From the back of the hostel, we briefly followed some skier tracks, but we soon left them and broke our own trail to the north. We then dropped down slightly to cross a creek before climbing up the forested lower half of Hilda Ridge on the other side. Upon gaining the crest of the ridge, we were delighted to find some old tracks heading uphill. In retrospect, it might have been easier for us to backtrack from the hostel and gain the east end of Hilda Ridge from the highway, but our short cut was not terribly arduous.
We eventually climbed past the last trees and ventured a little further up the increasingly steep ridge. Concerns about the "Considerable" avalanche hazard for the weekend kept us off some enticing slopes to climber's left, but we still managed a few turns on the crest of the ridge. For the most part, we spent the rest of the day yo-yoing the open sections of the ridge below tree line which were much safer but still held plenty of fresh powder to play in.
I retired earlier than the others and made my own way down the east end of Hilda Ridge without too much difficulty. Upon reaching the highway, I simply followed it back to our entry point to Hilda Creek Hostel. The hostel was deserted when I arrived, and after changing into dry clothes and organizing my gear, I curled up with a good book to await the return of the others. Andrea, Peter, Mike and Zosia arrived a little later in good spirits, and we all sat down for some food and refreshments in the main cabin to round out another fun day of skiing.
|The group climbs up a broken trail just behind Hilda Creek Hostel.|
|Crossing Hilda Creek is a bit of a challenge.|
|The group gets their first glimpse of Hilda Peak from Hilda Ridge.|
|The trees begin to thin out higher up on Hilda Ridge.|
|Mike climbs past the last trees on the ridge.|
|Zosia would get as far as here before removing her climbing skins to ski back down.|
|Nigel Peak dominates the view to the north from Hilda Ridge.|
|This the view to the east from the highest point reached by Sonny on Hilda Ridge.|
|After going back up for another run, Peter has crashed in the snow below Mike.|
|Peter dusts himself off and carries on skiing.|
|Here is a last look at Hilda Peak and Hilda Ridge from the highway.|
|Hilda Creek Hostel is a cozy place to spend a winter night along the Icefields Parkway.|