Foran Grade & Windy Point Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 1762
Elevation Gain (m): 500
Trip Date: Feb 23 2014
Round Trip Time (hr): 3.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 11
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your ego
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties – this one is a hike.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia
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After getting up at 05:00 to watch the men’s gold medal victory in Olympic Hockey I was contemplating what to do for the rest of the day. Hanneke was in Europe, the kids were engaged in activities ranging from sleeping in to animating computer games and I was itching to get outside for a bit. The sun was starting to come out when I settled on an easy snowshoe trip from Bob’s Spirko’s site – Foran Grade and Windy Point Ridge in Sheep River Provincial Park. The drive went better than expected and although it was -20 at the winter gate parking area, the sun was actually shining! I layered up and set off down the highway for a couple of kilometers – it was a glorious (but frigid) winter day and I was the only one enjoying it in this part of the world.

Foran Grade Windy Point Ridge

Foran Grade is an escarpment rising from the highway and paralleling Windy Point Ridge. There’s a good hiking trail to the summit and I followed some old snowshoe tracks up. Within about 1.5-2 hours of leaving the car I was on the summit enjoying the limited views. The hike was perfect for a bitterly cold day like I had but it’s more of an exercise objective than anything else. From the summit of Foran Grade there is an obvious trail to the pass between it and Windy Point Ridge, which I followed.

There’s even a signed trail – not my usual start to a peak.
Pano of Foran Grade.
Much better views than expected! Looking west – Windy Point Ridge on the right.

After snowshoeing Foran Grade, I set my sights on the slightly higher Windy Point Ridge. I followed a good trail down from the summit of Foran Grade but near the pass I had to forge my own path straight up to the summit ridge of Windy Point – and it was bloody steep. The bitter cold actually helped me at this point – the slabby snow held my weight about 60% of the time. The other 40% was spent cursing the sugary stuff underneath the slab…

Nearing the pass – Windy Point Ridge rising above.
Foran Grade and the highway from Windy Point Ridge.
An nice descent to the highway.

The summit views were quite limited, but just back from the summit the views were pretty good – much better than I was expecting given the weather forecast. I decided to take the shortest path to the highway and trudge back to my truck along it. This worked well and within 3.5 hours of leaving the truck I was back. Probably among the easiest two summits I’ve ever done – but the solitude and views were just what I needed on this bitterly cold February day.

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