After an enjoyable scramble to the summit of “Dundy Peak”, Andrew and I set off for Cloudy Ridge. Though he’d been on “Dundy” once before and Cloudy twice before, the connecting ridge was new territory for Andrew – and of course me. I’d been itching to get to Cloudy Ridge ever since our March adventure on “Cloudy Junior”, where a devilish approach consumed the extra time we needed to include Cloudy Ridge. No matter. Today’s loop exorcised those demons, as we found ourselves on a more heavenly path to redemption. 😊
Our ascent and descent routes are clearly outlined in Andrew’s, More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. To get to “Dundy Peak” and Cloudy Ridge if you have two vehicles, turn onto the Red Rock Parkway and drive to the Red Rock Canyon parking lot. Leave one vehicle here and then drive the other vehicle ~2.3 km back along the Parkway to the Lost Creek parking lot. This extremely small area is the starting point. If you have only one vehicle, drive the Red Rock Parkway for 11.8 km to the Lost Horse parking area and start from here, knowing you will have an extra hike back from Red Rock Canyon at the end of the day.
From the Lost Horse parking lot, follow alongside and inside Lost Creek for ~1.9 km until you come to the start of “Dundy’s” southeast ridge – immediately after crossing the first tributary into Lost Creek. Depending on the time of year, the water in Lost Creek may make travel difficult, and if that’s the case, you will have to spend the majority of your time high on the left bank. Regardless, I’d recommend bringing a set of approach shoes that can handle both the water and the slippery rocks.
The first ~2.3 km along the southeast ridge is a straightforward hike that gains approximately 512 m in elevation. The scrambling begins on the shoulder and continues all the way to the summit. Most of the scrambling before the limestone band, can be navigated by trending climber’s left when faced with an obstacle.
The limestone band itself is formidable, and there does not appear to be an easy weakness anywhere on the south face of the mountain. We identified three routes to climber’s left of the ridge: the first being a possibility; the second being the one we used; and a third that looked to be a hundred or so metres away, but which we didn’t explore. The second weakness can be identified by noting a pointy rock formation near the top. This crux is not huge (perhaps 3.5 m in height), but the tricky part is encountered about halfway up, where you find yourself perched precariously as you cross from one side to the other, before scrambling up and onto more favourable terrain.
Once above the limestone, the trip to the false summit requires only easy scrambling, and from the top, the true summit is still ~630 m away via an enjoyable ridge walk featuring more easy scrambling.
Getting to Cloudy Ridge from the summit of “Dundy” is an enjoyable ~3 km ridge walk (~111 m elevation gain) that features a moderate down-climb as you leave “Dundy”, followed by moderate scrambling to reach the false summit and then the true summit. The key to reaching the summit of Cloudy, is to circle the summit block to climber’s right until you find yourself on the north side of the mountain. From here, you can then scramble the short distance to the top.
To descend, return to the false summit and follow the south ridge for ~3.4 km (911 m elevation loss) down to Red Rock Creek. The only obstacle you encounter, is the same limestone band that proved to be the crux on “Dundy”; however, the weakness is more pronounced and down-climbing is not difficult. The bottom of the south ridge presents you with the option to drop into Red Rock Creek on your left or on your right. You can aim left at first, but I would then drop to the creek on your right, because the one on the left features a large waterfall that will force you to backtrack.
Follow Red Rock Creek for ~3.2 km until you arrive at the parking lot and drive back to Lost Horse, or if you don’t have two cars, settle in for the 2.3 km walk back along the road.
Our total roundtrip distance was 17.9 km with total elevation gains of 1296 m. Our total roundtrip time was 9 hours and 6 minutes. For reference it took us 4 hours to cover the ~7.2 km hiking distance (983 m elevation gain) between our car and the summit of “Dundy”. It then took us another hour and 20 minutes to reach the summit of Cloudy Ridge.
Setting off from the summit “Dundy Peak” with Cloudy Ridge to the left of centre and “Cloudy Junior” on the right. The peak in the foreground is the false summit of Cloudy Ridge. The ~3 km trip between summits would take us 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Shortly after leaving “Dundy”, we came to a section of down-climbing.
