Opal Ridge

Elevation: 2575 m
Elevation gain: 870 m
Opal Ridge is the unofficial name for the ridge featuring tightly folded rock strata which lies immediately to the west of the larger Opal Range. The “Opal” name was bestowed by a Dr. George Dawson’s geological survey team which discovered quartz crystals coated with opals in the area.
My Ascents:
June 13 2010

Following a difficult break-up the day prior, I was in dire need of something to improve my spirits and take my mind off of heart break. For me, there is no better therapy than a trip to the mountains. Happily one of my best friends Grant was able to join me. While the company and the climb helped, it was still a difficult day. The views were spectacular but they, unfortunately, did little to improve my mood. I’ll have to return to Opal Ridge someday in better spirits to enjoy what truly is a spectacular area!

Early views after gaining the ridge. Gaining the ridge incidentally, was hell. Ridiculously steep, somewhat bushwhack slopes surrounded by rock bands with no obvious route up. Once on the ridge, however, travel was much easier!

Opal ridge's north end: guarded by impressive rock walls. The route traverses a scree bench between rock bands and to the right before ascending directly from there.

Mount Kidd provides inspiration on ascent.

Grant angling up scree slopes towards the cliffs.

Making his way along the scree bench below the sheer rock face. If it looks like he’s running up, it’s because he probably was.

Looking back along the traverse towards Mount Kidd.

The ridge top is guarded by a 5 or so meter climb.

Surprisingly flat and open ridge top. Heading for the high point on the right.

The top may be flat, but wandering too far to either side was inadvisable.

Ridge walk views of Mount James Walker across the valley.

Annoyingly deep isothermal snow.

Mount Joffre in the distance.

Snow traverse.

Taking in the high point of the ridge with great views of Mount Inflexible across the valley. Sadly my ice axe was lost somewhere in the woods on the way down.

Looking south along the rest of Opal Ridge towards Mount Evan-Thomas and Grizzly Peak.

A long way down to Highway 40.

Holding my camera even further over the ledge.

Mount Kidd and the Kananaskis valley to the north.

Mount Kidd and the Wedge.

Close-up of the Wedge.

Glaciated Mount Joffre over the Kananaskis Lakes.

Mount Kidd showing the ascent route up the gully.

Kananaskis Lakes.

Grant doesn’t do smiles.

Summit panorama to the west. Click to see larger.

Summit panorama to the north. Click to see larger.

Smaller peaks in the front ranges to the east.

The trio of the Fortress, Mount Galatea and the Tower (left to right).

Formidable cliffs.

Pleasant downclimbing.

Retracing our steps on descent.

Kananaskis River in the valley below. The blue speck near the bottom right is my car.

Fortress, Gusty and Galatea.

Down after an intense hour of steep bush-whacking on the left side of the photo. Looking back up at our ascent route up the rock crack to the left. Not sure which route was more unpleasant…

Trying to wash off ticks in the Kananaskis River.

Highway view of the ridge. Highpoint on the right was our 'summit'. Scrambling may not cure a broken heart but it sure helps!