Thursday, June 25, 2009

Avion Ridge

Height: 7,995ft
View-o-meter: 2/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Easy
Total Trip Difficulty: Moderate
Best Feature: Feels like an "off trail" hike without any route finding worries
Worst Part: Long hike to get to the peak

Avion ridge is normally done as part of a popular loop route. This ridge section is labelled an "off trail" hike. However, as things stand now, the trail is pretty well defined. Even a green tourist should have a hard time getting lost. The only other established route in the park of a similar character is the "Dragon's Back" which goes up the Forum ridge over toward Bennet's pass. Avion ridge is the most popular beginner “off trail” hikes in the park.

Avion Ridge as seen looking west from Newman Peak. The main peak in the foreground is a minor summit around which the trails goes right. The actual Avion Ridge summit lies in the background

Most people do the loop from the Goat Lake direction. From the Red Rock canyon parking lot, it is about 8km to Goat Lake. The last few km gain some steady elevation on an open slope. At the lake a somewhat hard to find trail heads up the backside of the valley. It leaves near the old tent sites.

From the saddle, peak baggers usually head right, up Newman Peak (8,599). Those who are a bit more conservative with their energy expenditures stay on the standard route that cuts around the north side of the small pyramid to the left. This short section has the most exposed scrambling on the route. Adventurous individuals can easily gain the ridge directly, instead of traversing around the back. While this does give you a bit more time up high, the elevation is quickly lost as you regain the trail which cuts around the backside of this minor knob. The Avion summit lies on the ridge off in the distanceridge the distance.

Follow the ridgeline above sheep valley (the small valley with the tiny lake to the north). Some newer scramblers may be intimidated by the large drop off on your right (north). There are few technical difficulties. However, in the spring, some sizeable cornices may make for interesting walking. The trail avoid the summit of Avion Ridge, traversing across slightly underneath to the south.

As you start to descend, the Tamarack becomes plentiful. The early fall is definitely the most spectacular time to travel. Eventually you will run into the Castle River Divide. Follow the trail south into Lost Lake. There is not much water along this hike, so make sure you fill up at Goat Lake.

Good Links About the Avion Ridge Scramble

Vern Dewit's Scrambling Page - lots of excellent pictures, extra links, journal type report

Dave's Scrambling - pictures and a journal type report

Bob Spirko's Scrambling page - lots of pictures, map with route, downloadable route, elevation profile




At 8/15/2009 08:54:00 PM , Blogger sigob said...

It seems like quite a few people are arriving here from search engines, so perhaps I'll add a few extra comments if you are looking to do this hike.

One easy way to shorten this hike is to take some mountain bikes and leave them at the Goat Lake turn off. You can either wander in the woods a bit and stash them, or bring a lock. This saves about 5km each way. The trail is an old fire road, and the only difficulties are one or two stream beds that have flooded out in the past. In spring you may get your feet wet. You will definitely have to carry your bike across at least one.

Stashing bikes saves those last few painful kilometers of any longer hike. Just be aware that the snowshoe cabin trail (the old road that leads to the Goat lake turnoff and continues on up to the Snowshoe cabin turnoff towards Lost lake) can be pretty busy with tourists. Also in the evenings I have usually tended to run into a few bears on this trail. I almost ran straight into a pair on my bike - but that is another story.

For Avion ridge, I would also take more than your normal supply of water. The Goat Lake trail from the turnoff is pretty hot and dry. The ridge from the back of Goat lake is also pretty dry.


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