I carefully lead us down. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Multitasking 101: the ability to admire lichen-covered argillite while down-climbing. 😊
A neat combination of colour.
We would avoid this entirely by keeping to climber’s left.
Looking back at our down-climb.
Easy travel along the ridge.
Alpine flora continued to add plenty of colour to our day. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Nearing the top of the first highpoint.
The view from the first highpoint with the false summit on the left and Cloudy Ridge in the centre.
Gazing back to “Alligator Dundy” (centre). 😂
Noticing a cool window on the side of “Cloudy Junior”.
The section between the highpoint and the false summit requires some moderate scrambling.
Climbing up and over a small, but distinctive formation. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
My view back to Andrew…
And Andrew’s view over to me. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew carefully negotiates a small ledge…
Before stepping through a gap and emerging onto the other side of the ridge.
And yet another look back.
In the interest of time, we would bypass the false summit to climber’s right. However, we would later ascend it as part of descent along Cloudy’s south ridge. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Our view of Cloudy Ridge and “Cloudy Junior” (right) as we bypass the false summit.
A super splash of colour! (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
On the col and looking toward the summit.
We weren’t sure what the weather was going to do, as these weird clouds rolled in rather quickly. A severe thunderstorm watch would be issued by Environment Canada shortly after we arrived on the summit, but thankfully, nothing materialized.
Glancing back to the false summit.
From here, it looks to be a straightforward route onto Cloudy; however, this is not the case. We would have to circle onto the north side of the mountain before scrambling up to its summit.
Fun scrambling along the ridge.
Anyone for a game of Whack-A-Mole?. 😂 (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Heading climber’s right as we begin to circle the summit block.
That notch between the ridge and the summit is the reason why you have to circle around.
Standing directly beneath the summit. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Continuing along the base of the summit block.
Those clouds behind Dungarvan make it look like a volcano. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew checks out the small ridge that leads towards “Cloudy Juniot”…
While I finish the scramble to the summit of Cloudy Ridge (2541 m).
Watching as Andrew returns along the ridge.
My view down to Andrew..
And his view up to me. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
A summit pano to the southeast…
Followed by a pano to the southwest.
A pano to the west…
A pano to the north…
And finally, a pano to the east.
A closer look at Mount Dungarvan.
Gazing back to “Dundy Peak”(centre; middle distance), where we were earlier in the day. The false summit of Cloudy is in the foreground.
A hazy view of Mount Blakiston and Mount Hawkins (right).
I’d take these skies above Anderson Peak any day, over what we experienced on it last fall. 😳
A close up look at “Cloudowan” – which is a name combination of Mount Glendowan and Cloudy Ridge.
The view along the front range of the Castle highlights some old and familiar friends. 😊
Victoria Peak (centre) is always a stand-out.
I’m probably due for another visit to Loaf Mountain. 😊
Looking beyond “Cloudowan” to Mount Glendowan (centre). I’d love to get to both these peaks in the near future. Edit: One down and one to go!
Andrew’s third time on the summit of Cloudy Ridge. The register showed that in 2020, there were only 8 parties who visited – plus one person in the photo who didn’t sign it 😊 – and that we were only the third party to this point in 2021.
Enjoying one of the best trips so far in 2021! (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
A 360 video from the summit.
After a leisurely lunch, it was time to pack up. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Leaving the summit. I found it best not to descend too far, but to start traversing back to the col once you are level with it.
I take a few minutes to explore the short ridge that leads toward “Cloudy Junior”. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
This is as far as you can go along the ridge – at least safely 😊 – but it does provide a good look at “Cloudy Junior”.
A pano from the same vantage as the previous photo.
In viewing the summit from here, you can see why it was necessary to circle onto the north side (right) of the mountain.
Navigating past a small, but colourful overhang.
There are a couple places (like the section directly in front of Andrew), where you have to watch your footing, as a fall would not be fun.
Heading to the false summit.
