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Highwood Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2724
Elevation Gain (m): 450
Round Trip Time (hr): 2.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 4
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Steep hiking with some bushwhacking and route finding.
GPS Track DownloadDownload GPX File
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps


A day after scrambling up Little Arethusa at the Highwood Pass, I was back for more – this time as a solo scramble. I really wanted to take advantage of the warm weather before winter really hit and I found myself with another free day so I ‘forced’ myself out of bed and into the car for the long drive back to the Rockies and Highwood Pass.

Highwood Ridge Route Map

Due to a lingering cold / flu I didn’t want to do any big objective so I settled on Highwood Ridge across from Little Arethusa and directly above the Highwood Pass parking lot. What I didn’t count on was copious amounts of fresh snow compared to the day previous! There must have been almost 6 inches of fresh powder – enough that I almost didn’t dare drive into the parking lot with my car.

Looking back from the ascent. Mount Rae prominent right of center.
Storm, Mist and Lipsett (l to r) from the ridge.

I knew from the day before that the east aspect of Highwood Ridge was sliding so I chose to follow the Highwood Cirque trail for a ways before cutting up a steep gully just east of the north ridge. I was in loose snow up to my crotch all the way up the gully and across some steepish slopes before gaining the north ridge just above tree line. The wind was howling on the ridge but the route looked easy and pretty much wind blown so I continued up.

Looking down Highwood Ridge (left) and Grizzly Ridge (right).
Looking straight down Highwood Ridge to the south.
Looking north at Rae and Gap.

The views from the summit were phenomenal and I enjoyed them in a stiff wind before heading back down. The trip down was extremely quick in the snow. My round trip time was under 2.5 hours. A great, short outing with awesome views.

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