Sunday, January 9, 2011

Panorama Ridge

The scramble to the summit of this ridge promises hard work on loose scree, and wet feet while fording Babel Creek. The only way to prevent the fulfillment of either promise is to take the much longer route via Taylor Lake, but this route is easier and quicker. Achieving any of the adventures in this guidebook is accomplished by using our finite amount of time to do this instead of doing something else. Even when taking into account the cursed scree slopes, fording rivers, walking countless kilometres through forest and balancing on a precarious summit ridge, the thought of wanting to do anything other than this is strikingly strange. So, enjoy the scree and the river crossing, because the euphoria at the summit is just irreplaceable. Moreover, when you are sitting at home this will now become the only thing you think about and all you want to do.

Elevation gain: 905 m


GPS: N51 19 43.3 W116 10 54.0
Elevation: 1873 m
Panorama Ridge: 
GPS: N51 19 34.3 W116 08 04.6
Elevation: 2778 m

GPS: N51 18 24.1 W116 07 15.2
Elevation: 2834 m

Trailhead: The trail crosses the Moraine Lake outlet stream and intersects a fork in the trail without delay. The way is clear, as signs will direct you to the left toward Consolation Lakes 2.9 km up the main trail. There is a 65-m elevation gain over the course of this 2.9-km hike.
There is a short expanse of boulder hopping for a few minutes as you traverse an avalanche slope. Upward to the right is a splendid view of the Tower of Babel. The trail now enters a coniferous forest of spruce and fir that parallels Babel Creek until approaching the lower reaches of Lower Consolation Lake. When the trail breaks through the forest it is greeted by a meadow of wildflowers and a clear look at the route up Panorama Ridge lying across the creek to the left.

Upon arriving here, begin searching for a narrow, shallow area for crossing the creek. The creek seems to narrow near the lake, but this may change from year to year. The water is only knee-deep at most, but it is still advisable to seek shallow water, as there is a bit of a current. There are remnants of a makeshift crossing constructed of logs, rocks and other debris, but this is now unsafe. The water is painfully cold and the rocks are hard on bare feet, so neoprene water boots are highly recommended. On the other side, after a brief encounter with a boulder field, you’ll find the trail evident and well marked. As with most scree slopes there are many trails, with sometimes one being better than the rest. Try to search out the most frequented, packed-down path if possible. Again, this may change from one year to another. Regardless, this is going to be a struggle even if a packed trail is found. However, since the mountainside is barren, the scenery is fantastic during the entire trip, so listen to your legs and stop frequently to turn around and take a look. Otherwise you really will be missing the point of being here. Directly below are Consolation Valley and the lakes, and across the valley is the Tower of Babel, Mount Babel and Mount Fay. Mount Temple is in full view 5.7 km to the northwest. The incline becomes slightly steeper close to the top, but not for long.
The ridge and summit are composed of rock and boulders, making the ridge walk somewhat annoying. If you are not happy with the top of the ridge as your summit, then toil over the boulders for another 1.8 km to reach the true summit 56 m higher.

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