Ruby Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2430
Trip Date: September 18 2015
Elevation Gain (m): 950
Round Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 14
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something 
Difficulty Notes: There is some moderate, or even difficult down climbing between the west and east summits unless you look for easier terrain.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Gaia
MapGoogle Maps

After a long day with Phil Richards on a three peak traverse of Vimy PeakArras Peak (Vimy Ridge) and GR939323, I wanted an easy, short objective to wind down my two weeks off. Wietse was interested in joining me for the day and eventually we settled on Ruby Ridge. We figured it would take us around 6 hours, which gave us plenty of time to get back to Calgary on time.

Ruby Ridge Route Map

Ruby Ridge is pretty darn straight forward as far as route finding goes. Simply hike up the Lineham Lakes trail until you spot open slopes on your right, then follow them to the summit on scree! Our views were good, but more cloudy than expected. This only emphasized for me how lucky Phil and I got the day before on our grand traverse above Crypt Lake. From the summit we could see all the way back over Cameron Lake towards Mount Custer. We also had great views of Mount Blakiston looming 400 meters above us to the northwest and the impressive traverse from Hawkins to Lineham above Lineham Lakes.

The traverse from the west to the east peak of Ruby Ridge was a bit more interesting than I was expecting based on Bob’s rather droll description of “easy” scrambling. Maybe we were too lazy, but we found some moderate and even low-difficult sections when descending the nose of the ridge. Great views of Ruby Lake / Stream and Waterton’s highest peak (Blakiston) kept us entertained too. The brilliant rose colored rock of the east peak of Ruby, combined with the yellow larches, green trees and aqua lake was pretty cool. The east peak was simply a short walk-up and soon we were on top. We only stayed shortly, since snow squalls were now moving in from the west. So much for a “mix of sun and cloud”! I found The Weather Network to be VERY misleading in its weather forecasts for Waterton over the two weeks I spent climbing a bunch of peaks in the area. “Sun and cloud” generally meant “98% cloud” with some rain, snow and lots of wind. Using SpotWX seemed to be more accurate.

Great views over Ruby Lake and towards the ruby colored east ridge of Ruby.
Great views of Blakiston looming over Ruby Lake.

For descent there are many options on Ruby Ridge. We choose the easiest, which is to descend the drainage between the east and west peaks before cutting skier’s right across the nose of the ridge coming down from the west ridge and bushwhacking back to the trailhead for Lineham Lakes. This worked pretty good. We were pretty surprised with our round trip time of 4 hours as it didn’t feel like we were rushing that much! It was good to get out with Wietse again, and Ruby Ridge was perfect for the conditions we had. Highly recommended for those times when you don’t have a ton of time or the weather surprises you with less ideal conditions for longer objectives in the area.


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