Friday, August 5, 2016

Run BC Project 2016 Day 4: Abbott Ridge

Day 1: Keystone Standard Basin Trail: Revelstoke
Yup.  Money.

Run BC Project Day 4: Abbott Ridge Trail, Glacier National Park

The best day of all?  Oooooooh it is so hard to pick a favourite!  But Abbott Ridge really did knock my socks was spec-freakin-tacular!

Distance: 13.6kms round trip
Elevation: 820m gain (it's a good steady up)
Terrain: Moderately steep dirt switchbacks to start with a good solid climb to the subalpine, then a rocky, uneven path up top. 
Map: Parks Canada
Trailhead: Illecillewaet Campground
Bring: Sunscreen, bear spray (grizzly country!), camera (and spare cards!) and emergency communication device such as the Delorme inReach (no cell service).


Our planned route up Frisby Ridge in Revi was postponed due to a recent trail closure for maintenance and so we made the easy decision to return to Glacier Park for another fantastic route.  There are many awesome day trips to choose from and it was hard to choose just one!  In the end we opted for the golden child of Glacier and the main destination for most people who visit this area of the park, Abbott Ridge.  The reason that so many visitors slog their way up the endless switchbacks?  Check out the images below for the answer to that one...

Marion Lake
Following the same trail as the Asulkan Ridge, from the campground, the Abbott Ridge forks off to the right side just after you pass the Glacier House historical site (ruins).  Then the sweet and steady switchbacks begin...and go on...and on...and on.  Just like the approach to every single peak on Van Isle, the switchbacks warm up your glutes, increase your temperature and provide beautiful forest scenery for the better part of the elevation gain.  Along the way, at about 3kms, the trail passes Marion Lake which makes for a nice rest spot before gaining the ridge.

Looking back towards the Asulkan Ridge, where we had explored two days before.

Sunbeams and pink high socks, what more does a girl need?

Trail running dreams...

Soon the trail reaches the alpine and the terrain changes to true, striking tundra and a basin full of grey slabs of rockfall.  The route winds around the basin, climbs up the next ridge and then begins to  reveal fantastic mountain views.  One final climb up the ridge and the trail enters a large field of white heather and grey boulders, revealing the cabin above.  Look to the right and you will be face to face with a row of massive snow capped peaks including Sir Donald at 3247m.  In the distance, you can spot the knife edged ridge spine of the Asulkan Ridge trail as it leads up to the Illecillewaet glacier above.

Blown away yet again!

Not a bad spot for a snack;)
 A mirror in the mountains...

Back the way we came- double the beauty;)

The trails continues onward, up through the heather, past the marmots, alongside the mirror like tarns and up to a spectacular view point just above the cabin.  The view from the ridge is nearly 360 degrees and encircles you with a ring of magestic snow capped peaks and massive glaciers.  This view is most definitely worth the climb and one you will never regret tackling!

Headed home, jumping off the ridge!

Happy Trails,

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