Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

Home > Robson / Valemount > Mount Terry Fox

Mount Terry Fox

After finishing Mt Sparrowhawk and Read's Tower on Wednesday, I drove back home and rest, for the ambitious weekend trip with Eric Coulthard to Valemount area. As for many BC mountains, the crux is usually finding trail head and driving there. The direction is clear: If approach from Robson, turn right at Stone Road (before entering Valemount town), take an immediately left after that and then follow trail signs to the parking lot. However, there're one or two other intersections in the maze of logging road system which do not have a trail head sign. For those, I suggest you just to follow the most obvious path. At the last intersection, take a right fork which is heavily overgrown and ridiculously narrow. The ground isn't extremely steep nor rough, so I would say a 2 wheel drive with high clearance can probably make it. We have a 4WD so we were okay.

We arrived at trail head by approximately 11pm, and slept in car. Oh gosh, the mosquitos were ridiculously crazy. Not exaggerating, you gonna have 100 of them around you if you stop outside your car for 15 second... We spend most time of the night killing mosquitos, and as a result we probably just slept for 1-2 hours (sleep in car). Horrible... The forecast for Saturday was mostly sunny, but with 33 degree temperature, feels like 39 due to humidity. That's terrible for an ascent of 1800m elevation gain, so we decided to wake up by 4:30 (Albertan time), so 3:30AM local time, and started the ascent by 4AM.

Despite the lack of sleep, we still managed to start with a fast pace. Take a note for Terry Fox, you start your grind at Rocky Mountain Trench, an area with elevation 800m or so... You gonna have spend a good amount of time to reach treeline. The initial switchback section makes me feeling like going back to Vancouver, as the vegetation is pretty much like the coastal region. The trail is a bit overgrown, but generally easy to follow. Many dead falls to negotiate though, nothing tricky from a scrambler's point of view. Since we started early, we could catch up morning light shown on the Cariboos which was a bonus for the trip. Near the end of switchback section, the forecast thins a bit and you can have some glance of the Cariboo Mountains on the other side of Rocky Mountain Trench.

The next section is a tedious slog along a ridge to treeline. This section is foreshorten seen from below, so be prepared. Again, as you gaining elevation, the view towards the Cariboos gets better and better, and at treeline, we could take a full panorama of the Cariboo Mountains, which we have never seen before (well, if not counting the road trip photos). Slogging up a scree slope brought us to a much better view point. From there on, the trail became faint at places. We just pretty much followed the ridge crest to the first false summit. The next thing to do was to slog up a huge grass / talus slope to another false summit where a weather station is built. Really nothing to describe here except for slogging and slogging. Once topping out, we were treated with a head-on view of Whitehorn Mountain, Mount Robson and Resplandent Mountain, three 11,000ers. The morning sun was bad for photographing them though.

From the weather station, we had to lose about 50m elevation to a high col before trudging up the next false summit, on talus and boulder fields. Then it was a scenic ridge walk to the true summit. Oh man, we were blown by the views. Except for the Cariboos and Robson, we could see the sea of peaks towards SW direction (Rockies west range). There're a couple of high ones that we were suspecting to be either Mount Hooker or probably Tsar or Clemenceau. We could also see the Monashee Mountains including Canoe Mountain. There're several high peaks towards north, probably Mount Sir Alexander and Mount Chown, but not 100% sure. The peaks around Mount Sir Wilfred Laurier are also clearly visible, the apex of Cariboo Mountains.

Due to lack of sleep, we took a nap on the summit. Including the nap, we spend 2 hours on the summit soaking in the views. The descend was far more tedious than anticipated, mainly because there was no loose ground for a scree run. You have to come down step by step, and all on the knees, for a 1800 vertical meters. The heat finally got us after re-entering the trees, as well as the mosquitos. Terrible... Our descent was actually slower than ascent. By the time we got back to car, it felt like 40 degrees. We soon drove to Valemount for food and cold drink!

At the end of the day, we drove to Kinbasket Lake for quick photos, and then directly to the trail head of Mount Pierre Elliot Trudeau, our objective of Sunday.

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Photos taken by Steven