GOLD RANGE – Access & Approaches

The entire Monashee Range was once called the Gold Range, but the name is now limited to the mountains just west of the Columbia River and Upper Arrow Lake, south of the TransCanada Highway (Eagle Pass) and north of the Whatshan Range.

The highest summit of the Gold Range, Mount Odin (2970m), is visible from Highway 23 north of Nakusp, much to the south of the ferry. In the highest uplift of the group, four large ridges, or spurs, branch east from the watershed, a geological structure typical of the Monashees. These are the ridge of Hughes Peak, the ridge east of Gates Peak, the Thor-Niflheim massif (Stegosaurus Ridge), and to the south the Odin-Grady-Burnham ridge. The ThorNiflheim ridge is spectacular.

South of the uplift, the mountains are lower, less alpine in character. Blanket Mtn., Cranberry Mtn. and Mount Odin support large icefields and glaciers. Approaches below treeline are difficult because of the jungle of undergrowth. Topographical Survey parties were active here in 1911, in 1925, 1928, and in the late 1950s under Bryan Boyd. Geological parties under A.G. Jones examined its entire length from 1948 to 1951, and D. B. Craig went from Blanket Mountain to Mount Tilley for geological studies in 1960/1961. 

When on the Galena Bay-Shelter Bay ferry, Hughes Peak appears to the north, right, and then the large massif of Mount Thor (east end of Stegosaurus Ridge) which appears pointed, but it is really the ridge seen edge-on, 2500 meters (8200 feet) above the lake. The large ridge of Mount Burnham appears as a salient to the left, south.  The second highest summit, Mount Thor, is one of the most spectacular.

CAMPGROUNDS
Tangier River F.S. campground. About half way between Glacier (Rogers Pass) and Revelstoke (about 33 km; in Selkirks) on the north side of the highway, very near the bridge.
Martha Creek Provincial campground. About 18 km (11 miles) north of Revelstoke from the Trans-Canada Highway on Highway 23 (east side of river; Selkirk side).
Blanket Creek Provincial campground. On Highway 23 south of Revelstoke (west side of river; Gold Range side), 24 km (15 miles) south of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Frog Falls campground. Consult Mt. English, Route 2.

WILDERNESS CAMPSITES in the SOUTH GOLD RANGE  
Avalanche Lake – north of the Gates Peaks (167-144). Small lake just south of Avalanche Lake – good campsite for Gates Peaks (165-134). West side of watershed. A pass exists southwest of the lake to the east side of the Gates Ridge. There has been a primitive trail from Pingston Lake to a pass north of the lake.

High lake under Gates Peaks, below glacier – open going from Loony Leon Lake. (170-115) On west side of divide, just south of Gates Pk. between two large lakes. (162-083). KMC climbing camp, 2006

Loony Leon Lake – head of north fork of Thor Creek, near Gates Peaks

The Rock Garden – head of the south fork, Thor Creek, (and Niflheim Cirque) trail (189-079)

Niflheim Cirque – north of Stegosaurus Ridge, very good; mosquitos

South side of Stegosaurus Ridge – very high, southeast of Mount Niflheim (205-045) in an old goat wallow, reached by helicopter (marginal). See Un. 2670m

Mooncastle Lake – south of Frigg Tower, beautiful. See before Mt. Odin, also Mt. Odin, Frigg Tower, Hugin, Munin

Small Lake East of Mount Burnham – (265-988)

Lakes West of Mounts Burnham and Grady – between the two Shark’s Teeth ridges (KMC climbing camp)

Ten Cent Lakes – Odin Creek headwall. High camp (north) for KMC climbing camp, 1973. (173-036)

Top of Odin Creek headwall – KMC climbing camp (by helicopter), approx. 6400 feet.

ACCESS to the GOLD RANGE
There is easy access to the east side of the Gold Range from Highway 23, starting on the west side of the Columbia River at Revelstoke and reaching 50 km (31 miles) to the ferry slip at Shelter Bay to the south.

