Our route, hiked counter-clockwise. The last portion after re-ascending a lower part of Whisky ridge on return, is drawn in from memory as an approximation; since my phone died from the cold.
Dave had been trying to round some people up to ascend these foothills west of Longview for quite a while. On this high avalanche, cold, view-less day he finally got both Wietse and I to agree.
Wietse got permission from the lease holder of the crown land on Friday to cross the land. Who was justifiably mystified why we wanted to hike up the ridges in the first place. No one had ever called for access to "bag" these peaks before. From what I can tell all crown land has recreational access if you follow the rules. First ask permission form the lease holder if applicable. All phone numbers are found on the Recreational Access Internet Mapping Tool
This was a long, and at times seemingly pointless wander. There were few actual views, and most of what we saw hiking is similar to what I could see wandering around my in-laws quarter section instead. Elevation was gained throughout the day in little spurts continually. To keep off private land we had to re-ascend both Jim and Whisky Ridges at lower points on return. This was also the shortest way back to where we had started. The crown land only extends in a small section back to the highway. If you look at our return track on the map, we are following the fence along the boundary of the land. Still any day out in nature with your friends is a good day! And how can you bag 3 "summits" on such a day otherwise?
Oddly enough these little ridges are officially named summits
. If your into that sort of thing. They also all have at least the magical 100 meters elevation difference inbetween them to make them distinct.
Further research afterwards from home found that Whisky Ridge is really named for Whisky. During Alberta’s Prohibition from 1916-1924, Turner Valley became an epicentre for bootlegging. Illegal stills
were scattered throughout the hills surrounding the town, one of which became known as Whisky Ridge. There are apparently still sheds housing old stills up in the hills. We unfortunately didn't see any. I've been to the Eau Claire Distillery
which more recently opened up. They make good products. I especially like the Prickly Pear EquineOx.