KOKANEE PEAK 2790m 9154′
Southeast of Cond Peak, and north of Grays Peak.
1. East Slopes. Gain the Grays-Kokanee col. (The approach is given under Grays Peak. In early season, Kokanee Peak is easily climbed on snow from Grays Peak in fifty minutes).
Traverse the eastern rock slabs and snow slopes below the ridge to the steeper snow slopes (edge of Kokanee Glacier) east of the top, and ascend. The top is easily gained via Kokanee Glacier from The Keyhole, around Cond Peak, in the summer. (III,2,s).
2. South Ridge. The south ridge can be gained by climbing the west face on a sort of buttress to the right of the couloir (Class 4 at bottom, steep rubble, goat pastures in middle, blocky granite in upper section), and then up the south ridge (Class 5.0). (III,5.0,s). FRA Steve Horvath, 1975.
Descend directly from the Grays-Kokanee col to Gibson Lake with some bushwhacking. Descent from Cond Peak to the southwest and then west (between Cond and Kokanee; see Cond Peak) presents no problem, but cliffs are present directly below the alps below Kokanee Peak. One may traverse northwest along the alps above the cliffs to Route 2 of Cond Peak, but it is much longer.
KOKANEE PEAK 2790 m, 9153’, October 19
Taking advantage of the excellent late fall weather, Howie Ridge and I ventured to this local peak for some rock climbing. Starting from the Gibson Lake car park at 9:00 am, we followed the trail to its last switchback. From there, we made the usual approach toward Grays Pk., heading up a few hundred feet and then diagonalLing up and south toward the long southwest rib coming off Kokanee Pk. Along the way we explored the lower of the two tailing dumps of the Molly Gibson Mine.
Reaching our goal, a prominent grotty couloir on Kokanee’s SSW side (you know you’re in the right place when you can see a large yellow lichen stain high up on the right hand wall of the gully), we ascended it some 150’ before exiting left onto a paralleling rib. The bottom of this wide feature is somewhat shattered and broken, but the rock soon turns to very firm, lichened granite that is quite steep in places. Higher up, the rib narrows and the angle lessens as the ridge nears the base of the summit tower. In sum, the route offers pleasant, strenuous scrambling, with no need for the rope and ample hardware we had brought.
By 1:00, we were on the summit, which we found breezy and cool as the sky started to go overcast after a mostly-sunny morning. A check of the summit register revealed that there has been a total of six ascents (four of them this year, including ours) since my July 9, 1999 climb with Jim Kienholz and Eric Burton.
Descent was by the grotty couloir that we had started up. As this is a classic “shit gully,” care is needed. Re-tracing our steps at a leisurely pace to allow for sunbathing in the improving weather (this was October 19th!), we also explored the upper Molly Gibson tailing pile before descending to re-join the trail. Back at the truck by 5:00 for an eight-hour day, we were pleased with a fine outing in wonderful weather, a fairly ambitious undertaking for so late in the season.
We’ll grade it this way: Kokanee Pk. 2790 m. SSW rib Facile (I,3).