Summit Elevation (m): 2164
Trip Date: Saturday, September 19 2020
Elevation Gain (m): 825
Round Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 12
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: A pretty easy scramble with some very light bushwhacking, steep slopes and route finding.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
I spent a warm night in my favorite gravel pit random camping spot along hwy 11 after a pretty hot, tiring day on Allstones Ridge and Windy Point Ridge. Despite both of those being half-day hikes they still added up to almost 2k vertical and gave my some pause on my planned objectives for Saturday, September 19 2020. Originally I was planning some of the Ex Coelis peaks which have been tempting me for many years, but in the end the forecast was calling for some rain showers and I figured I’d be better off knocking a few more easy scrambles instead of tempting difficult scrambling in the rain. Since it was closest to me, I decided to start with Coral Ridge.
Coral Ridge is an outlier located on the south end of Mount Stelfox, a peak I scrambled in 2017 with Mike Mitchell. As with all the other scrambles and hikes I did on this short trip, please reference Matt Clay’s trip report for an idea of the excellent views of Abraham Lake that I missed out on thanks to wildfire smoke. I enjoyed the early morning solitude as I hiked along the wide path leading up the Cline River from the staging / parking area along hwy 11. I briefly considering taking the “forest trail” on ascent but decided to take the main trail up and see if I felt like the forest trail on return. Fall colors were out on the aspens lining the trail and once again the lack of any wind in DTC was almost unnerving compared to the usual hurricanes that howl through here!
After hiking just over 3km I came to the junction with the forest trail and the start of the light bushwhack around the south end of Coral Ridge. Coral forms a reverse “L” with the south face of the “L” being steep and cliffy. There’s even a via ferrata located along these cliffs. The scrambling route stays west of the reverse “L” before going steeply up the end of it and curving around to the summit ridge. What makes Coral interesting is that despite faint trail(s), ribbons and blazes, I still found myself constantly searching for the proper route. The forest is very open here which makes bushwhacking essentially nonexistent but also makes trail forming difficult.
Once the trail turned east it ascended very steeply to the upper ridge on a mixture of grasses and hard-pack dirt. I wasn’t looking forward to slipping and sliding down this part in my light approach shoes on return. The upper part of the route was much more scenic and enjoyable than I was expecting. I really wished for better views of the lake here. The summit cairn had a familiar pink ammo box for a register that Ephraim Roberts is busy placing all over the Rockies. There were quite a few entries already for 2020 – this is becoming a pretty popular scramble as it should be.
The trip down was quick and easier than expected. The “Forest Trail” was also pretty decent, apparently guided horse tours use it. I chatted briefly with the leader of such a group and she wondered if I’d been all the way to the lookout along Coral Creek or not. I guess I’ll have to hike back up there some day to check it out.
I enjoyed this relatively short and easy scramble.