Chinook Peak Attempt

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Ptolemy Creek
  • Location: Crowsnest Pass
  • Activity: Bike-N-Hike
  • Height: 2,236 m (7,336 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 840 m (2,756 ft)
  • Distance: 17.9 km / Round Trip (11.1 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 5.4°
  • Estimated Time: 4-6 hrs
  • Technicality: Novice
  • Fitness Level: Moderate
For Thanksgiving weekend, I went back to Crowsnest to eat free turkey meal at my family. But before the meal, I had to go for a peak. So this time my objective was Chinook Peak. This peak has been bugging me for a long time since I can see it from the house.

Approach:
I used the same trail last time I came here for backpacking. Backcountry Biking by Boug Eastcott call this trail Ptolemy Creek, but I like the name used in Southern AB Trails map for GPS. It calls it Seven Bridges Trail. It’s funny because that’s about how many times I had to across Ptolemy Creek except most of the times there wasn’t bridges. Anyway, creek is quite low that gaiters and boots pretty much shut down water.

After the fork (waypoint “Left at Sign”), the trail separated. Right one goes to a fire pit where I parked my bike and switched to hiking gear, then went back to the left one to continue farther. You can still ride bike as you wish, but I elected to switch because the trail lose some elevation then looked like continuous uphill after that.

Chinook Attempt:
Only 960 m after dumping the bike I arrived at the bottom of Chinook. My original route was SW slope but totally unexpectedly there were already avalanches and my ascent line wasn’t exception… NOooooooooo. So I had no choice but to take SW ridge route (page 4). Studying pictures I had, I already know ridge route would be questionable and having snow even made it worse…

Unfortunately the ridge had some short slab sections that it became too difficult to stay on the ridge. I kept finding myself getting off and backup on the ridge. Over 2200 m, believe or not there was close to 1 m of snow that I didn’t feel safe to walk sidehill but slab sections on the ridge didn’t let me stay on the ridge. Worse more the weather starting to improve, I decided to turn around before snow slope get sunlight. Amount of snow up there was totally out of my estimate.

Ptolemy Creek:
Still having time and weather getting sunnier, I didn’t want to just go back yet. So I continued on Ptolemy Creek trail to the end. If you don’t know the valley here in summer time, you need to check this out. It is like Burstall Pass. It’s so pretty and beautiful. But also with snow covered mountains and the valley, it was also so pretty. Wasn’t it only last weekend I complained about dead color of fall until white. Well I guess I already got white this year!!

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Fall is here too.

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This was the longest crossing of the day. It's not too bad.

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Chinook Peak
  • Location: Crowsnest Pass
  • Activity: Bike-N-Hike
  • Height: 2,591 m (8,501 ft)
On the way up here I saw few avalanches in similar slope. My planned ascent also had avalanche (green line). So I decided to follow ridge line (red line).

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Sheep were little more unused to human here than sheep in parks.

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It was quite unusual that avalanche carried so far down. Here it was only 20 degrees and not much snow yet. I guess grass underneath helped to slide.

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Hauuuuuuuuuuuuuu (*゚ρ゚)

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Getting slabs on the ridge. No good.

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Depth of the snow became deeper and deeper. Around where I stopped there was nearly 1 m of snow. I hope it's because of drift. If not, that is a lot of snow.

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Hump on the ridge didn't look too easy at all. The summit is just behind the hump.

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The valley where the trail is.

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On the way to the end of the valley after giving up Chinook Peak. The ridge line was the line I took for Chinook.

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Andy Good Peak.

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WOW. I call this winter. From left, unnamed, Mount Parrish, Andy Good Peak.

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Clouds mostly created by these peaks in the morning disappeared.

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Going back along Ptolemy Creek.

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There is no snow at lower elevation.

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My new GPS, Garmin eTrex 30 just came out last week. Now with this new one, I can see treeline with Ibycus topo map which is great help! So far I found total ascent calculated with GPS shows 1.5 times more than the software I use. Upgraded software is nicer and more user friendly than my old eTrex. It picks up satellite much quicker. I can only import current track and not be able to import saved tracks and all waypoints with MapSource... WHY!! I hate Basecamp and I don't want to use it! Electronic compass doesn't seem to point the right direction sometimes.

BTW, I made Ibycus topo mountain region installer. You can download it from RMB forum.

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Turned out to be a nice day.

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While most of focus in south Rockies goes to red peaks in Waterton and Castle, but my favorite place in south is right here in Flathead Range in Crowsnest Pass.

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Encore!


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