Distance: 10 km
Elevation gain: ~750 mView mapDownload GPS track
Tent Ridge is a popular horseshoe-shaped ridge that is usually approached from either end of the shoe. Different guidebooks, however, classify one or both of these approaches as scrambles of varying difficulty and exposure. To avoid this, one book recommends tackling the ridge from the north in the middle, struggling up 200 m of hard (no traction) scree. With little tolerance for exposure and no clear idea as to the best approach, we decided to head up to Tryst Lake and ascend to the middle of the ridge via the treed slope from the lake, figuring if things got steep we'd at least have trees to hold on to.
As it turns out, this approach is great! While the trail-less ascent is steep there is zero exposure, making this approach amenable to the hiker. Once you reach the ridge, the east and west summits are each a simple 0.5 km away and the views from both take in 95% of what you'd see hiking the entire ridge. Tryst Lake is also a very nice lake and is encircled with larches; something that would make this area worth returning to come fall.
The trailhead is located just west of Mt. Engadine Lodge in the parking area on the left, just after the road starts to ascend. From the parking lot, follow the trail south along level logging road for 1.8 km, turning west into the forest at the large cairn and flagging by the large uprooted tree. Ascend 250 m over 1.2 km on good trail to reach Tryst Lake, then make your way to the head of the lake via either shore. Continue on bits of trail into the cirque, then ascend to Tent Ridge through larch forest whereever it seems easiest. It is steep (40% grade on average), but the footing is surprisingly good and the trees are good for pulling yourself up as well.
After climbing 200 m in about 0.5 km, top out in the middle of Tent Ridge between the east and west summits, each about 0.5 km away. The approach to the west summit is not nearly as steep as it seems from this vantage and is 150 m higher, while the east summit is an easy stroll up 100 m. The ridge (apparently) gets scrambly immediately past the west summit and on the descent along the easterly arm, although we did neither and simply dove back down to Tryst Lake.