It may seem strange for me to include GR939323 as a separate summit in my log, but after many hours of hard hiking and looking over at the elevation loss / gain to attain this apex of Vimy Ridge you’ll understand. ;)
As I already indicated in my Arras Peak report, I don’t understand the naming of peaks along Vimy Ridge. Vimy Peak makes sense, as it’s the peak looming over the Waterton town site and named for a famous WW I Canadian battle. Arras Peak makes sense, as it’s a distinctive peak along Vimy Ridge and is the name of the overall WW I objective that Vimy was the opening act for. What doesn’t make sense (to me) is that GR939323 should be named Vimy Ridge as it’s the terminal apex of the long ridge running from Vimy Peak! Oh well. “grid reference” it remains I guess... Who cares in the end?
[The view of GR939323 from the summit of Arras Peak (Vimy Ridge)]
[The micro terrain is fascinating on the entire traverse.]
GR939323 looks pretty easy from the summit of Arras, but it’s the best scrambling we got all day. There are a couple of low cliff bands running across the ridge and we chose to scramble right up some of them, just for fun. Good thing we left the brain buckets at the parking lot… After scrambling through the cliff bands we labored up final rubbly scree slopes to another wonderful summit panorama in windless, sunny conditions.
[The low cliff bands are clearly visible as we get down to the col between Arras and GR939323.]
[The south face of GR939323 is pretty impressive.]
[Looking back at Arras as Phil descends to the Arras / GR939323 col.]
[Looking back at Arras from part way up. I couldn't find a name for the impressive peak on the left. Crypt Peak? ++]
[Another view of the nice valley between Arras, GR939323 and Sofa Mountain.]
[Nice colors - I bet this valley doesn't see many humans.]
[Looking down the international border from the summit of GR939323 with Chief Mountain on the right.]
The views into the North Fork Belly River valley and towards Chief Mountain and the Blood Indian Reserve were special. Upon closer inspection, and with the assistance of my telephoto lens, we even managed to spot a large herd of Mountain Goats far beneath us at the headwaters of the North Fork Belly River. We spent some time on another windless summit, enjoying our day and the fact that we were now half way done our trip.
[Looking back along the traverse at Vimy Peak. It doesn't look far, but it's a ways off!]
[Looking across Upper Waterton Lake at Richards, Bertha Alderson, Buchanan and Carthew.]
[Another Kris Thorsteinsson register - he knows how to bring a register that can be used to do arm curls at the summit!]
[A Czech guy did this peak as part of a two day traverse from Crypt Lake]
[The last entry was a traverse all the way from Sofa Mountain! That's a nice outing!]
[Impressive Mount Cleveland]
[I'm not 100% sure but I think this is Campbell Mountain in Glacier National Park.]
[Ruby Ridge with the giant (for the region) Blakiston looming 400m highter than our peak behind it.]
[Bertha in front of Alderson and Carthew.]
[Three distinctive peaks beyond Richards]
[Tele pano of Lower Waterton Lake with part of Bellevue Hill and Lakeview Ridge on the left. ++]
[Goat paradise in the headwaters of North Fork Belly River]
We descended GR939323 fairly quickly, finding easier lines through the cliff bands than on ascent by going slightly further skier's left. As we made our way slowly back up and along Vimy Ridge towards Vimy Peak the sky began to cloud up a bit and the wind picked up - but nothing too extreme. When we got back to the high point before Vimy Peak we took a shortcut route into the upper bowl on Vimy's east flank which saved us having to re-ascend Vimy Peak. There was an obvious trail on this slope with huge switchbacks. We lost the trail for a bit, but after traversing straight left we found the trail and followed it back to the bikes.
[Descending shale cliffs on the return to the Arras col]
[These plants were all light pink which added to the color of the landscape.]
[Phil, A.K.A "The Machine".]
[More interesting detritus on return. This sort of stuff puts Phil in a strange trance where he mutters to himself things like - "But WHY is it LIKE that?!"]
[Interesting slab on the ridge.]
[A great shot of Phil with Crypt Lake beneath him and Cleveland in the bg. ++]
[Back on the hardest part of the traverse, just before the high point before Vimy Peak, which is on the left.]
[Descending to the east of Vimy Peak - shortcutting our way back to the ascent trail which is somewhere in the trees below.]
[The trail runs out soon, but we simply traversed left to find it back. Vimy on upper left. ++]
[Back on the highway!]
[What a glorious day to NOT be at work!]
[Looking back at Vimy Peak]
The bike ride out was surprisingly quick. We expected to be doing a lot of uphill peddling as the morning bike seemed mostly downhill. We must have had a lot of caffeine that morning, because it wasn't bad at all! There was no sign of the rutting elk on our exit and we only ran into one couple just before the parking lot. I couldn't believe that we did the whole traverse in just under 10 hours! I think this is a pretty fast pace - thanks to Phil the long distance runner. I think on my own this would have been a lot closer to 12 hours and for a larger group, 14 hours or more would not be unexpected. This was one of those very rare days in Waterton that gifted us with light winds and mostly sunny skies. I really enjoyed this trip.
[These cairns mark the exit from the Sofa Creek crossing]
[Phil is biking ahead of me so quickly that there's TWO of him!! :) ++]