Chinook Peak Attempt | 2011.10.08
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.
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.
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.
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!!
* Grid References (GR) is based on WGS84 which can be considered as NAD83 (The difference is inciginificant)