I camped in my truck near the Pincher Ridge parking spot so that I could take advantage of the nice weather and a week off with some Nugara scrambles. The day after Pincher Ridge I decided to give Victoria Peak and Ridge a shot.I brought my bike to help make the potentially long day a bit shorter because for the first time in a very long time, rain and even t-storms were in the forecast for the afternoon and evening.
[My delightful camping spot near South Drywood Creek.]
[I could park in the shade and enjoy fresh water from the creek flowing just behind me here. The only downside? Cows. Lots of damn cows... ;)]
I got to the parking area around 0730 and by 0740 I was huffing and puffing my bike up the approach road. Eventually I came to the top of a pretty long hill and decided it was worth leaving the road at this point and heading on foot for the obvious gully.
[Heading up on climber's left of the drainage]
[There's smatterings of trails but the route is pretty obvious - follow the line of trees like Nugara suggests.]
[Looking south off the ascent slopes towards Pincher Ridge.]
[Fall colors as I work my way climber's right through the larch forest on the ridge. I was covered with larch needles after this!]
Nugara's route description is pretty accurate except for near the top of the route. If you stay right you will find a window in the ridge - the terrain here is not scrambling!! You should traverse climbers left and find more moderate terrain. It took me less than 2.5 hours to the summit of Victoria Peak and the rest of the route to the summit of Victoria Ridge looked very LONG from my vantage at the summit.
[I will trend right up the obvious break here and then eventually back left.]
[Looking down the gully as I cross it climber's right]
[Looking up the terrain I scrambled - loose rock means you should wear a brain bucket here.]
[Looking off the ridge near where I had to traverse climber's left - obviously the terrain at left here isn't scrambling anymore! Gladstone (L) is visible. ++]
[This is NOT scrambling terrain anymore. I'm sure it goes, but to stay scrambling you have to traverse back to climber's left to access the summit block on moderate terrain.]
[Looking west towards Victoria Ridge left of center and Windsor and Castle Peak to the right of center. ++]
[Table Mountain from the summit of Victoria Peak. ++]
[Beautiful views over the traverse towards Windsor and Castle Peak with Gladstone on the right. ++]
It was cooler and windier than the day before on Pincher Ridge, so I don't linger but started the trek to Victoria Ridge.
[Windsor on the left and Castle Peak on the right.]
[Looking south towards Drywood and Pincher Ridge.]
[Excellent fall and Castle area colors on the descent of Victoria Peak on my way to Victoria Ridge. ++]
[The pink and gold colors blew me away - this is an amazing landscape!]
[Stunning color as I make my way towards Victoria Ridge. ++]