Summit Elevation (m): 2475
Elevation Gain (m): 2500
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you might sprain your thumb
Difficulty Notes: East scrambling and hiking. NOTE: This was done as part of a 15 hour traverse to Two O’Clock Ridge via Landslide Peak.
GPS Track Download: Download GPX File
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
There was nothing to do after finally standing on top of Two O’Clock Peak but start our long descent towards Two O’Clock Ridge and the highway, far below and far in the distance still at this point. We were feeling pretty positive as we started down the summit ridge towards the obvious east descent ridge. It looked pretty darn easy and not too far. We should have known better!
As soon as we ducked under the summit ridge it became obvious that we weren’t done with large boulders and rocky terrain just yet! My left knee wasn’t too happy as we slowly stumbled and picked our way down to a smoother ridge crest off in the distance. Eventually we found another sheltered spot and I made my second cup of coffee for the day – something to give me enough kick to finish this thing! It was almost 19:00 by the time we stopped – almost 12 hours had gone by already and we had a long way to go yet. There was at least 4 large elevation gains and losses by the time we made our final grunt to the summit of Two O’Clock Ridge at around 20:00.
We didn’t linger long at the last summit of the day, despite some great evening lighting towards Siffleur and Loudon. I popped an Advil and Mike popped his fourth vitamin I as we continued the long descent to the Two O’Clock Campground along highway 11, far below us. We kept sneaking glanced at Whirlpool Peak to the south of us – there seemed to be some routes that would go to the summit from around Tuff Puff. (Anyone who thinks that Two O’Clock Ridge shouldn’t be a distinct summit should see Tuff Puff… 😉)
From the summit of Two O’Clock Ridge, we followed a distinct trail down to treeline where the temperature finally got really warm for the first time since early that morning. Jackets came off and our pace quickened as the Advil kicked in and did it’s job. I have to admit that the trail for Two O’Clock Ridge is further and less direct that I assumed it would be. Thankfully Mike had just done the peak 2 weeks previous as some of the junctions on descent weren’t obvious which one was best. In general we had to work our way left and then around some ridges before going back to the right towards the campground near the bottom. We traversed a very interesting outcrop of rock, covered in a myriad of flowers before coming up on Two O’Clock Creek at around 22:00. The creek was going pretty quick and deep but I didn’t even try to keep my feet dry, just charging right through it, which felt fantastic on my tender tootsies! Most of my toes were numb at this point anyway, considering the abuses of the past week or so.
As a storm threatened to roll in from the west, we strode first through some gentle stands of trees and then through a busy and cheerful campground and headed down the highway, back towards our vehicles. One last little bit of excitement came in the form of two black bears in the ditch beside us, that ran off when I told them to. Good bears. Doing what they’re told. 🙂 We were feeling pretty tired when we walked up to the cars exactly 15 hours and 2 minutes after leaving them as darkness settled in at 22:30.
Overall I was pretty happy with this high level traverse. Views were unique to me as I haven’t done a ton of peaks in David Thompson Country (although I’ve already done the highest). It was a bloody long day though. Driving home was extremely tiring – I stopped for several power naps. As a day trip from YYC it was a 24 hour ordeal. I stumbled through my front door at around 03:00 for one of the longest day trips I’ve ever done. Thanks Mike for suggesting it and thanks Eric for doing it first! Crazy Edmontonians…