A day after scrambling up Little Arethusa at the Highwood Pass, I was back for more - this time as a solo scramble. I really wanted to take advantage of the warm weather before winter really hit and I found myself with another free day so I 'forced' myself out of bed and into the car for the long drive back to the Rockies and Highwood Pass.
Due to a lingering cold / flu I didn't want to do any big objective so I settled on Highwood Ridge across from Little Arethusa and directly above the Highwood Pass parking lot. What I didn't count on was copious amounts of fresh snow compared to the day previous! There must have been almost 6 inches of fresh powder - enough that I almost didn't dare drive into the parking lot with my car.
I knew from the day before that the east aspect of Highwood Ridge was sliding so I chose to follow the Highwood Cirque trail for a ways before cutting up a steep gully just east of the north ridge. I was in loose snow up to my crotch all the way up the gully and across some steepish slopes before gaining the north ridge just above tree line. The wind was howling on the ridge but the route looked easy and pretty much wind blown so I continued up.
[Looking back at my access trail - 5 minutes from the parking lot]
[As I gained height in the gully I could start seeing the north ridge. I accessed it by contouring climber's right]
[On the ridge now, looking towards the summit.]
[Looking back from the ascent. Mount Rae prominent right of center. ++]
[Looking towards Mount Rae on the left and Little / Main Arethusa on the right. ++]
[Looking southeast off the ridge towards Storm Mountain.]
[It's a wintry day!]
[Zoomed in shot looking north down Hwy 40. Gap Peak to the left.]
[The wind made it a bit cool.]
[Storm, Mist and Lipsett (l to r) from the ridge.]
[Summit cairn looking west to Grizzly Ridge and Tyrwhitt.]
[Pocaterra (l) looming over Pocaterra Ridge (r).]
[Windy view south to Mist and Lipsett.]
[Mist (left) and Lipsett (right). Lipsett is tiny!]
[Storelk was a nice after work objective...]
[Looking down Highwood Ridge (left) and Grizzly Ridge (right). ++]
[Looking straight down Highwood Ridge. ++]
[Looking west. Arethusa, Storm, Mist and Lipsett. ++]
[Looking north at Rae and Gap. ++]
[Grizzly on the left and Tyrwhitt in center from descent.]
[Looking up at my ascent gully from the Highwood Ridge trail.]
The views from the summit were phenomenal and I enjoyed them in a stiff wind before heading back down. The trip down was extremely quick in the snow. My round trip time was under 2.5 hours. A great, short outing with awesome views.