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Lightning Strike and Monk Peak

Lightning Strike and Monk Peak

Stagleap Provincial Park is renowned for backcountry skiing, but there is also a summer trail that dips along Lightning Strike. Ridgeline hiking is always a good choice, and this trail doesn’t disappoint with panoramic views of the mountains around Kootenay Pass.

SUMMARY

Trailhead: Bridal Lake, Stagleap Provincial Park

Distance, Round Trip: 9.4km (Lightning Strike), 12km (including Monk Peak)

Elevation: +393m (Lightning Strike), +759m (including Monk Peak)

Trailhead

Parking at the top of Kootenay Pass to access the backcountry is a real treat – no Forest Service Road, no waterbars, no washouts! Just highway driving!

Once you’ve parked beside Bridal Lake, you must (carefully) cross the highway and begin following the old gravel road leading south.

This road switchbacks for 2.3km, and then a signed post on the right marks the start of the trail.

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Signed post for the Lightning Strike/Ripple Ridge Trail

Lightning Strike and Ripple Ridge are used interchangeably to refer to this ridgeline which is confusing. The proper Ripple Mountain looms far in the distance and isn’t connected at all to the ridge.

Walking Lightning Strike

The trail lifts you out of the forest and onto an alpine ridge, smothered in dry meadow and pale bedrock. The views open up to low mountains on all sides.

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Trail along Lightning Strike Ridge

The big Bear Grass blooms had withered down into scratchy stalks, but it was a great time of year for huckleberry picking. As we walked along, Cornice Ridge became visible to the north with the highway winding far below.

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Hiking along Lightning Strike

After about 4.7km, Lightning Strike ridge comes to an end and the trail fizzles out above large bluffs. This is a great spot for a break and a nice turnaround point on a moderate hike.

However, we were out with the Kootenay Mountaineering Club and that meant we had a more lofty objective: Monk Peak.

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Looking across to Monk Peak

Ascending Monk Peak

We bushwhacked down a steep slope to reach the saddle beneath Monk Peak. Then we eyed up the summit and discussed the best approach. Straight up.

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Bear Grass Stalks in front of Monk Peak

About half-way up the ascent, we hit a massive field of boulders which slowed me down quite a bit. The boulders wrapped all the way up to the summit and required a lot of physical and mental energy.

Monk Peak Summit

The view from the summit was stellar, though windy and cold! We had a relatively clear day, but wildfire smoke was still bluing the distance peaks and making sun rays in the sky.

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Looking back towards Lightning Strike ridge
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Looking ahead along the ridgeline at Monk Peak

Little Monk Peak

After a quick rest, we headed down a different route towards “little Monk Peak”, a smaller summit at the base of Monk Peak.

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Heading down Monk Peak towards the Little Monk

I was a bit slow coming down the boulders on Monk Peak, so I missed the group that dashed up to the summit of the Little Monk. The rest of us hunkered down in the saddle and tried to have lunch out of the wind.

Heading Home

We hiked along the base of Monk Peak to bushwhack back over to Lightning Strike. This lead us through some interesting mounds of conglomerate rock.

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Heading back to Lightning Strike, beside conglomerate rock

And then back up to the trail on Lightning Strike! Trail hiking is so easy compared to bushwhacking and boulder hopping – we were home in good time!

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Tree Sculpture on top of Lightning Strike

Download GPS file for Lightning Strike/Monk Peak

LightningStrike

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