We bypassed the remaining portion of the ridge by sticking to skier’s right.
I lead the way across the col. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
We would use Cloudy’s south ridge (right) to descend. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Glancing back to the summits of Cloudy Ridge (left) and “Cloudy Junior” the top of the false summit.
A small cairn marks the top of the false summit (2495 m).
Andrew snaps a few pics before leading us down the south ridge.
The south ridge was the ideal descent for our loop.
Enjoying more relaxed travel while taking in the views.
What on earth am I doing? (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Why, trying to get a clear photo of this silky phacelia of course! Unfortunately, my skills in photography are on par with my skills in botany. 😂
Mount Dungarvan pokes over the connecting ridge between “Dundy Peak” (right) and Cloudy Ridge. You can clearly see the small down-climb that we had to navigate shortly after leaving the summit of “Dundy”.
Glancing back along the ridge to the summit of Cloudy (left).
A more comprehensive look at the ridge between “Dundy” and the false summit of Cloudy.
Likewise, here’s a look at the ridge between “Cloudowan” (left) and Cloudy.
Thankfully, the limestone band that proved to be the crux on “Dundy”, is not as big of an obstacle here.
Down-climbing the limestone band with my usual grace and poise. 😂 (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
The notch on the summit of Cloudy is clearly visible from this angle.
Another look back at the limestone band.
And another view over to “Dundy”.
A closer look at the south ridge’s impressive face.
Transitioning from scree to vegetation.
One more glance back along the ridge to the summit of Cloudy (left).
Descending towards Red Rock Creek. The parking lot (centre) is still a ways off from here.
At first we trended skier’s left…
Before finalizing our descent to skier’s right.
Enjoying a quick break after arriving at the creek.
This is why you don’t want to descend to the creek on your left.
The beginning of our fun trip down Red Rock Creek – the perfect egress for a hot, summer’s day!
I’m loving the colours so far. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew checks out a small waterfall.
Once the trees burned in the 2017 Kenow fire begin to rot and fall, both Red Rock Creek and Lost Horse Creek may become impassable due to deadfall.
The creek becomes more colourful the closer we get to Red Rock Canyon.
Cool, clear mountain water – one of our most precious resources.
I’m really digging the colours now! (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Arriving at a cascading series of pools.
We would bypass the upper section by scrambling along the left bank…
But we would drop back in for the lower section.
Easy does it! (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew repeats my balancing act.
The lower pool is an inviting place to cool off!
Entering the upper section of Red Rock Canyon.
Andrew’s loving it too!
The lush vegetation combined with the deep, crimson argillite, gave off a rainforest vibe.
Now inside the canyon. It’s been a long time since I was last here. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
We are blessed to live in such a cool part of the world. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
One day I will remember to slow my shutter speed when photographing water…. one day…
When the gods decide to play Pick Up Sticks. 😳
This is a great place to bring your kids – little and big – to explore. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Precariously avoiding a very deep pool. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew follows close behind.
Just in case anyone’s still wondering why it’s called Red Rock Canyon…
I present Exhibit A…
And Exhibit B. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Alas, our fun is coming to an end. 😩
Looking back at the summit of Cloudy Ridge (centre) from the Red Rock parking lot. From here we completed the loop by driving my car – which we had left here earlier in the day – 2.3 km back to our starting point at Lost Horse Creek. Not counting the driving, we covered 17.9 km with total elevation gains of 1296 m over the entire, two peak loop. Our total roundtrip time was 9 hours and 6 minutes. As I mentioned in my “Dundy” report, this was one of my favourite trips so far in 2021 – and that’s saying a lot, because I usually love every trip I do. 😂😂 Not only did I enjoy the scrambling, but the approach via Lost Horse Creek followed by our egress along Red Rock Creek was just to ticket for a hot summer’s day. I will definitely recommend this route – and in this order, because you don’t want to down-climb the limestone band on “Dundy” – to anyone confident in their scrambling skills. Finally, and as always, I’m blessed to have spent another day in the mountains with a great friend. Thanks Andrew!