After coming down from Spionkop Ridge we began the long traverse to Avion Ridge. At first we thought we had to go back over Newman Peak but thankfully we noticed a perfect sheep trail that bypassed any elevation gains on Newman and simply traversed back to the Newman / Avion col without any major dips or doodles. For once I didn't have to be angry at the sheep who often lay down a perfect trail that goes nowhere near where I want to be! .-)
[Wietse and Keith traverse Newman's slopes to the Newman / Avion col.]
[Spring is here - finally!]
Avion Ridge is a very straight forward hike. You can either do some easy scrambling and stick to the ridge from the col or you can follow the obvious trail around to climber's right which bypasses the extra elevation gain but is more boring from a scrambling point of view. Since we already had a long day and were planning another one for the next day we choose to wimp out on the easy bypass route.
[Great views of the valley between Newman and Avion Ridge.]
[Keith and Wietse come up part of the ridge behind me.]
[On the upper ridge.]
The weather held out very nicely and soon we were enjoying more incredible views of cliffs, forests, snow and sparkling lakes from the summit of Avion Ridge. Waterton is a very special place and if you ever get the chance to visit it you will understand it's pull. You feel like you're in another world, untouched by time when you're there. After some time on the summit we choose to descend back via our ascent route (we briefly considered continuing the traverse of Avion and then descending back down to the Snowshoe trail but this added considerable distance to a long enough day).
[Pano from just below the summit of Avion looking north towards the Castle / Crown Wilderness Area. ++]
[On the summit of Avion Ridge.]
[A helicopter buzzes us at the summit.]
[Summit Panorama. ++]
The descent was pleasant - at least till the last 4.6km along the Snowshoe Trail which was a bit miserable. A long day out but a very worthwhile one and one of the nicest days I've spent in Waterton.
[Taking advantage of some glissading opportunities on the way back down.]
[Back through the deadfall.]
[Heading back down from Goat Lake in very warm conditions.]
[Can you spot the hikers on the trail? Very cool part of the descent.]
[More signs of spring.]
[Ok - I like flowers!]
[Asters are one of my favorites.]