American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Interior Ranges, Carnes and Bridgeland Peaks, Northern Selkirks

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Carnes and Bridgeland Peaks, Northern Selkirks. On July 16, with David Michael, Graham Matthews and Jed Williamson, we left Downie Creek Auto Court and drove up a logging road some seven miles south of Downie Creek. By this we gained 2000 feet of altitude on the easy way into the Keystone Basin. After a three to four-hour bushwhack we reached alps, where we found an old pack trail, which follows the contours, sometimes passing through woods. The lateness of the season and a three-day storm made it difficult to find in places. Our hope had been to follow this as an easy, high-level route to the peaks. We sat out the storm on the third day and struggled through it under whiteout conditions on the fourth. After much confusion we finally descended into a valley that had a Kelly green hue and camped in the big timber. The next day we pushed on to the A & E Cabin at the head of Kelly Creek, a site we could have reached in one long day via Kelly Creek. The 21st was decreed a day-off to allow the recent snowfall to consolidate and to slide off the hills. On the 22nd Dr. Ferris took charge of the long movie lens and the other four of us left camp at some unmentionable hour and finally climbed into the sunlight, four miles later, on the southwest ridge of Carnes Peak. Along the way we had gone over the summit of “Gothhörd”. The break in the ridge beyond this point was so severe that we detoured onto the west face and working our way in snow over a zigzag pattern, arrived back at the ridge about 1000 feet above this annoying gap. We plowed our way in the snow along the broad ridge to the south summit of Carnes Peak. It was a long slug and rather uninteresting and easy. On the south summit we were able to determine that Carnes North was about 40 to 50 feet higher. We made out Bridgeland’s cairn on that summit. (It had been visited by a geological party only a week before us.) Thus having completed what we thought might have been a first ascent but was in fact a third, we worked our way back down, taking time along the rockier parts of the ridge to eliminate many hazards to future mountaineers. On the following day we moved camp from the A & E Cabin back down to the valley and up the northern side to a rocky slope below Bridgeland Peak. From this camp on July 24 after another fearsomely early start, we worked our way across the ice- covered lake below Bridgeland and up the dwindling glacier in the southwest cirque of this peak. Our route lay up the southwest ridge and broad south face. There was an occasional problem with the new snow, which was still sliding, but we arrived in good time on the west summit and traversed our way over and up to the east, which is the highest point, where we constructed a cairn, removed hazards and ate lunch. The descent was climaxed by a glorious glissade and the construction of a fitting memorial on the shores of the lake. One day later we descended the overgrown Kelly Creek trail and had dinner with Ed Wallis at Downie Creek, thanks to Jed Williamson’s artistry at hitch-hiking.

W. L. Putnam and Benjamin G. Ferris

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