Visitors 81
20 photos

Distance: 4.6 km (6 km to summit)
Elevation gain: 550 m (700 m to summit)
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This is a steep offshoot of the popular Sawmill snowshoe trail along the Spray Lakes Road in Kananaskis. The north outlier of Kent Ridge is the peak to the northeast of the Sawmill parking area.

The trail starts at the Sawmill parking area and initially begins following the Sawmill snowshoe trail counterclockwise. After a short moderate ascent about 10 minutes from the trailhead the old logging road you are following forks; the left branch is the official snowshoe trail while the right branch eventually weaves its way to the lower ridge of your destination. While the old road you are following is initially obvious it soon becomes terribly overgrown and the forest essentially impenetrable. Occasional red flagging and chopped tree branches help keep you on track, but you will be scrapping against tree branches for most of the way to the open ridge. The narrow spacing between fluffy trees also means you are constantly slipping into tree wells. Downloading the GPS track is probably the best way to stay mostly on course.

Once emerging onto the open ridge, however, a new problem becomes evident. The ridge essentially does not have a flat top on which to walk, and in places where there might be a somewhat level section there are huge cornices that obscure where ridge ends and cornice begins, meaning the whole area must be avoided. This means that for at least the first two-thirds of the ascent you will be side-sloping at an angle of 45 degrees or so. The actual ascent angle isn't bad, it's the constant slipping to the side and consequent risk of becoming a human avalanche that makes it so unpleasant. While this likely isn't as big of problem if the ridge is windswept, today the snow was "sugar snow" on top of an icy layer, making traction near impossible.

We eventually struggled about 2/3 of the way to the summit before calling it a day. The views were nice, but the risk/effort to reward ratio was way off; I'd fully recommend nearly any other trip on this site before I'd recommend this one, at least when the ridge is snow covered.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Subcategory:Outdoors
Subcategory Detail:Hiking
Keywords:Kananaskis, Kent Ridge, Kent Ridge north outlier, Sawmill loop, Sawmill snowshoe, snowshoeing