To Coursier Lake
Drive: 
From Revelstoke, Hwy 23 goes south down the west side of the Columbia River to the Shelter Bay Ferry 50km (31mi). Ferry goes to Galena Bay 6am to 2am. 
48.6km 30.2mi Turn west on a logging road that accesses the road systems on the west side of Upper Arrow Lake.
From Shelter Bay Ferry. Drive 1.4km north and turn left (west).
0.0 Start on road that terminates at Coursier Lake – Dry Creek Road.  
2.4km 1.5mi Turn right (north) on Dry Creek Rd, 90 degrees from Shelter Bay FSR, the main road that goes south down the west side of Arrow Lake. 
4.5km 2.8mi Go left on Dry Ck Rd, go left of shacks. Stay on this main road. 
8.8km 5.5mi Go straight. (left goes up Longsworth Road for Odin Creek)
13.0km 8.1mi Go left (south) for Coursier Lake. (right connects to Cranberry FSR)
14.2km 8.8mi Go straight on main road.
19.0km 11.8mi Go right (left connects to Killeen Rd off Longsworth Road for Odin Creek; washed out? Note this possible alternate.)
19.5km 12.1mi Go straight on main road  (left for Thor Creek; washed out)
25.6km 15.9mi Continue straight to Coursier Lake. (Left (west) goes to Pingston Lake via Branch 58 and TH to Pingston Lake Trail)
28.3km 17.6mi Coursier Lake

Map 82L/9 Gates Creek.
Pingston Lake Trail. 5kms, easy 2 hours return hike. Part of a popular ATV and snowmobile area. Pingston Lake is a pretty mountain lake.
Route to Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake lies in a high valley southeast of Cranberry Mountain.
From a camp near the end of the logging road to Pingston Lake (water), walk up the road and then trail to Pingston Lake. Continue on a game trail 100 meters, then turn sharply right up the hillside; the beginning of the trail is not well marked. Traverse at the 30 meter level above the north side of Pingston Lake to the base of a cascade at a wooded headwall, then cross the stream; the trail is beside the stream.
Above, on level ground, keep to the south side of the valley. As the valley narrows the trail is at the water’s edge (rough, alder and rock) until the bottom of the cirque. In the cirque, climb up and right partly on snow to the east end of Avalanche Valley. Camp at Avalanche Lake (1920m) after about 5 hours with heavy packs.
The trail is now badly washed out above the headwall as of 2001, by an avalanche and then a flood.

To Odin Creek (at first, same as for Coursier Lake)
5.5mi 8.8km Go left (A ramp for logging trucks has intersected a switchback farther on this road. In this case, switchback normally, i.e., take lower left fork.)
11.1mi 17.9km Go left
12.1mi 19.5km New road to Pingston Lake, go right (sign).
12.2mi 19.6km Cross Pingston Creek bridge. At 80m, right to Thor Creek.
14.7mi 23.7km Odin Creek (bridge washed out, 2010). In 2015, the bridge may have been repaired. Spur up Odin Creek (north side).
16.0mi 25.7km (stay on lower road) beginning of bushwhack to Mooncastle Lake, north of Frigg Creek. Pingston Creek now has a dam and a hydroelectric plant, and a lake has formed. A road went along the east side of Pingston Creek, starting at the bridge, with a connection to Odin Creek (2015; condition?)
Eighty meters beyond the Pingston Creek bridge, a right turn takes one to the logging road up the south side of Thor Creek (high clearance vehicles) which has been logged and is in a state of devastation.
Route: From the end of the road, hike the low “road”, fight through the slash and pick up a marked trail on the north side of South Thor Creek (the main branch of Thor Creek; difficult to cross) to approach the north side of Stegosaurus Ridge, Kelly Peak (farther) and ThreeIsland Lake.
The Rock Garden campsite lies at a bend in the valley 
(189-079), six hours backpacking ; Kelly Peak to the left (south) and the valley with ThreeIsland Lake (175-090) to the right (N, bad bushwhacking at first).
There are two roads up the south side (2015). A trail has been cut through the left side of the slide alder blocking the way to Three Island Lake, but this trail is certainly overgrown. Gates Peak is beyond the lake. This patch of slide alder, close to the Rock Garden, is a somewhat formidable obstacle.
Three kilometres (1.9 miles) up the logging road from the Pingston Creek bridge, a road descends right to the bridge across Thor Creek (trail on north side to Loony Leon Lake and the Gates massif).

Access to Odin Creek Area. Take the main (left) road 80 meters beyond the Pingston Creek bridge to reach Odin Creek (high clearance, 4WD). 
Go right turn after the bridge to trails on Thor Creek and the south fork of Thor Creek (Niflheim Cirque).
Odin Creek Trail. On the north bank of Odin Creek, follow a road and trail (tape) up the creek to rock bluffs which tend to block the canyon. The trail will probably be overgrown.

