Bedson Ridge is a traditional limestone climbing areas located approximately 50 kilometres east of Jasper Alberta. It is located across the Athabasca River from the Pocahontas Warden Station. The climate in this area is very arid as it is located in the rain shadow of the Rockies Mountains. Often it will be snowing/raining 10 kilometres to the east and 10 kilometres to the west, but not here. The rock faces south and therefore can be climbed early and later in the season (April to Oct).
The climbing here is multi-pitch (4 to 11 pitches) and is generally a bit runout (common to limestone climbing) but not sustained – some of the more popular routes have fixed anchors (bolts or pitons) at the stations, while many others only have the odd fixed piece here and there. Be prepared (and able) to construct your own anchors! On existing routes, pitons may be brought along but are not always necessary. If putting up new routes in the area, pitons and a bolt kit are highly recommended.
Access here has always been one of the main challenges because Bedson’s Ridge is not easily accessible; on the positive side, it’s never crowded. To get to Bedsons Ridge, one must first go to the hamlet of Brule (located near Hinton, Alberta). When driving into Brule, continue to drive on the main road through Brule – just on the other side of Brule, the road will turn to gravel. Follow this gravel road west from Brule for approximately 30 minutes to the end of the road – you are now at Ogre Canyon. Park you vehicle here, and the walking begins. Follow an ATV trail down across the creek bed – you want to follow the trail that trends downhill. In about 10 minutes you will arrive at the railway tracks. If somehow you take the wrong trail, don’t worry – at any point you can walk downhill and you will hit the tracks.
Now the fun begins – walking the tracks (they are never spaced right for your stride are they?). Walk west, keeping an ear and eye out for trains, until you hit a tunnel. Whatever you do, don’t take the tunnel (as tempting as it might seem, it's very illegal and dangerous) – the tunnel is long, dark, and narrow, and this track is very active. A rough trail on the right side (uphill side) of the tracks leads up and over the tunnel. Once you’ve reached the highest point, gradually traverse the slope down until you pick up the tracks again. From here continue walking until you see the cliffs on your right hand side.
B-Major - the largest of the Bedson Ridge cliffs
There are two major cliff formations – broken by a large gully/valley. The first cliff is called B-Minor. To get there, cross a small creek and follow the sidehill to the open slopes leading up to B-minor climbs. The second cliff system (by far the largest of the two) is called B-Major. For access to B-major follow the tracks for another 5 minutes and then traverse a small knoll surrounded by a shallow lake and swamp to reach the slopes below B-major climbs.
From Jasper it takes approximately 2 hours to get to the parking spot at Ogre Canyon and allow for another two hours of walking.
There are no permits required for climbing at Bedson Ridge. No ATVs are allowed past the Ogre Canyon Parking lot.
The nearest campground with services would be in Hinton. There are other campgrounds in the general Hinton/Jasper area.
There are currently five routes that have topos created for them and are available. There are other routes that have not been officially recorded. There is room for many more routes and some route development continues.
Topos for the 5 of the climbs at Bedson Ridge were done by Matt Reynolds are available at the following link: Bedson Ridge Topos
All the routes can be walked off.
For B-Minor - Traverse until steep scree can be descended to the slabby ridge. Follow the ridge down, eventually traversing back on to the slopes at the base of the cliffs.
For B-Major - Traverse until you gain the main ridgeline. Follow the steep trees and wavy slabs to the bottom.