Summit Elevation (m): 2750
Trip Date: June 03 2017
Elevation Gain (m): 2000
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: Easy to moderate terrain above Landslide Lake. NOTE: This was done as part of a long traverse to Two O’Clock Ridge via Landslide Peak.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Download
We had two choices from the summit of Bridge Peak. Turn back and descend via Ernest Ross or fully commit to our traverse and head southwest towards Landslide Peak. Guess which one we chose? Darn peakbaggers. 😉 Mike Mitchell and I figured beforehand already that the most complicated stretch of our planned traverse from Mount Ernest Ross to Two O’Clock Ridge was going to be the descent of the west face of Bridge Peak. We were correct on hindsight.
Thanks to some hard snow and the fact that we were wearing light approach shoes, we had to be careful with our routes this particular spring day. We wondered later if there might be a more direct route possible down from Bridge Peak’s south summit and then down to the ridge but based on my cursory Google Satellite view while planning the route, I figured the gentlest terrain was under the north summit rather than the south. We descended from the col between the two summits, slowly trending to the north (right) until it made sense to pick our way back south (left) to the ridge leading off towards Landslide Peak. There was some tricky and extremely loose downclimbing involved with this route – not to be underestimated, especially if you’re with a group. I found the down sloping slabs with pebbles and large, very loose boulders a bit ominous and was extremely careful not to knock anything down on Mike.
Eventually we managed to downclimb and work our way left (south) to get back onto the ridge crest again. Surprisingly it took us almost an hour to pick our way to the ridge from the summit of Bridge. Looking back at the peak, Mike was pretty convinced that going south off the south summit and then trending down the west face would be easier, safer and shorter. I wasn’t as convinced. This terrain always looks easy from a distance but is a bit nasty when you’re in it. We won’t ever be going back, so let me know if you try it. 🙂
From below the west face of Bridge we found ourselves looking far ahead to Landslide Peak. We were getting used to everything taking longer than it appeared from a distance and the next few hours would be no different. I was starting to wonder how quickly Eric was traveling to complete the loop in less than 12 hours! The ridge undulated a lot and we were gaining and losing a lot of height between high points. Most of this height gain and loss was unavoidable due to cliff bands and horrible scree on any bypass routes. We followed sheep trails where possible. At least our weather was excellent (not too hot or windy) and the views were stunning in every direction. We commented more than once that the area reminded us more of Jasper due to colorful rocks and the nature of the rock.
As we approached the northeast ridge / face of Landslide Peak, we were a bit apprehensive. There was an easy, but large snow slope leading up to the ridge and once again we wondered about our choice of footwear. We also noted that Eric had traversed under Two O’Clock Peak’s north face before turning up an easier ridge, and this was not going to be a safe option for us, thanks to a loaded snow slope. We were really hoping for a route up the NW ridge of Two O’Clock from the Landslide col – but even this wasn’t looking easy as we got closer and closer.
For some reason I was feeling pretty good as we hit the large snow patch and started kicking steps up to the summit ridge on Landslide. I kept the ax on the pack and managed to use hiking poles alone, thanks to supportive snow but soft enough to kick small steps and feel secure. Mike was falling behind a wee bit at this point but it wasn’t a huge issue considering the route was very obvious from the ridge top. Naturally, the summit of Landslide was a long traverse from our access point on the ridge. Also adding to the theme of the day, it wasn’t fast traveling thanks to snow and an expanse of loose (VERY loose), large boulders. Boulders are always fun for about 5 minutes. Then they’re a PITA for the next 5 hours. The Landslide Traverse has a fair share of very loose, very large boulders on it. You’ve been warned.
Just when I thought for sure I was done traversing to the summit I noticed I wasn’t. I stumbled along the ridge and finally reached the apex in slowly worsening weather. It took just over 8 hours from the car to the summit of Landslide and over 3.5 hours from Bridge Peak. Landslide Lake was barely visible to the west, thanks to the coverage of snow, but the peaks were impressive with clouds and snow now swirling over them a bit. I hoped the weather wasn’t getting nasty, but a few very strong gusts of wind, including a strange twister that almost blew me off the ridge, were starting to become worrisome as I finally gained the summit of Landslide Peak. I snapped the requisite summit photos before tackling the endless boulders that I’d just crossed. As I passed Mike we agreed to stop for a bite to eat and a break at the Two O’Clock Peak col.