NOGALSKI PEAK 2277m, 7470 ft July 25th, 2009
Map: 82F/8 Grassy Mountain
Nogalski Peak, not a gazetted name, is at the hydrographic apex of the north fork of Kama Creek, Hellroaring Creek, and Perry Creek. Well, maybe that doesn’t help. Let’s say that it is southwest of Kimberley and can be most easily reached from Cranbrook by turning north onto King Street NW at the stoplight and driving north.
Follow this street, which eventually becomes Wycliffe Road, for 12 km. and turn left onto a gravel road signed “Wycliffe Park.” This becomes Perry Creek FSR, a veritable highway for most of its length. Janice and I drove this 2WD route on the afternoon of July 24th, stopping along the way to visit Perry Creek Falls and “the giant steam shovel,” and passing the Richmond Lake trailhead, before stopping to car camp at a ford at the Goldrun Lake trailhead at 5680’ (km. 34.8, 601-640, good campsites by running water). See Janice Strong’s excellent Mountain Footsteps for more detailed driving instructions, hiking data, and some history of the gold rush in this area, which dates to 1868.
Saturday morning, the 25th, we embarked at 0745, our goal more or less Mt. Flett in the next valley to the west. After reaching Goldrun Lake via the good, signed trail in 50 min., we foolishly bushwhacked up to the northwest, discovering en route that a road led right to our immediate destination, Perry Pass (6548’, 585-744). We think this new road is a continuation of the road we camped on but are not sure. Anyway, having reached the pass, we decided to follow “historic Perry Pass Trail” west and down into the headwaters of Hellroaring Creek. By the time we reached a rockslide 700’ below Nolgaski, we decided against continuing: we had lost the trail, the guidebook advised of many deadfalls ahead, it was hot, we were be-deviled by bugs, and Mt. Flett looked to be tiresomely distant.
Instead, we returned to Perry Pass and then followed a road and rudimentary trail southwest over sub-alpine terrain to recent mine scratchings at 7,100’ at the base of Nogalski. From this point, it was an easy scramble to the summit via the southeast ridge (582-736, large cairn, no record). We were somewhat surprised to meet another human on top, a German-like Wycliffe-ite who had come up from Richmond Lake and was making a clockwise circuit.
After a brief 25 min. stay (views of Mt. Evans, Snowcrest Mtn., and Grassy Mtn.—no, not that Grassy Mtn.), we meandered down the easy west ridge toward Kama Pass, strode down south slopes to a col west of Richmond Lake, and plunged down and east, enjoying moderate bushwhacking before picking up the Richmond Lake trail on the north side of Richmond Lake. This descended east 400’ to the Perry Creek FSR, whence a ten-minute uphill walk led back to our campsite and truck.
In all, it was a moderate and pleasant counter-clockwise circuit, a 6-hour day (counting detour) among the gentle peaks of the southernmost Purcells.