Rodgers Ridge is among my favourite easy alpine hiking routes. It’s a non-technical route with a lightly booted trail that ambles through the light alpine bush, past a secret hut, and along rolling slab rock. Once high on the ridge you can see views of Buttle Lake and many of the peaks in Strathcona Park. I’ve posted numerous reports from the area but my favourite is the time my car stuck on the logging road— 37 kilometres up the Argonaught and Granite Mainlines! I added it to the schedule and as one of the objectives for the Island Mountain Ramblers Ridge Rambler Challenge because this region is among my favourite ridge hikes.
Rodgers Ridge is a long drive from the South Island but that didn’t stop 18 club members and guests from joining an August 7th hike. We braved a poor forecast and variable conditions to reach the high point on the ridge, Mount Beadnell.
The digital display on my jeep blipped 7:50 am as I turned into the parking lot at our final rendezvous point. Introductions went well, everyone took the responsibility of introducing themselves to each other while I collected emergency contact info and signed waivers. Soon we were in a 5 vehicle convoy leading up the Argonaught mainline on the way to Rodgers Ridge.
We arrived safely at the parking area (`1200 m) around 9 am. Though we were high up the mountain sidde we were still deep in a valley looking up to Rodgers Ridge on our left and Lupin Mountain on our right. We hiked up the south facing slopes for a short 30 minutes to the our first view of the day, a small alpine tarn. The hikers eagerly whipped out their cameras and captured the serene still waters of the shallow lake which rests at the base of Rodgers Ridge.
Phil and I co-led the unwieldy large group of 18 hikers –we decided to split the group into two. Phil led one group up the steeper, more direct approach to the ridge; while I led the smaller, second group along the lower section which passes the hut and ascends a gentler west facing slope up to the ridge.
Phil’s group was faster than mine, they reached the summit a good time ahead of us. However, as they ate lunch on the summit we caught up. Although Phil’s speed allowed them to cover extra ground during the day it may have denied them some views.
My group sat eating their lunch on the summit after the larger group left. I was enjoying a good conversation with two guest hikers when I halted midsentence and interjected, “We have to go!” Jamie’s hair was standing on end —as though she was touching a Van Der Graaf Generator! The day’s forecast was coming true –we had the sun and we were about to get the lighting!
As we started our descent the clouds lifted and we got our views of Mount Adrian’s long shoulder, and peek-a-boo views of Mount Alexandra. Perhaps the greatest sights were of the lakes on the east side of the ridge, Beadnell Lake and several large tarns create watery terraces down the slopes into the valley below. It was a sight to behold!
When we were partway down the mountain the rain started and Phil radioed in, “We are returning to the cars.” They were almost at Lupin Mountain but visibility had been reduced to 50 metres– It’s not a peak you visit to check it off a list, it’s one you visit to see the lupins!
My group continued at a slow and steady pace as we worked our way back down a looping route to the first alpine lake, and back to the cars. We all made a safely down. We each enjoyed the day for what it was–a nice easy hike in the alpine!