Escarpment Trail
High above the north side of Odin Creek, the edge of the cliff is bare of soil and vegetation for more than a kilometre, and the scenery is magnificent. It is a hiking route, and also gives access to Mount Thor, Route 1.
In 1985, Leon Blumer and the author descended the Escarpment after climbing Mount Thor. We approached approximately where the trail was later cut and were not the first to be there. The trail was cut by Leon Blumer and friends in 1993, but now is certainly overgrown.
TH – upper left of a big clearcut 1.6–2.0 km north of Odin Creek and 12.5 km south of the Pingston Creek bridge. Orange tape markers (and later blazes) start a bit left of centre. 
Route: The trail goes left, first below cliffs and then at the top of the clearcut on an old skid road, into the trees and then willows. Higher, a traverse up and left on a rock band free of trees has fine views and reaches the edge of the escarpment at about 1830m (6000 feet). The unmarked pathway on the escarpment begins a little above this point. At two or three places, the escarpment is cut by small joints or faults. Bushwhack in and out of these and regain the edge.
If a two-day backpacking trip is desired, camp near tree line below the east glacier. It is probably best to cross the meadows well below the glacier to avoid a short overhanging step in the southeast ridge. While climbable, the step would be very trying with a pack. Pass over the col in the northeast ridge (a little glacier travel) and descend into the cirque north of Stegosaurus Ridge (Niflheim Cirque) going down next to a waterfall, or one half km north of the fall, to the flat meadows at 1740 meters.
Take the trail out of the cirque, on the east side of the stream, and descend to the trail on the N side of South Thor Creek, and to the road on the S side of Thor Creek (Killeen Road).
It is best to carry a rope, an ice ax, a few long slings (for trees) and a little protection in case parts of the descent into the Niflheim Cirque become a bit technical, especially with heavy packs, and for the glacier.

Access to Niflheim Cirque (Thor-Niflheim Cirque), North Side of Stegosaurus Ridge
As described above, take a right turn just beyond the Pingston Creek bridge, drive to the end of the road (high clearance) and backpack up marked trail on the north side of South Thor Creek (the main branch of Thor Creek; difficult to cross).
Cross South Thor Creek again on a log jam at the lower end of the lake. (Trail from road recut, 2015.)d Backpack up and slightly left through light (i.e., not seriously difficult) bush to contact orange tape markers. Soon after climbing an easy rock outcrop, the markers trend up and right, generally, toward the stream flowing from the Niflheim Cirque in light to medium bush. When a small cliff is seen, the markers lead around its base and the base of a bear den moraine with gigantic boulders. Continue with the markers, well above the stream and sometimes on steep hillside, to the gateway to the cirque, about 6 hours from the end of the road. Bring mosquito repellent. (This trail was recut in 2006.)
Late in the season, parties have traversed the lake shore to the waterfall coming from the cirque, and gone up the west side of the creek.
From the road, an undrivable logging road provides access to Mount Thor, Route 1. Ascend into the big clear cut above, climb to its upper right hand corner and traverse up and right into the bush. This reaches a large sickle-shaped rock slide that leads to the alpine zone. The approach is modern, better than the original or the Jones approach. The climb can be done in one long day.

Access to the Western Glaciers of the Thor-Niflheim Cirque and the North Ridge of Niflheim
When in the cirque, it is not necessary to bushwhack to reach Ring Glacier under Mount Sigurd and Brynhild Peak and the northeast glacier of Niflheim, or the north ridge of Niflheim, nor is it necessary to climb the smooth bluffs. Instead, hike south up the valley in the Thor-Niflheim (Niflheim) Cirque (See ‘Access to Niflheim Cirque’ in the Introduction to the Gold Range.), bear right and enter the avalanche chute that receives icefall from the ice cliff. The ice cliff is not highly active, and the right side (true left side) receives less than its share of the falls. One can use the side of the chute part way. About 200 meters downslope from the final dead end ice and rock cliffs, turn up and right on an easy, very large ledge system out of the chute, and cross the streams that cascade down the bluffs on a wide, nearly level bench. Above the bluffs lie heather and snow. Crampons are useful. The trail cutting to the cirque, and the trail up South Thor Creek, were done by Leon Blumer and friends. 

Approach to Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake lies in a high valley southeast of Cranberry Mountain.
From a camp near the end of the logging road to Pingston Lake (water), walk up the road and then trail to Pingston Lake. Continue on a game trail 100 meters, then turn sharply right up the hillside; the beginning of the trail is not well marked. Traverse at the 30 meter level above the north side of Pingston Lake to the base of a cascade at a wooded headwall, then cross the stream; the trail is beside the stream.
Above, on level ground, keep to the south side of the valley. As the valley narrows the trail is at the water’s edge (rough, alder and rock) until the bottom of the cirque. In the cirque, climb up and right partly on snow to the east end of Avalanche Valley. Camp at Avalanche Lake (1920m) after about 5 hours with heavy packs.
The trail is now badly washed out above the headwall as of 2001, by an avalanche and then a flood.

