Sparkle Lake Ridge
After spending a second night camping at
Fish Lake in British Columbia's Top of the World Provincial Park, Shaun
Luong, Zosia Zgolak and I got up before sunrise on the morning of 6
September 2020 with intentions of climbing Mount Dingley which sits along
the southwest border of the park. Much like with
Mount Morro, we had
very little route information other than knowing that the late Rick
Collier considered Mount Dingley to be an easy to moderate scramble.
From studying topographical maps, I made the assumption that Collier
approached the peak via the trail to Sparkle Lake, and we all agreed to
give this route a try. Knowing that the weather was going to change
for the worse that evening, we also made plans to hike out of the park at
the end of the day. Therefore, we packed up our tent and camping
gear and left them in the campground's food storage lockers prior to
starting our hike.
Crossing the bridge over the outlet stream for Fish Lake at the west end
of the campground, Shaun, Zosia and I hiked the signed and
well-maintained trail to Sparkle Lake which climbs 350 metres over a
distance of 2.8 kilometres according to the park's
trail description. It took us about 75 minutes to reach Sparkle
Lake, and from there, we scrambled up the ridge to the east of the lake.
The initial section is a bit bushy and steep, but once we gained the
ridge crest, we settled into a more relaxed and pleasant ascent. We
eventually climbed high enough up this ridge to get a good look at Mount
Dingley further south, and what we saw did not look promising. From
a distance, most of the northeast aspect of the mountain appeared to be
guarded by cliffs or challenging terrain. My assumption about
Collier's approach was likely wrong, and given our limited time and
motivation, we decided to pull the plug on our attempt of Mount Dingley.
As a consolation, we carried on up the ridge to its highest point south
of Sparkle Lake. This entailed some easy scrambling over a couple
of false summits, but we encountered no serious difficulties.
The highest point of the ridge is in itself a wonderfully scenic perch,
and though it is officially unnamed, we chose to call it Sparkle Lake
Ridge. Shaun, Zosia and I took a 50-minute break here before
retracing most of our route back down to Sparkle Lake. We took a
shorter break there before fighting our way past a host of hikers,
children and dogs on the trail to get back to Fish Lake. Upon
returning to the campground, we took an extended break to load up our
camping gear and soak our feet in Fish Lake one last time. The hike
back to the trailhead felt a bit monotonous but went without a hitch.
The subsequent drive back to the highway was long, bumpy and
dusty--definitely something to look forward to the next time I come back
to Top of the World Provincial Park!
||Shaun and Zosia cross the outlet
stream for Fish Lake on a rather narrow bridge.
As Zosia and Shaun hike the trail to Sparkle Lake, the ridge through the
gap would become their eventual destination.
An unnamed outlier of Mount Dingley is reflected in Sparkle Lake.
||Shaun scrambles up a ridge to the east
of Sparkle Lake.
Shaun and Zosia hike past some tilted slabs.
Zosia follows Shaun up a seemingly daunting rock wall.
Zosia reaches the first of two false summits along the ridge above Sparkle Lake
(bottom left). Despite the presence of wildfire smoke, Mount Doolan
(left of centre) and Fish Lake (bottom far right) are still visible.
From the first high point, the remainder of the ridge
above Sparkle Lake can be seen rising to the right. At left is the
highest summit of Mount Dingley.