Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

Home > Elbow / Kananaskis > Opal Ridge

Opal Ridge

Ben and I missed the good weather day (Saturday) on the weekend of February 2-3. The forecast was pretty similar for both days but it turned out that Sunday was way worse. So this weekend (Feb 9-10), I asked him to have both days free. We would be joined by Mike from Edmonton and Andrea from Calgary. However, the forecast was getting worse and worse, and we would take what was given there. Flurries on Saturday indicated we should do something less ambitious, and after throwing back and forth objectives, we decided to do Opal Ridge. Obviously there were some confusions regarding this peak. I was mentioning the true summit of Opal on Facebook messages. Andrea has done Opal South twice, and obviously she thought I was planning on the Kane scramble - Opal North...

To give us more flexibility, I said we should start our day by 8am... This was very unnecessary for a summit as small as Opal, but it turned out we made a GOOD call. Andrea was surprised that we drove to Fortress ski hill turn-off... This is the start of direct route up Opal True Summit, aka, Opal Ridge South. I pointed out an alternative objective just on the opposite side of the Highway, namely The Spoon Needle. But we decided to stick to our original plan, and we quickly got ready and started. The route was very dry and we didn't bring snowshoes up.

The route follows the cut-line until crossing an obvious creek. We went up too soon and ended up post-holing and bushwhacking. We did correct ourselves not far up, by crossing the stream to its other side. From there on, we were treated with summer condition.. Weather was also much better than expected. The flurries ended and more and more blue colours started to show up. There were some optional moderate scramble sections up some rock bands, but I believe you can bypass all of them if you do look for the easiest line.

Some cool rock formations started to show up higher up. We were aiming at an obvious break between some walls. The travelling was easy going, and soon we made to the ridge crest. The view was so nice and we decided to play with a cool looking boulder. We all climbed up it and enjoyed some hands-on scrambling. I highly recommend this variation. It only adds maybe 10 minutes. The summit was not far up, and it was mostly just a hike. Some snow offered good step-kicking. The view to the other side fully opened up. We could see the impressive Mt. Denny and Potts. They both are scrambles and I'd like to tick them off in the following summer. Some snow just made them even more attractive. Looking back, the entire Opal Ridge traverse looked to be very inviting. There would be some difficult sections so you might want to attempt the traverse in summer.

While being amazed by the views, we could see the nasty weather moving in fast, from north side. We figured that we would have another 30min before being soaked in... Oh well, we soon started the way down. Indeed, the clouds rolled in and we got snowed. The descent went by very quick. It was such a pleasure to get rid of the heavy stuffs after more than 2 months of snowshoeing and skiing, and to realize how fast I can travel without these extra pounds on my feet. Round Trip Time: 4 hours.

It was only 12:30 at noon, and despite the weather, we decided to do something else. And yep...

This album is empty

Photos taken by Steven