Maps – 82K/14 Westfall River, and 82K/15 Bugaboo Creek
Bounding the Crystalline Group on the north are lower Hume Creek, Hume Pass and the middle fork of Crystalline Creek; the north fork of Giegerich Creek, Crystalline Pass (north fork of Giegerich Creek-south (main) fork of Crystalline Creek) and the south (main) fork of Crystalline Creek bound it on the east. Giegerich Creek delimits the group on the south, and Duncan River on the west.
The Purcell watershed rises along the east side of the group, and veers east to the Conrad Group into the granitic intrusion northwest of the Bugaboos. The highest point, Tetragon Peak, is on the watershed. The group is a range of sedimentary rocks of generally rather poor quality, but the rock is good on Tetragon Peak. It is a fine area for hiking, with extensive beautiful meadows.
Backpacking routes to the Crystalline Group have begun from the Ruth Mine in Vermont Creek. Go over Cold Shiver Col to the Valley of the Lakes, and over the pass to the south (west of Unnamed 2700m, Vermont Group) to Snowman Lake. (The Hatteras Group is reached by the pass west of the lower lake in the Valley of the Lakes, Vermont Group.) Descend to the middle fork of Crystalline Creek and climb to Hume Pass (Mt. Hatteras-Deluge Mtn.; marked on map), which is on the edge of the group. The south fork of Hume Creek is south of Hume Pass.
To gain the east side of the watershed, go part way up the west ridge of Deluge Mountain from Hume Pass, descend a rotten gully to the glacier under its southwest face and climb to Climax Col (marked on map) south of Deluge Mtn. The ascent to the col is on unpleasant shale and snow with a couloir at the top. Then descend the steep slopes into the valley of the south (main) fork of Crystalline Creek. The route is described in the regional traverse to the Bugaboos (1953) in the Vermont Group. The approaches are long and strenuous.
To reach the Crystalline Group, one can also descend south from the Hatteras-Krinkletop col in the Hatteras Group (1959) into Hume Creek (bad bushwhacking) and backpack into the open valley of the south fork of Hume Creek.
The pass just south of Unnamed 2790m can be crossed to attain Crystalline Pass (N fork of Giegerich Creek-S (main) fork of Crystalline Creek). Difficult with heavy packs at top (1959). The 1959 group continued to the Bugaboos.
A camp near the head of the south branch of Hume Creek is convenient for ascents in the vicinity of Tetragon Peak (1959). A Kootenay Mountaineering Club hiking camp was held here in 1984 in the south.
fork of Hume Creek, among lakes, meadows, waterfalls and wildlife. It was reached by helicopter from the Duncan River road. Two members hiked in over the ridge between the camp and the road. The helicopter take-off site is at a turnout 91.1 km (56.6 miles) up the Duncan River road (Duncan FSR), 1.7 km south of Hume Creek. Start at Highway 31 (mile zero) on the west side of Kootenay Lake, just south of the town of Cooper Creek, where the road crosses to the east side of Duncan River. Follow the road north, on the east side. It is also the helicopter site for transport to the north fork of Laidlaw Creek between the Nemo and Westfall Groups, under Thumb Spire. Also consult KMCN Sept. 2011.
A more direct approach would be from the Vowell Creek road up Crystalline Creek if the bushwhacking were tolerable, or if there were a trail (IRBC 1977). The route would be more direct for the Hatteras Group also.
Some C1imbing and Exploration
1953- Robert Brooke, Robert Day, Fenwick Riley, Peter Robinson, Gene White. (AAJ 9:56; DM 1953:8, 13 photo; CAJ 37(1954):42)
1959- Robert Coe, Richard Goody, Robin Hartshorne, Keith Kerney, George Millikan, Albert Nickerson, Robert Page, Nicholas Pott, Mike Wortis, Richard Wylie (of HMC Climbing Camp). (AAJ 9:54 photo; HM 1961:22)
1984- Joe Arcovio, Mike Brewster, Jim Kienholz, Sue Port (of KMC Hiking Camp). (KK 27:25; PC: MB)