Tuff Puff Ridge
No climbing resume is complete without it!
Date: January 12, 2014
With dangerous avalanche conditions closing highways and raising red flags all over the Rockies Ben, Steven and I were looking for something really innocuous to help us get over our urban fever. Enter the fearsome Tuff Puff Ridge.
Whimsical name aside, this ridge in the David Thompson Country makes for an easy and scenic outing at almost any time of the year. Light amounts of snowfall combined with consistently strong winds usually result in low accumulations and significant bare patches in this area, which makes it a good area to explore when caution steer's you clear of more traditional destinations.
My expectations for this trip were rather low, but we got much better views (thanks to some rather awesome light) than I expected. Other than the gale force winds this was a great snowshoeing hike.
There are two ways to ascend Tuff Puff Ridge and this report describes the route from the Kinglet Lake trailhead. There's also likely a route beginning from the west end of the Cavalcade Group Camping Area. Anyway, you can find the Kinglet Lake Trailhead on the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11) approximately 19.5km southwest of the David Thompson Resort, or 3.6km southwest of Cavalcade Camp Area.
The route up Tuff Puff Ridge is very straightforward. From the trailhead we followed a creek northwesterly for a short period of time before heading towards an obvious opening in the ridge that we gained by ascending a moderately steep hill. From there it was a matter of “heading up”, as you simply follow the ridge to its highpoint which lies 4.8km away with the only difficulties coming from a few dense wooded areas and the strong wind gusts encountered in more open sections.
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We repeatedly connected with an obvious trail at points during our ascent which would suggest that any possible navigational challenges should vanish in the absence of snow. As seen in image #15, even the densest section of forest has a path cut clear through it although that may be more difficult to spot in the winter.