On Sunday, a couple of us drove up to Kaslo and took 12 Mile Creek FSR up into the Kokanee Range to climb Mount Holmes, an 8,100 foot peak at the north end of the range. We had been expecting to have to walk from the Retallack Hwy, as a landslip had been blocking the road for years, but were pleasantly surprised to find the landslip repaired - something that almost never happens, and were able to drive to 4,500 feet to park.
The usual West Kootenay bushwack took us up to about 5,100 feet where we contoured into a drainage and got good snow cover and fast travel to the upper basin under the north side of Mount Holmes.
North side Mount Holmes
With excellent snow for step kicking we got onto a spur ridge at about 7,700 feet, followed this up to a sub-summit and the main west ridge of Mount Holmes.
West ridge and summit Mount Holmes
Getting to the top from here was easy class 2/3 scrambling and we were on top by 10.40 am. Which was good as convective clouds had already built.
Looking down on our ascent route
We didn't hang around too long - ya just never know when a big thunderstorm is brewing at this time of year. But, instead of descending to the east off the ridge, we dropped into a different valley to the west and got back to the road with minimal bushwacking and were back at the truck by 1.00 pm.
Easy descent down the west side of the ridge.
Today, I went out with a different friend and climbed Megawatts, an 8 pitch, 5.8 sport route up Brilliant Bluffs above Castlegar. Climbing Megawatts is a Rockies experience in the Kootenays as the rock tends to be loose and the route wanders. But, even for all that, it's a fun few hours out, but you wouldn't want to be below an inexperienced party.
Photographing each other on P5
We topped out about lunchtime, had some food and then started the hike off. On completely flat ground I somehow twisted my ankle and proceeded to limp painfully down the 3 km walk-off. Back at the truck when I took my shoe off, my foot was swollen up like a basketball. Thus proving that the difficulty really is in the descent.