BLUEBELL MT 2179m 7,184’
5 kilometres due east of downtown Riondel. Overlooks Riondel.
Distance: 5km return
Elevation gain: 1,814’
Map: 82K15/ Kaslo and 82K/10 Crawford Bay
Drive: From Riondel, drive to km 12.1 on the Tam O’Shanter logging road. 4WD
Route/Trail: Bushwhack up 800’ following old blazes, blue and red flags to the trail built by Crawford Bay school students in 1974. The trail heads north on the contour then curls east, SE and south along the ridge overlooking Tam O’Shanter Creek. At the first viewpoint, get good views of Loki. At 6,446’ is a small campsite used by the trail builders. Avoid a side trail that descends off the ridge.
Reach a large rock outcrop (6,876’) with a great view of Kootenay Lake, Kokanee Glacier and many named peaks. Follow the ridge south and SE to the Bluebell summit.
Bluebell Mountain July 1, 2014
Distance: approximately 5km return
Elevation gain: 1,814 feet
Everyone arrived at the Riondel Community Centre about 9am to consolidate into three 4-wheel drive vehicles before driving to Km 12.1 (5,367 ft.) on the South Tam O’Shanter logging road. The vehicles were re-positioned to avoid interference with the on-going road construction by Wynndel Box and Lumber.
We bushwhacked up about 800 vertical feet, following old blazes, blue and red flags until we located the trail that had been built by Crawford Bay school students in 1974. The trail headed north on the contour for a short distance before it curled east, southeast and south along the ridge overlooking Tam O’Shanter Creek.
At the first viewpoint, cameras were able to identify KMC member Ron Stockerl on the summit of Mount Loki, 8 kms (4.8 miles) to the north. The first stop rest stop at 6,466 feet was a small campsite used by the trail builders. The leader mistakenly took a side trail that started to descend off the ridge. Rather that face possible lynching, a quick decision was made to bushwhack back up to the ridge where the main trail was again encountered. At noon, the hikers arrived at a large outcrop of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks (6,876 feet) with a spectacular view of Kootenay Lake, the Kokanee glacier and many named peaks of the Selkirks and Purcells. Cell phone contact was made with Ron Stockerl with an exchange of Happy Canada Day greetings.
After a brief lunch break, the hikers followed the partially snow covered ridge to the south and south east to the Bluebell Mountain summit (7,184 feet). Vicki took a photo of Louis signing the official KMC register. Many of the geographic features were identified including Crystal Lake, Crawford Bay, Preacher Creek and several peaks including Sphinx, Hooker, Snowcrest, Crawford and Old Tom. A compass bearing on a large mountain in the St Marys (East Kootenay) was later identified as Hungry Peak (8,762 feet). When the group was instructed to walk to a vantage point in order to see Plaid Lake, they interrupted the privacy of one unnamed participant, who was attempting to remove a creepy-crawling from her gaunchies. This only added to the entertainment value of this special day. Two snow people were built and posed for the flag waving Canada Day group photo.
After a second lunch and a short ziz, it was time to head back. Few blue flags and blazes were seen as we bushwhacked down the final slope although we could see our vehicles as we approached the road about 4pm.
Everyone arrived safely back at the community centre in Riondel about 4:45pm. After a few sweaty hugs, the group headed for the 5:20pm Kootenay Lake ferry while the leader headed to the campground for the annual Chilli Cook-off and free beer.