Two O'Clock Ridge

Making the most of a good weather window during the long weekend, Ali Shariat, Zosia Zgolak and I ascended unofficially-named Two O'Clock Ridge in Alberta's Job/Cline Public Land Use Zone on 22 May 2021.  This strenuous hike is described in The David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide by Jane Ross and Daniel Kyba, but we drew most of our inspiration from Matthew Clay's 2017 trip report.

After camping the previous night at nearby Preachers Point, Zosia and I rendezvoused with Ali at the day use parking area of Two O'Clock Campground (along Highway 11, 29 kilometres east of Saskatchewan Crossing or 61 kilometres west of Nordegg).  A good trail starts behind the outhouse at the north end of the campground, and we followed it to an easy crossing of Two O'Clock Creek before climbing onto an open escarpment with far-reaching views across the valley.  Re-entering forest, we settled into a lengthy and strenuous grind up the ridge.  Though generally easy to follow, the trail is also brutally steep in places, and we had to take extra care with our footing in a few muddy spots.  We also encountered some lingering snow patches higher up, but fortunately, any post-holing we did was short-lived.  We eventually broke out of the trees for good at an elevation of around 2250 meters, and from there, the remaining climb to the high point was uncomplicated and much more enjoyable.  We went a little further past the large cairn on the high point before stopping for a well-deserved break.

Had we planned to stay in the area for another day, Ali, Zosia and I might have considered extending our hike to include Two O'Clock Peak, but knowing we had a long drive ahead of us, we were content with just tagging Two O'Clock Ridge and turning around.  On our way down, we made one route-finding error which necessitated a short but ugly traverse to get back on track, but otherwise, the rest of our descent back along the same trail was uneventful.
Yep, we're gonna go up there!

Ali and Zosia point at Two O'Clock Ridge from its namesake campground,

And it's not the distant mountains! On an open escarpment, something catches the eyes of Ali and Zosia.
Whaddya want? A hoary marmot seems genuinely curious about hikers strolling by atop the escarpment.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Why you here? This sheep on the ridge is alerted to the presence of hikers coming up the trail.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Are we there yet? This open section grants a view of the upper part of Two O'Clock Ridge.

Another 45 minutes.

From this point, there is about another 250 metres of elevation gain left.


Easy street.

Despite the presence of snow patches on the ridge, the remaining hike to the high point is straightforward.

Lotsa interesting mountains to explore here! Notable peaks to the south include Siffleur Mountain (centre), Mount Loudon (right), and Mount Peskett (dark triangle immediately right of Mount Loudon).  The ridge in the foreground is unofficially known as Tuff Puff.
Might give this one a go in the near future...

The high point of unofficially-named Whirlpool Ridge sits to the southwest.

May be worth returning for these two when there is less snow.

To the west are the unofficially-named summits of Two O'Clock Peak (left of centre) and Landslide Peak (right).  Visible through the gap between the two are Whitegoat Peaks.


The best view of the day is to the north of Elliott Peak (right) and some colourful bands of rock on the intervening ridge.


More peaks on my to-do list...sigh. Though a bit hard to discern from this angle, the five peaks of Ex Coelis Mountain are all visible at centre to the southeast.
Squeak! This golden-mantled ground squirrel lives among the rocks near the high point of Two O'Clock Ridge.
Good enough for today! Ali, Zosia and Sonny stand on the high point of Two O'Clock Ridge (2503 metres).

It's all downhill from here!

Zosia and Ali descend Two O'Clock Ridge.  On the horizon right of centre is Mount William Booth.


Sigh...never fails! After taking a wrong turn while descending the ridge, Ali and Sonny have to endure a bit of a thrash to get back on track.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

What a grunt, but it's worth it on a clear day! Total Distance:  12.4 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 36 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  1166 metres

GPX Data