tree line under Unity Peak or right - straight up Wolverine Ridge. We chose left to get some more exercise. ++]
[Dave follows the group in this glance back along Wolverine Ridge (L).]
[Looking back down Wolverine Valley with the ridge at left. Lipalian at far left and Redoubt at right. ++]
[A gorgeous day to be back here - looking back at Redoubt Mountain and our ascent tracks.]
[The bump ahead is actually a shoulder of Lipalian and not really part of what I would call "Wolverine Ridge". Ironically it is a bit higher than the ridge which is out of sight to the right here. ++]
[Dave is hard to spot in his cool "camo pants". You'll have to ask him sometime. :)]
[Looking down Wolverine Valley.]
[It was a perfect ski day.]
[Bill's new ski setup was the envy of the group - he always gets the cool stuff. Unity Peak above him here.]
[Looking over Wolverine Ridge (C) with Lipalian, Lake Louise, Richardson and Redoubt (L to R). ++]
[A slight descent towards Wolverine Ridge.]
[Raf skins up Wolverine Ridge with Unity Peak in the bg.]
[Wietse skis to the summit of Wolverine Ridge - some great skiing on the NE aspect to the right.]
[Summit views include Temple, Victoria, Richardson and Redoubt (L to R). ++]
[Looking back towards Unity, Purple Mound and Lipalian - there were at least a dozen skiers grinding their way up Purple Mound here. ++]
We weren't sure if we trusted the wind loaded NE aspect of the ridge, so we enjoyed a rather tame run back down before making our way back to Temple Lodge where we enjoyed a bevy. The 6.5 minute run back down the ski-out was enjoyable. I would recommend combining Wolverine Ridge with Lipalian and Purple Mound, or ski some laps off the NE aspect in stable avalanche conditions to make a longer day. People have died on these slopes so use caution and ALPTRUTH.
[Enjoying the great views from the summit.]
[Dropping back down the ridge.]
[Rewarding ourselves after a very short day out!]