Rambling Around Mount Rykert
Prior to my KMC trip on Saturday, May 30, I got as many conditions reports as I could, none of which, said much of the same thing. Two people reported sloppy snow and arduous conditions locally, but a bit further afield, near Creston, Kratky-san reported reasonable snow travel and roads clear to relatively high elevations (for May). So, looking for a peak I hadn’t done further east, I eventually settled on Mount Rykert, which is just north of the US border and just west of Creston.
BC Basemap shows roads out of Dodge Creek climbing to over 1700 metres, and, given that the peak is only 1827 metres, it appeared at first, as if it might be a short day. But, we were stopped by snow near 1440 metres, just 1 kilometre up the Urmston FSR (leaves Dodge Creek FSR at 11.5 km), so our day was longer than I had initially thought.
Mount Rykert has three small peaks that run north-south. We decided to do a circuit tour, hiking first to the summit of the highest peak – the most southerly one, then continuing on over the middle peak to the lowest (named) and most northerly summit. Getting up the most southerly peak (1859 metres) was very easy as a skid road leads all the way to the top. We hit continuous snow at about 1760 metres, but the snow was firm and provided easy travel.
After lunch on top, where we had surprisingly nice views to the west, we continued north and easily hiked up the middle peak (1858 metres). Along the way we encountered the largest bear tracks I’ve ever seen. Not only were they large, but they were numerous, bear tracks were criss-crossing the entire ridge line, and, judging by the sharpness of some of the tracks, they were very recent.
Walking to the most southerly peak (1827 metres) I was yodelling “yo bear” quite continuously. After a while, the silence behind me began to seem quite ominous – were my companions still there or had they been eaten? Somewhat hesitantly I turned around, half expecting to see the biggest bear imaginable behind me, but no, it was just Mary being very quiet.
The northern most peak sported a very large cairn and a wonderful view of the Creston valley. We whiled away an hour, before starting back. We retraced our steps to the col between the north and middle peaks and then started descending slightly/contouring to the southeast trying to hit one of the skid roads on the map. After perhaps 30 minutes of bushwhacking – fairly light – we popped out on a prominent skid road. We followed this first to the north – quite counter intuitive – then to the south and through a broad pass and finally back to the road we had parked on. We rounded out the