Victoria Peak & Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2569
Elevation Gain (m): 1600
Trip Date: September 25 2012
Round Trip Time (hr): 7.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 3 – You fall you break something
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling with some route finding to keep it moderate on the peak, mostly hiking and easy scrambling with some very loose terrain and minor exposure along the traverse to Victoria Ridge.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Gaia
MapGoogle Maps

I camped in my truck near the Pincher Ridge parking spot so that I could take advantage of the nice weather and a week off with some Nugara scrambles. The day after scrambling Pincher Ridge I decided to give Victoria Peak and Ridge a shot.I brought my bike to help make the potentially long day a bit shorter because for the first time in a very long time, rain and even t-storms were in the forecast for the afternoon and evening.

Victoria Peak & Ridge Route Map.

Victoria Peak

I got to the parking area around 07:30 and by 07:40 I was huffing and puffing my bike up the approach road. Eventually I came to the top of a pretty long hill and decided it was worth leaving the road at this point and heading on foot for the obvious gully.

Looking off the ridge near where I had to traverse climber’s left – obviously the terrain at left here isn’t scrambling anymore! Mount Gladstone (L) is visible.
Beautiful views over the traverse towards Windsor and Castle Peak with Gladstone on the right.

It took me less than 2.5 hours to the summit of Victoria Peak and the rest of the route to the summit of Victoria Ridge looked very LONG from my vantage at the summit. It was colder and windier than the day before on Pincher Ridge, so I don’t linger but started the trek to Victoria Ridge.

Victoria Ridge

Ridge traverses are usually awesome and Victoria Ridge is no exception to this rule. With light winds and cool temperatures I moved pretty quickly, south from the summit of Victoria Peak, really enjoying the views west towards Castle Mountain – although smoky haze did ruin them a bit.

As I work my way above the cliff bands, this is looking west over Mill Creek over the brilliant colors of the Castle Wilderness towards Windsor and Castle Peaks at left.
Look at all that PINK! This is looking back at Victoria Peak from about half way along the traverse. It’s a long way.

The one bad surprise came when I finally topped what I thought was the summit of the ridge and realized that I still had to drop a bit before going up even more! Oh well. The wind was picking up and I wanted to avoid any bad weather so I snapped some quick photos from the true summit and headed down. The traverse from Victoria Peak to Ridge took me 2.5 hours – but I was motoring along pretty quickly.

Panorama of the entire traverse from Victoria Peak, just right of center.

The trail for Victoria Ridge is one of the nicest exits I’ve ever done from a peak! It’s all either soft sand or gravel / dirt and it’s design is fantastic! First it traverses high above Pincher Creek before contouring around a massive drainage and plummeting into the valley below. With the fall colors this trail is breathtaking and beautiful. It was my favorite part of the day actually.

The trail continues to snake along on the east side of the ridge above Pincher Creek – staying above tree line as long as possible.

My second favorite part of the day was the 4 minute bike ride back to the truck. No wonder I was tired on my ride up – it’s all downhill. My total trip time was just under 7.5 hours, but I was going pretty quick all day. I highly recommend this scramble / hike for a nice calm fall day. And make sure you take the excellent ridge trail on the way out – you may find that the best part of your day.

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