Peaks at Crawford Creek Headwaters
Map: 82F/15 Kaslo
Back in 1991 and 1992 I made three day trips with the KMC to this drainage northeast of the Kootenay Bay ferry terminal and climbed three peaks between 2510 and 2550 m.
On Friday, July 2nd , I returned to this basin with Sandra McGuinness and Doug Brown on a KMC climbing schedule trip that originally was destined for Glacier Creek.
After catching the 6:30 am ferry, we drove up Crawford Creek road as follows. Turn off highway at Crawford Bay School, re-set odometer, and proceed as for Plaid Lakes trail. Go left at km. 10.2 (don’t go onto Crawford-Hooker FSR); continue straight at km. 11.5 (do not take Plaid Lake turnoff); pass the Crawford-Spring FSR at km. 11.6; cross a bridge in open terrain at km. 15.6; continue up and right to a switchback; switchback to the left and continue along the east bank of Crawford Creek. At km. 18.4 pass the turnoff for Rose Pass (unsigned), and at 18.5 park in a small meadow with hunter’s trailer (1 hour from the ferry). We could have driven past this point for a few more kilometers but were deterred by alder.
Starting at 8:20, we walked up the road and in 40 min. reached a big meadow that would be a good point to drive to; the roadbed is solid and there is ample parking at this spot. Another 25 min. of walking got us to road’s end at 5150’ (GR 229-145), where there is a very odd-looking hunter’s warming hut.
By far the best option beyond is to cross to the west bank of Crawford Creek. From road’s end, go straight down the bank toward the creek and ford it. On my earlier forays we had always found a convenient log crossing but not this time. Once across the creek, head straight uphill (west) a short distance through open timber to reach a rockslide. Continue north and parallel to the creek on boulder fields, bending west on steeper terrain to what I call “boulder col” (225-155). As our goal was on the east side of the upper valley, we again forded the now east-flowing Crawford and ascended north in an open watercourse with mild bush (228-160). Once in the upper valley, we ascended heather and snow to the ridge north of our objective (232-168) and just south of a prominent hump on the ridge. Our goal was u/n 2540 m (233-164), which I had inspected from the summit of u/n 2533 m (227-176) just east of the Crawford-Bernard pass in 1992. The north ridge yielded an enjoyable scramble of 500’ on firm class 3 quartzite, reminiscent in places of Uto’s south ridge, only much easier.
Reaching the summit at 1:50 (5 ½ hours up), we were mildly disappointed to find a huge cairn, since Doug is still looking for his initial first ascent. During our 30 min. on top, we GPSed our peak at 8290’ (that’s quite out of line with what the 1:20 000 scale map says), and savoured views of Loki and of our valley below. Although the surrounding peaks are not high, several are shapely and the relief seems impressive.
Re-tracing our steps, we reached the truck by 6:20 (4 hours down) for a 10-hour day and roared off to just miss the 7:00 pm ferry. The ensuing delay led to a dining experience at Boccalino, but that’s another story.
In sum, the area offers a choice of five or six peaks, ample opportunities for scrambly but strenuous day trips, and moderate or little bushwhacking. Driving farther up the road would cut 1¼ hours off any trip. This year, the low snow pack made for tiresome boulder hopping; we concluded the best time for ascents would be in June in a normal snow year.