Nihahi Ridge is a prominent ridge in Kananaskis Provincial park which stretches over 8km long.

My partner Yuji and I attempted to traverse this ridge back in October of 2006 but were turned back due to excessive snow and lack of daylight. We decided to attempt it again on a longer day with our friends Tomoko and Mamiko.

As we departed Calgary at 8am, we had some doubts in our mind as we drove through light rain and witnessed some low cloud cover. However, we figured that we'd at least gain the southern end of the ridge before making our decision to continue forward.

After leaving my car at Prairie Creek along Powderface road, we started our traverse at around 9:30am.

Here's the ridge in the distance - engulfed in low clouds.


Here's a group of hikers in the distance as they start gaining the ridge above treeline.

The visibility wasn't getting any better but at least it stopped drizzling.


After passing the hikers, we continued onto the southern tip of the ridge.

Upon reaching the top, I noticed a small tupperware container under a couple of rocks. Thinking it was someones lunch, I took a moment to examine it when I noticed that it contained some pencils and a notebook. I thought it was a little weird having a register on the southern end but I signed it and passed it onto my group.

The clouds were fairly thick but we still had at least 50m of visibilty so we decided to continue onwards.


Here's the typical scrambling along Nihahi Ridge. There were some faint signs of a trail which traversed below most of the narrow sections but Yuji and I decided to walk along the crest since there was no wind. Looking behind, we were impressed that the girls were right behind us. This was the second scramble for both of them!

One of the girls had a fear of heights but admitted that the thick clouds were actually helpful since they covered up the exposure along the ridge. Of course the tradeoff was that there was no scenery.

Click on the image for a full portait sized image.


Here's another look at the ridge.

In retrospect, maybe it was a good thing that we were only able to see 100m ahead of us. It would have been painful to see all of those false summits!

The only concern I had was the descent since there was no established trails. At least I had a mapping GPS which would have pointed us back to the car.


As we continued towards the southern end, we noticed that the sky was getting brighter. The cloud ceiling seemed to rise as well.

Here's a shot of the group as they make their way towards the last false summit before the end.

Click on the image for a full portait sized image.


Finally! The summit block!

The register inside contained a total of 4 entries for 2007 including an entry from a pair of scramblers we encountered who were moving in the opposite direction.

Luckily for us, the clouds started to dissipate shortly after we took this picture.


The good news was that the lack of clouds gave us a clear picture in terms of our final destination.

The bad news was that we realized just how far we had to walk to get to our waiting car!

The red circle is where our car was parked.


There was absolutely no sign of a trail leading down from the north summit so we decided to scramble down a gully which eventually led to Prairie creek.

The rock was pretty heinous. It was pretty loose and yet it wasn't loose and small enough for scree skiing. Each step took some concentration to avoid slipping.


Here's a shot of the right side of the gully. The gully was full of snowmelt and had some large drops so we were forced to traverse the sides until the very end.

Definitely the hardest part of the day.


After a short bushwhack, we finally made it to the creek bed of Prairie creek. We thought it'd be a simple hike to our cars on this creek bed but of course we were mistaken.

The return trip involved quite a bit of bushwhacking and had us hiking through marshes infested with thousands of mosquitos. It probably took us over 3hrs to arrive at our cars from the summit.

Here's a picture of Yuji as he sprayed himself in the face with some Muskol. Maybe next time he'll close his eyes before he tries a silly stunt like that.