MT PATRICK 2722 m 8930’
Map: 82F/16 Dewar Creek
Mt. Patrick lies just south of the southern boundary of St. Mary’s Alpine Park in the angle between Dewar Creek and White Creek.
Access is via the Manson Col route: turn east off the Dewar Creek road at the km. 8 sign, about that distance north of the Dewar/West St. Mary’s junction. The 5.3 km. access road is a rough 4WD, HC LR route that gains 2300’ to a sub-alpine basin at 6600’. This August the road had been brushed out and some washouts had been filled in—much better than in 2004. After catching the 6:30 ferry, Peter Tchir and I drove to the junction at the end of the driveable portion of the access road, tossed out the rope and rock gear, and started hiking at 10:30.
We followed the upper fork of the road to the east till in 10 min. it petered out in a valley. Turning south, we hiked up shale and talus as we decided the north face of our objective was preferable to the northeast ridge and its gendarmes. We then passed a vestigial glacier and ascended about 400’ of ribs, ramps, and steps of crumbly, metamorphic rock spiced with near-vertical dirt on the north face.
Reaching the summit at 12:30, we inspected the large, flattened cairn and a mostly-illegible rain-soaked record and added our own entry. During the rest of our 65 min. stay, we puzzled over the purpose of a large lodge-like structure near White Creek far below and to the east.
Eschewing a return via our ascent route, we headed down the twisty northeast ridge, which offered a sporty class 3 descent on decent rock, all ramps, prongs and gendarmes being easily overcome. Reaching the col in 45 min., we then continued north over an easy 8450’ bump (483-163), descended its NNW ridge to a flat section, and at 480-168 encountered the trail to Jurak Lake. We followed this trail west and back down into the basin and, not surprisingly, rejoined our access road near its end.
After improving flagging and cairns at the sketchy trailhead, we walked back to the truck by 3:35 pm for a 5-hour day. Leaving almost immediately, we easily caught the 7:00 pm Kootenay Lake ferry. For further details of this attractive area, consult Janice Strong’s excellent Mountain Footsteps.