Ridgetop (or Ridge Crest)

Raven Eye Photography

A skier walks up along a ridgetop. She will have to be cautious to avoid getting close to the cornices, which can be a major hazard when they break.

Snowmobilers travelling safely on a wide ridge.

Ridgecrest and ridgetop are terms used interchangeably to describe terrain at or near the top of a ridge. Ridgetop terrain is significant for a number of reasons:

  • Ridges often exist as a boundary between windward and leeward slopes.
  • Ridges often exist as a safe spot in avalanche terrain, reducing or eliminating exposure to hazards from overhead or adjacent slopes.
  • Ridges often offer a more efficient and lower-angle route to higher elevation when compared to gullies or draws.
  • Ridges offer better sightlines on surrounding terrain than do gullies or draws.
  • Cornices are most commonly formed along ridgetops.