The weather was quite warm at the arrival to the trailhead, us being the only car in the parking lot. As most of the elevation would be done before lunch, we were comfortable with the projected 29C high temperature for the day. There was essentially no snow on the ridges or in the Whaleback/Bob Creek Wildland Area.
Our first obstacle was to cross Bob Creek which was running quite high. we found our way through soggy ground which water was flowing over to a place with a small island and a log jam to cross at the main part of the stream. From here we negotiated our way to the base of the Beaverdam Ridge.
Starting up Beaverdam Ridge
The ridge is quite open with great views
Bob Creek Valley in distance and crocuses in bloom on ridge
and fairly open terrain to the summit.
Heading up Beaverdam Ridge with view of the mountains to the west
We stopped occasionally to rest and take them in.
On the summit of Beaverdam Ridge
Shortly after the summit the trees closed in going down the northeast ridge to the valley/pass between Beaverdam Ridge and the Whaleback Ridge. Fortunately there was a good trail all of the way down. At the pass the ground was very soggy and one of our group lost a pole basket sucked into the muddy abyss. For a while we watched a red hawk climb on the thermals. We decided to climb most of the elevation to the Whaleback Ridge before stopping for lunch. Around 12:30 we found a large tree with substantial shade to have a leisurely lunch under.
Just above our lunch spot on Whaleback Ridge
we climbed the remainder of the elevation to the crest. It was quite narrow with trees mostly along the ridge crest. Limited occasional views and what appeared to be an electric fence with occasional sections of barbed wire fence were along the ridge crest. There was a very rough trail mostly following the electric fence, likely to service it - and not very enjoyable. We continued along the ridge for between 1-2km. At a viewpoint, we could see an extended section of the ridge which appeared to be forest covered with trees extending to the valley. At this particular location there seemed to be a fairly open bailout ridge that was accessible. After discussion, and due to the fact the ridge walk was not particularly exciting with limited views and it was quite hot, we opted to give this route a try.
Heading down from Whaleback Ridge
It proved to be a good decision as there was an easy route to the open ridge and this took us right to the valley below.
We followed cattle trails continuing down to the main valley. Here we discovered what appeared to be a large trappers cabin (not occupied) and of fairly recent construction. There was an electric fence around it in the woods with a non-electrified rope gate to allow their ATV in. After checking this out we continued down the valley on a good vehicle track where we encountered a small pond and further on a little creek with croaking frogs. Some went over to investigate but couldn't see them. Three of the group tried a different log crossing of Bob Creek which although at a deeper section appeared to be doable as they were successful in negotiating it. We arrived back at the vehicle around 4:00pm. In viewing the Whaleback Ridge, from the valley there appeared, there was one further open section that extended to the valley bottom much further along from the point where we had bailed off.
Thanks to participants: Jane,Andrew and Laura for good conversation and, as is always necessary for an exploratory trip, willing to be flexible to change our proposed route due to unexpected terrain and temperature. A big welcome to trial members Andrew and Laura Lee who had not been to the Whaleback before and seemed to enjoy this scenic area.We hope to see them on further Ramblers trips.
I had traversed a section of the Whaleback Ridge back in the 1980's but had remembered it as being wider and with more meadows along the route. I am not sure if this section was part of that trip. In summary, Beaverdam Ridge is an excellent hike with views but the Whaleback Ridge South (at least the section we did) is not worth a hike. This is likely why it is not included in Mike Potter's book Ridgewalks in the Canadian Rockies.
Thanks to Jane for providing additional photos of the trip.