Ibex Ridge


Distance: 9 km
Elevation Gain: 1053 m (3455 ft)
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Difficult
Region: Whitehorse
Date Added: June 3, 2018
Last Update: June 3, 2018




This is a challenging hike in the Ibex Valley up to a ridge with dramatic cliff faces and spectacular views of the sinuous Ibex River and impressive north face of Mount Ingram. This route is especially beautiful in the fall.


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Driving Directions

From Whitehorse drive north on the Alaska Highway. Approximately 11 km past the North Klondike Highway junction look for a sign for the Old Alaska Highway (Mile 929-934) on the left. This will be the second entrance to the Old Alaska Highway (Mile 929-934). Follow this road for 2.3 km and take a right on Scout Lake Road (a less maintained road). You will follow the Scout Lake Road for a total of 10.3 km.

Note watching your odometer and having a GPS are very useful as this area has many side roads and trails off the main road. For example, you will pass a road down to Scout Lake at km 3.7 of the Scout Lake Road (on the left) and another road down to Cub Lake at km 5.7 (on the left), just keep to the main road. At km 10.3, you will take a right onto the Ibex Valley Road (which heads west). You only need to follow this road for just under a kilometer until you reach a small pullout adjacent to another smaller ATV trail that heads to the right. This is the trailhead.

There are a few places where the Scout Lake Road is quite rocky, so a vehicle with good clearance is recommended. The road can also get quite rutted and slick with mud and large puddles after a rain or in the early spring with snow melt.




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Trail Description

This mountain is unnamed so we are referring to it as Ibex Ridge due to its location over the Ibex Valley. This is not Ibex Mountain, which is located 25 km to the south within the headwaters of the Ibex River.

From the parking area leave the main road and follow the less-travelled ATV trail that forks to the right (north). After 840 m you will need to leave the trail for the forest on your left (due north). This is the shortest distance through the trees (only 30 m) to the base of the ridge where you will start to hike up the mountain. You should be below a point on the ridge where it is relatively open grass with mostly deciduous trees (aspen and willow). You should also see a rocky gully higher on the ridge, slightly to the left. The rest of the route requires route finding and steep hiking to the top of the ridge, and then it is a pleasant and easy hike along the ridge once in the alpine.

Pick your way up the ridge, angling slightly northwest (left), make sure to cross well below the gully mentioned above. There will be some bushwhacking along the way, but if you keep heading gradually uphill to the northwest (left) you should avoid most of the dense trees. You should be angling up towards the base of a large rocky outcrop (about 400 m up in elevation). Stay to the right of the rocky outcrop and head directly uphill (north). Shortly you should be at the top of the ridge.

It becomes a lot easier route finding now, as you are mostly out of the trees. Keep hiking along the ridge until you reach the alpine. Now the views become even more dramatic down the rocky south face of the mountain and across the Ibex River Valley over to Mount Ingram. You will want to go higher and higher as each new viewpoint offers another spectacular rock face and evermore views down the Ibex River Valley. Watch for Dall sheep in the area and keep any dogs under control. The ridge continues for many kilometers, but the route described here to the 'Ridge Viewpoint' provides a good amount of hiking with rewarding views. The viewpoint is 2.4 km short of the main mountain summit, which requires a 100 m descent and then a further ascent up to the summit. We recommend that you take the same route back regardless of how far you go on the ridge.

NOTE: There is another route described in the 'Whitehorse & Area Hikes & Bikes' book (Yukon Conservation Society 2005), which follows an ATV trail from the highway a lot of the way. Their route for 'Ibex Area Mountain' is a lot less steep, but much longer (26 km return) and you spend most of the time in the forest. They recommend it using mountain bike access. This route can also be very boggy with additional bushwhacking through shrubs near the upper part of the hike. If you want to research this route as an alternative option please check out the 'Hikes & Bikes' book.

Elevations

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Kate
June 21, 2018

Holy moly, what a hike! "Difficult" was apt. The hike was challenging - it is steep and goes up pretty much relentlessly. The route finding is an added element of challenge. If you are travelling without GPS, it is pretty important to have a good sense of where you are headed, as it can be hard to keep track of your landmarks once you are in the trees. It also feels like the trees will never end.

We nearly called it quits a couple of times, but ended up so glad we didn't. The view from the top is phenomenal and the various faces of the mountain itself are really cool. We saw sheep and looked down at many soaring eagles.

It is important to take the descent slowly - the slope is steep and the ground can be unstable. Because of the bushwacking element, it took us longer than we would typically expect.

We didn't start with fresh legs and took our time with lots of breaks and time to explore at the top. All in, we were out on the mountain for about 6 hours.

Driving and trail instructions are accurate - we had no difficulty following them.