Access to the Gates Massif
Leon Blumer and Dan Robertson have cut a trail up the north side of Thor Creek (now overgrown) to a point about one km beyond the confluence of the north and south forks of Thor Creek, on the north fork of Thor Creek.
Three km (1.9 miles) up the road from the Pingston Creek bridge, a road descends right to the bridge across Thor Creek (trail on north side to Loony Leon Lake and the Gates massif). Backpacking up the north side of the north fork of Thor Creek reaches the north side of the Gates massif.
Bushwhack up the headwall below the large lower lake (Loony Leon Lake) and pass around its north side. More open terrain leads to a good campsite near the upper lake below the glacier, about 9 hours from the road.
The route via the trail to Avalanche Lake is better for the north summit of Gates (which see). If the trail through the alder north of the Rock Garden is open, one can backpack to Three Island Lake and go through the pass west of Three Island Lake to camp at the lakes west of the divide, south of Gates Peak.

To Mooncastle Lake is a tedious, serious bushwhack on the north side of Frigg Creek  Logging roads now shorten this bushwhack.
To reach Mooncastle Lake on foot, one must be on the west side of Pingston Creek. To reach the west side, one must cross Odin Creek (bridge ?), and then attain the north side of Frigg Creek. The KMC climbing camp of 2003 was at 204-990, south of Mount Odin.
The Odin Creek headwall camp of 1975 was below Odin Glacier, northwest of Mt. Odin.) Mosquitos! Gain Frigg Glacier by the col northeast of camp and east-southeast of Mount Odin at 214-997. The helicopter takeoff point was on the North Fosthall Creek Forest Service Road, above Margie Creek, map 82L/8 Mount Fosthall at 195-894.

To Peters Lake (Monashee Provincial Park) and Greenbush Lake
The road north from Cherryville (on Highway 6 east of Vernon) crosses to the west side of Sugar Lake and Shuswap River at the lower end of the lake, and recrosses the Shuswap River to the east side on a bridge north of Spectrum Creek, to return south to Spectrum Creek. Continue north on the main road on the west side to reach Greenbush Lake.
The road to Greenbush Lake has at least one four wheel drive section.
Consult also Tsuius Mountain (in Isolated Peaks, Western Monashee; B.C. Provincial maps, Sugar Lake and Revelstoke) and Armstrong Peak (below).
Drive up Spectrum (Rainbow) Creek from the Shuswap River. The trail leads to Spectrum (Rainbow) Lake. The next stretch is very steep, ascending 760 meters by a series of switchbacks. At the upper lake level, one has to cross the creek running out of Little Peters Lake. There are meadows at the far end of Peters Lake.

To upper Wap Creek (to Mt. English or Joss Pass)
Logging roads go from Three Valley Gap on the TransCanada Highway over a low pass (then a left turn just beyond Frog Falls), and then east off the main Wap Creek road to upper Wap Creek or Joss Pass. Consult the text for Mount English, Route 2. (Map 82L/16, Revelstoke; B.C. Provincial map, Revelstoke) Wap Creek flows west from its upper valley, then northwest, and then turns southwest below Frog Falls.

A website for the B. C. Parks is www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/ (B. C. Provincial Parks) www.backroadmapbooks.com (trails, roads, etc.)
The Sol Mountain Lodge is southeast of Mount Fosthall and north of Mount Baldur. One may reach Mount Baldur by the North Fosthall Creek road, from the east, from the Shelter Bay Forest Service Road, south of Shelter Bay (ferry from the east from Galena Bay) south of Revelstoke on the west side of the Columbia River (Upper Arrow Lake).

How To Visit Edgewood From Grand Forks?
From Grand Forks, head east, cross the bridge and turn left (north on the Granby Road.
17km Junction at North Fork Fire Hall/Hummingbird Bridge. Turn right, don’t cross the bridge, and continue north on the east side of the Granby River.
44km [28 Mile Bridge] Turn left and cross the bridge over Burrell Creek. Continue on Granby FSR to approx.
45 km Burrell Ck FSR junction. Turn right [north] on Burrell Ck FSR. Burrell Creek will be on your right/east side. Zero odometer.
7 km Cross bridge over Burrell Creek and continue north. Burrell Creek will be on your left/west side. Stay on Burrell Creek FSR.
33.5 km MacFarlane Creek FSR junction. Stay right on Burrell Crk FSR.
40 km New Burrell Creek extension. Take right fork and remain on Burrell Creek FSR. Follow the road up over the height of land into logged areas on the Arrow Forest District side. Follow the main road down into Edgewood.

About admin

I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am “home”, are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking.
I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.

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