Pole Ridge

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve had my eye on this very high ridge for a while now.  As far as I know it doesn’t actually have a name so I’ll be calling it Pole Ridge from now on.  The old miner that I talked to on the trail yesterday told me about a road that might go up there, but he also said that it could be overgrown, so I headed up that way with the intention of finding a way to the top.

As usual, I drove up Milliken Road, but I found that they had closed the road for some work that they were doing.  I could only drive as far as the Stanleigh mine road, so I parked my truck there and walked the rest of the way up to the Lacnor mine entrance gate.  I’d walked in this way quite a few times before but I had never seen a way to get to the top of Pole Ridge.  I could see the lone telephone pole on top of the ridge, so I figured that there must be a road going up there.

This is the secondary road that I took yesterday.  Me and my brother had walked up this road before, for a short distance, and then turned back.  Yesterday, I went all the way in there where I met the old miner.  He told me not to turn here, but to go straight and stay to the left.  This is what I did.

Here’s a shot of the infamous pole on top of the ridge.  I know that it doesn’t look all the far up but, believe me, it is!  I’ve just zoomed in on it so that it could be seen more clearly.  You will see further on what I was up against, as far as height goes.

This might give it a bit more perspective but, like I’ve always said, pictures really never do justice to the reality.

Make no mistake, as an American president might say, this is a massive, very high ridge which looks almost impenetrable.  These pictures were all taken from the road that the miner told me to take.

If this looks rather daunting, I can tell you from personal experience, it’s even more so when you’re standing at the bottom looking up.  This ridge is 1500 ft. high (elev.)

Not only is it high but it’s also really long.  As I walked along the bottom, I looked for any place that I might be able to make a go at climbing up.  I came to a spot where it looked possible.

I know that it’s hard to get a proper perspective from a picture, but this section looked like it could be climbed, so I decided to give it a try.

I got about two-thirds of the way up to a ledge.  Looking down, I could see that there had been some type of construction on this part of the cliff.  There were steel anchors in the rock.  Unfortunately, from this point on, the cliff rose more steeply and the rock was loose under foot.

I’m well aware of my own capabilities and some words from very experienced outdoorsmen (Survivorman and Man vs. Wild) kept going through my head, as I clung to the side of the cliff.  “You sweat, you die”……”You sweat, you die”…….”You sweat, you die”……

I was definitely sweating and, after assessing my situation, I decided that trying to get any higher would be beyond my abilities as a climber.  Still, getting down from where I was is not going to be such an easy task either.

Looking down from my precarious perch on the cliff.  It might not look too bad but remember, I’m higher up than this picture shows and it’s a lot trickier than it looks.  However, I did make it back down without incident.

I started to walk further along this road and, as I did, I was in awe of the massiveness of this rock face.

Here’s a short video that might give you a better idea of what I was looking at;

The audio is a bit muffled because it was very windy out today and the music you hear is from a small music player I have in my pocket that I listen to when I’m hiking.

After I had failed on my attempt to summit Pole Ridge, I continued along the road to see where it went.  It seemed to move farther away from the ridge, so I couldn’t imagine that it would lead to the top at some point.  Eventually, it came to a lake.

And yes, that is the same ridge running along behind this lake, so if there is a road going up there, it must be a long way from where I am.

It was a very nice setting, although it did look like prime bear habitat, so I kept my eyes peeled just in case.

After consulting the map, it turned out that this was part of Dumbell Lake.

After spending some time at the lake, I decided to head back down the road.

Not being one to give up easily, I was scanning for some more possibilities for climbing attempts as I walked along the base of the ridge again.  I did come to an area that looked promising, although I couldn’t see all the way to the top because there were a lot of trees in the way.

It was like a boulder field on a steep angle and these rocks were all loose too, so footing was a bit precarious, however, I decided to give it a go.  Since I couldn’t see all the way to the top, I knew that it was possible that there was an insurmountable rise up there, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

KAHPLAH !!!!!

For those not well versed in Klingon vocabulary,KAHPLAH = Success!!!!

I made it up, but I was in the forest on top of the ridge, not yet at the rocky edge.  I had to bushwhack my way through the forest, since there were no trails up there, to find a lookout point.  I put a marker at the place where I had come up, so that I could find it when I wanted to get back down, and I made my way to the right of where I had reached the top.

Eventually, I found a place where I could get to the edge.

It was a bit on the hazy side, and this wasn’t one of the highest points on the ridge but I was able to look along the ridge from here to locate that lone pole, so I headed back into the bush with the intention of reaching that spot.

And here it is!!  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize at the time that I was shooting directly into the sun, which is very low in the sky at this time of year.  Since this whole ridge faces the sun, the pictures from up here did not turn out as well as I would have liked.  However, I was absolutely thrilled to have made it to the top, and I can now say, without a doubt, that there are no roads, or no trails of any kind that come up here, which made it even more thrilling for me.

The only way I can see them getting this stuff up here would have been by helicopter.  There is a sharp drop on both sides of this ridge and from the point where the pole is, I had a 360 degree view of all the surrounding area.  I did take a short video of the summit but there will be extensive noise in this video because the wind was just howling up there, in fact, I was more than a bit concerned about being blown right off this ridge.

Ok, ya, so the video wasn’t too bad, nowhere near what it was like actually being up there though.  It was an amazing experience that I won’t forget too soon.  Definitely the most exciting hike I’ve ever done.

Here’s a few more pictures from the top.  This is, without a doubt, the most incredible view I’ve ever seen, and now takes it’s place as the best lookout in the area that I’ve visited.

I can’t understand why they left this thing up here.  I mean, where are all the other poles that it was connected to?  Maybe it was just too difficult, or expensive, to remove it.

Going down.

The end of another great hike.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. It certainly brings back a lot of enjoyable memories for me. Thanks for an excellent and detailed blog.

    Reply

    • Thanks Peter; I’m still learning about this area and, in particular, about the mine sites. I really like the fact that there are no motorized vehicles allowed in these sites because not many people want to walk as far as I like to and I usually have the place to myself.

      Reply

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