Gypsum Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2115
Elevation Gain (m): 600
Round Trip Time (hr): 3.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 6.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you sprain your ego
Difficulty Notes: Some bushwhacking and route finding especially if there’s no broken trail.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
MapGoogle Maps

After skiing up Healy Pass Peak the day before, I decided to take the family on a snowshoeing trip on Sunday, December 15 in preparation for our trek to the Elk Lakes ACC hut in one week. Bob Spirko indicates that the elevation gain is only around 300 meters on Gypsum Ridge so I figured this was a good candidate to bag a peak and get the family out. I also liked the fact that we’d be in the trees because the day was shaping up to be fairly cloudy and windy – but warm. On the drive out to k-country the wind was absolutely howling! I was kind of grumpy about it – worrying that it may just ruin our day. I was also wondering if the creek would be frozen over, because I knew that if it wasn’t we’d be stuck ‘shoeing around the Kent Ridge logging roads.

Gypsum Ridge Route Map

After parking just past the bridge along the Spray Lakes road, where Marko’s GPS track indicated, we put on the ‘shoes and immediately found an old ‘shoe track going down the ditch towards the creek! This was fantastic news – we followed these tracks right to the summit and it certainly made our day a lot easier and shorter. The creek was completely frozen over, which was nice. The elevation gain was substantially more than Bob indicated. My fairly accurate Suunto altimeter watch put the total elevation gain at over 600 meters for the day – so we certainly got more of a workout than I originally bargained for. The bushwhacking was nowhere near as bad as Mount Kidd Junior – thank goodness.

Hanneke on the Gypsum Ridge view point with views over the Lower Kananaskis Lake.

The trail was bushier than expected on the upper ridge but the views were actually quite good from just past the summit bump. The kids almost blew off the ridge in a furious gust of wind so we didn’t linger long. The ‘shoe back down was very quick in unconsolidated sugary snow.

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