Victoria Peak to Victoria Ridge | 2010-06-05
Above stats is an estimate of doing Victoria Peak only, for full stats please see page 9.
As much as I want to explore The Castle area, I haven't been here for a long time. Finally I went back to there to spend a long day. My route is little different from Nugara's book or Bobspirko.ca's Victoria Peak and Victoria Ridge.
First of all, there is a little update from Nugara's book about road access. I think they have changed the road sign. From Highway 6 going south, Highway 505 east turn off comes up first and immediately after you will see a sign "Shell Waterton Complex" instead of "Forest Reserve" as the book describes. You take that road. I parked at the locked gate. My car, Kitt, could have jumped over the gate easily but without any spectators, there was no point showing off my car's ability.
My route to Victoria Peak was almost the same as the book. From road, I could clearly see a deep drainage which divides the mountain in the middle (page 2). The ascend starts almost the end of the road near gas company's the last building. For a quite a while I hiked grassy sidehill (page 3) until I got on the SE ridge (page 5). As I went higher, slope became steeper. The SE ridge eventually hits rock bands near the summit (page 7). From here I went to north to scramble up the weakness of the band. Soon after I came across a window. Bob Spirko went left to avoid the cliffs, but I went straight up scrambling over the window (page 8). This was the crux and was more than moderate scramble. This is the reason why I rated my route expert, difficult in scramble book's rating.
From Victoria Peak, I stayed entire way to Victoria Ridge. As intimidating the ridge looks from east, west side is quite gentle (page 9). About the halfway to Victoria Ridge, this ridge became very mild and wide pretty much all the way to the highest point. Note, for a long time, you will see sub peak of Victoria Ridge, so don't get your hopes so high. After ridge top, I took south part of Pincher Ridge for descent. This route was nice until the end where the ridge suddenly became a cliff. I knew that from seeing from Victoria Peak, so I was careful not to go too far, but didn't help. What I found out was the creek just east side of my descending ridge was little too rapid, too deep and also cliffy. I was hoping I could walk along peaceful creek, but I was force to take very steep and also cliffy terrain. Good or bad trees there was so dense that it was hard to go forward, I couldn't see where I was stepping. I had to very careful not to fall from cliff. This is why I put waypoint "Not Recommended" on the map. It's not recommended. Once I came down from the terrible terrain, I still had to across two creeks. If you go too far north, the two creeks merge and becomes harder to cross over (page 18). After the creeks, I still had to face with insanely dense bush (page 19). However the bush didn't last too long, soon I found a trail which leads to the road.
I rated Victoria Ridge difficult (moderate in scramble book) just for the "Not Recommended" part. Otherwise, most of the way is easy hiking.