I've wanted to do a traverse around the Tent Ridge Loop for years already. When the family was heading out to the mountains to do a hike I decided this would be a perfect chance to do it.
All I can say is follow Gillean Daffern's guide TO THE LETTER. This includes walking BACK along the road from the parking area on the Mount Shark road. If you're only going up Tent Ridge, take the obvious trail up the logging road a wee bit further UP the road and follow directions, but if you're doing the loop ignore this obvious trail and walk BACK along the road, following her directions.
The trail isn't maintained or cleared so there's some deadfall issues before getting to Monica Brook. From the brook onward the route is awesome - certainly the best ridge walk other than Northover Ridge that I've done in K-country. The route is best done clockwise (as per the guide) due to scrambling sections early on the ridge to the first high point. These aren't difficult, but my wife didn't love sections of them and the kids were a bit nervous on some of the exposed traverses. There are sections you really wouldn't want to slip on, despite Gillean saying it's not exposed at all. I would say easy to low moderate scrambling on sections of the initial ridge.
[Hiking up the fire road (note the main road in the background)]
[Don't expect a maintained trail!]
[In the Monica Brook drainage, looking ahead to part of the loop.]
[Our first break, sitting under Tent Ridge in the meadows around the Monica Brook tarn.]
[Just before heading up (out of sight to the left) - Monica Brook source is this open meadow. ++]
[Coming out of the trees and heading for the first high point.]
[The boys loved the scrambling - Hanneke not so much! This is looking at the highest point on the traverse, the midway point.]
[Some sections are surprisingly exposed - nothing major but not just simple hiking either.]
[Kaycie coming up the ridge. Nestor and Old Goat rising above her in the distance.]
[Don't want to slip on this little traverse!]
[Still enjoying ourselves - no wind and views in every direction.]
[Most sections are just hiking.]
[Just enough hands-on to keep dad happy... ;-)]
[Hanneke coming up the ridge above the scrambling sections. Tent Ridge to the left and Spray Lakes behind. ++]
[On top of the first summit. Birdwood on left, The Fist behind and Smuts to the right.]
[View looking east from the first summit. Peaks include Commonwealth Ridge, Commonwealth Peak, Pigs Tail, Birdwood, The Fist and Smuts (l to r). ++]
From the 'space command center' the hiking is pretty easy with wonderful views in all directions. The descent was quick and easy to follow - the correct trail is quite well marked. Make sure you don't traverse too far skier's right when coming down the ridge to tree line. There's a branch in the trail on the scree slope - follow the left one. You will come down the obvious trail that you could see UP the road from the parking area.
[Losing elevation before gaining the high point of the traverse.]
[Gizmo (dog) finally decides to come out of Kaycie's pack and WALK for a while. Lazy dog... ;-)]
[Looking down Monica Brook drainage, Tent Ridge on the left and the first high point on the right. ++]
[The terrain gets steep to the high point.]
[From the summit looking towards the Fist / Smuts col. There's a person in this shot, look for the tiny dot at the bottom of the snow patch on the ridge at center. That's a person! He / she traversed towards me and descended left to Tryst Lake.]
[Looking towards The Fist and Mount Smuts from the summit. ++]
[The gang on the summit. In the background is the Chester Lake peaks and Tryst Lake. ++]
[Tryst Lake and gorgeous fall colors. ++]
[Looking at Tent Ridge (left) and the Space Command Center (right). Buller in the background. ++]
[Descending to Tent Ridge.]
[You lose quite a bit of height before gaining most of it back again.]
[Almost at Tent Ridge summit.]
[Summit of Tent Ridge. ++]
[Some nice lake colors and Mount Assiniboine just peaking through on the distant left. ++]
[Ready to descend the ridge, looking over at where we started the ridge traverse (just right of center).]
[Descending the 'gulch' Gillean references in her guidebook for the ascent of Tent Ridge.]
[The trail back is pretty obvious.]
[Coming out onto the OTHER logging road that takes you pack to your car.]
My kids were 11 and 13 when we did this route, but they've done scrambling before. Do not choose this as your first hike in the mountains but otherwise this trail lives up to it's stellar reputation.