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Red Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2646
Elevation Gain (m): 1000
Round Trip Time (hr): 5.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 9.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: Much more difficult when done in the winter, which introduces more route finding and some avalanche risk, else it’s mainly a hike.
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps


Kev Papke was getting close to his year-long, 50 peak fundraising effort and was in need of 4 peaks in 4 weekends in order to fill the 50 peak ‘order’. The weekend of February 23/24 wasn’t looking great for anything too aggressive and since Kev could only go on the 23rd our options became even more limited. I don’t do ski mountaineering if avalanche likelihood is either ‘considerable’ or ‘high’, so any ski trips were pretty much out of favor.

Red Ridge Route Map

I broke down and did a snowshoe trip… 🙂 I even have to admit that it was rather enjoyable! I still stand firmly by my motto of skiing anything that’s remotely skiable rather than ‘wasting’ it on snowshoes but for our objective I don’t think skis are ever appropriate. Red Ridge has been on my radar for a while and this was the perfect weekend to try it. A posting on Clubtread proved invaluable for finding an old track from the parking area and this made a potential SLOG into a very enjoyable winter hike / scramble.

Continuing up a snow ridge after breaking out of the lower forest.

As we drove by the parking area mentioned on ClubTread we could see a very faint snowshoe track going into the forest from the road. This proved very fortunate and we managed to follow a great track with firm base all the way to tree line. Instead of a 2+ hour thrash in knee-deep sugar we got a 1 hour uphill hike.

Topping out on the ‘crux’ rocky section of Red Ridge. Buller rising at center left.

Once we hit the ridge we lost the trail. We soon discovered why. WIND… Being a ridge in K Country means it catches a lot of wind and this particular day was no different than most. We stuck to the snow as much as possible until maybe half way up the ridge from tree line to summit where we finally dropped the ‘shoes. Make sure you don’t drop them too early or you’ll be wallowing in waist deep snow. Also make sure you’re prepared for the elevation roller coaster on Red Ridge! I wasn’t fully prepared for the ups and downs and it got old after the 3rd or 4th one. There’s at least 4 major elevation loss / gains on the way up to the summit. On hindsight they’re not THAT major, but with cold wind and snow they felt like it after a while.

Looking west and south. This view includes Mount Nestor and Old Goat. I hope to climb Old Goat soon and Nestor holds some sweet solo ascent memories for me.

Red Ridge is easy enough to do in winter and probably safe enough to do solo if you’re comfortable with solo outings in the winter. I would highly recommend AGAINST trying to ski this peak – you’ll spend way too much time wallowing in sugary, unsupportive snow and then you’ll be in ski boots on the ridge for over 2 hours of ascent. This is a prime example of why snowshoes were invented for winter scrambles.

Red Ridge
42 photos
The correct parking spot is a couple of hundred meters south of the Sparrowhawk day use area.
The correct parking spot is a couple of hundred meters south of the Sparrowhawk day use area.
Kev hikes up the ridge. Make sure you don't stray too far left or you'll end up in the creek or on Read's Tower!
Kev hikes up the ridge. Make sure you don't stray too far left or you'll end up in the creek or on Read's Tower!
We hit tree line. The wind and winter conditions really picked up once we broke through the trees.
We hit tree line. The wind and winter conditions really picked up once we broke through the trees.
Kev pops up on the ridge.
Kev pops up on the ridge.
The route is obvious now! Sparrowhawk is in the clouds to the left.
The route is obvious now! Sparrowhawk is in the clouds to the left.
It was tempting to drop the snow shoes early on the ridge, but we didn't and were glad for that decision!
It was tempting to drop the snow shoes early on the ridge, but we didn't and were glad for that decision!
Looking back at Spray Lakes and Nestor and Old Goat.
Looking back at Spray Lakes and Nestor and Old Goat.
Looking over Mount Fortune and the south end of Spray Lakes.
Looking over Mount Fortune and the south end of Spray Lakes.
Shortly after this section we dumped the 'shoes.
Shortly after this section we dumped the 'shoes.
Snowshoes are off on the rubble.
Snowshoes are off on the rubble.
Looking back at the first major down climb on the ridge.
Looking back at the first major down climb on the ridge.
Great views to the south - they were much better than the forecast said they'd be!
Great views to the south - they were much better than the forecast said they'd be!
Another panorama on ascent.
Another panorama on ascent.
We got a bit off route at one point and ended up on a pretty narrow and corniced ridge. It was fun though!
We got a bit off route at one point and ended up on a pretty narrow and corniced ridge. It was fun though!
We got a bit off route at one point and ended up on a pretty narrow and corniced ridge. It was fun though!
We got a bit off route at one point and ended up on a pretty narrow and corniced ridge. It was fun though!
The summit is just to Kev's right. I was worried that it was the peak on center-right but that's Red Peak.
The summit is just to Kev's right. I was worried that it was the peak on center-right but that's Red Peak.
A sheep is grazing.
A sheep is grazing.
Kev works his way up wind blasted slopes to the peak of Red Ridge.
Kev works his way up wind blasted slopes to the peak of Red Ridge.
Kev works his way up wind blasted slopes to the peak of Red Ridge.
Kev works his way up wind blasted slopes to the peak of Red Ridge.
Pano looking at Mount Bogart on the right.
Pano looking at Mount Bogart on the right.
This view includes Mount Nestor and Old Goat. I hope to climb Old Goat soon and Nestor holds some sweet solo-ascent memories for me.
This view includes Mount Nestor and Old Goat. I hope to climb Old Goat soon and Nestor holds some sweet solo-ascent memories for me.
Looking south at the west ridge of Bogart and towards Mount Buller.
Looking south at the west ridge of Bogart and towards Mount Buller.
One of my favorite shots from the summit of Red Ridge - this is Mount Bogart.
One of my favorite shots from the summit of Red Ridge - this is Mount Bogart.
Sparrowhawk on the far left.
Sparrowhawk on the far left.
Kev on the summit of Red Ridge - Bogart in the background.
Kev on the summit of Red Ridge - Bogart in the background.
Kev leaves the summit - as you can see, it wasn't exactly a warm, spring day... ;)
Kev leaves the summit - as you can see, it wasn't exactly a warm, spring day... 😉
This sheep is determined to find something to eat on this god-forsaken slope!
This sheep is determined to find something to eat on this god-forsaken slope!
The crux'ish section we had to climb on the way back.
The crux'ish section we had to climb on the way back.
Looking south towards Buller from the crux section.
Looking south towards Buller from the crux section.
Kev approaches the crux.
Kev approaches the crux.
Kev puts the 'shoes back on.
Kev puts the 'shoes back on.
Kev comes down the section where we dumped our 'shoes about half way up. This is the first significant up-climb on the ridge after tree line
Kev comes down the section where we dumped our 'shoes about half way up. This is the first significant up-climb on the ridge after tree line
A great descent.
A great descent.
Just before dropping back into the trees.
Just before dropping back into the trees.

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