21 May 2016
Vents Ridge (Elbow)
It’s May Long in K Country and the storms coming. Where to hike? Will we be snowed out and hypothermic at day’s end? Will we settle for TV at home, a small stroll in the foothills on an tame trail or push our luck with a lofty summit or ridge? The epiphany arrives and we set our sights on Vent’s Ridge with it’s summit in the clouds.
At only 1775 m Vent’s ridge is one of those places you could do after work. Our route was about 3.75 km with 250 m total elevation gain. We pushed it uphill and arrived back at the car in just over 2 hours, our total round trip from south Calgary was 4 hours.
The beginning, a solid off trail push up hill satiates your lust for cardio and navigation. A short scramble by the suspected vents is admirable and a scree spillway of the east side of the summit ridge gives a feeling of a much larger peak. Especially when the clouds cloak the gnarled Lodgepoles and the lichen encrusts the stoney ground that crunches as we walk. A White Buddha below.
We start on the east bank of Powderface Creek, ascend NW to a small plateau and continue eastward up the ridge into the clouds, onto the summit. We ramble along the summit ridge eastward passing a few fire pits before we descend south at a small pass to meet up with Powderface trail returning us to the parking lot.
As for the vents, a few cavernous openings on the summit ridge made us nervous of H2S in the still clouds. A Pack Rat has made it’s home in one of them which which calms my nerves during the scrambly bit. We make it out alive.
I’ve included an image of our route below (sorry no .gpx)