We were not alone. A pair of nice young ladies from Okotoks and their (on leash) dogs were heading up, too. Without much guidance other than some Instagram photos, they had started off wrong. They headed up King Creek, which is where you park to climb the ridge. They had crossed the creek 5 times before turning back. So we pointed them to the trailhead and gave them a general description of the route (that I gleaned by reading Gillean Daffern's books and looking at the Gem Trek map), and off they went.
We met them on the trail ~15 minutes later, already taking a breather. No, this was not an indication of their fitness level. King Ridge climbs over 500 m in less than 2 km. Straight up. Whoever designed the trail hates switchbacks.
On the bright side:
- Heading up at the same pace as them made us puff and pant but didn't kill us. It was actually quite reasonable as we were not in a hurry.
- The higher you go on the open slopes, the better the views get.
|Mt. Lawson, South end|
|Looking back to the lakes area|
|Lower K Lakes comes into view|
|60% of the way up. You can see the grade.|
|Upper and Lower Lakes|
|The view south west from the trees|
|Looking back down the ridge. The spike is Mt. Wintour|
|The lakes plus|
|Looking across Upper Lake to Mt. Sarrail & Foch|
|Not a selfie, actually. Karen held her pole to my camera|
|Looking north to the Fortress valley|
|The top of the grassy knoll|
|Clear sightline back across Lower Lake|
|The verdant backside of Grizzly Peak Ridge|
|North. Lawson on the left, Fortress in the middle and Grizzly on the right|