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Boom Mountain

Easy Winter Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
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YDS Difficulty: 
Ascent Time: 
Dense bush (from a skiing standpoint) between the valley and treeline
Saturday, January 31, 2015

With another less than ideal forecast for the weekend Steven and I decided to go for an objective which we figured would be fine even in a fairly grim whiteout, the mighty Boom Mountain just west of the Castle Junction on HWY 93 South.  We had good beta from the Goldenscrambers and Vern so set off fairly confident.  Conditions ended up being much sloggier than expected and the peak took much longer than its distance/elevation would suggest!

We set off from the parking lot on the AB/BC border.  I was on skis and Steven on snowshoes.  The approach up Chickadee Valley was quite swift with a good set of tracks making for quick travel.  Before long we reached the base of the ascent gully which had recently slid and was full of rock hard debris.  After skirting around the edge of the gully for ~300m we took off our skis/'shoes and kicked up the rest of the way (or at least that was the plan).  The snow on this particular day was powder on a breakable crust which led to waist deep post-holing as soon as we were off the icy stuff.  This was no problem for Steven on his 'shoes but (foolishly) not packing ski crampons I was torn between not enough grip for skinning up above the crust on skis or waist deep post-holing without.  After some deliberation I started trudging up through the snow eventually getting close enough to Steven to hold a conversation.

Setting out from the parking lot on the AB/BC border.


Even at this point we could almost see the summit (much better than forecasted!).


Steven trudging up the well packed trail up the valley.


Interesting lighting back towards Mount Whymper.


Steven with our (recently slid) ascent gully behind.


Me heading up amidst the bush, photo by Steven Song.


Making my way up the avalanche debris, photo by Steven Song.


Quite deep sloggy snow in patches, photo by Steven Song.


Steven's snowshoes made for much faster travel and I fell behind.


Above the gully our slogging didn't stop as the alpine has a good 10-20cm of storm snow pile up from the previous night making for more knee deep trudging for the rest of the 400m to the summit.  Thankfully during this process the sky was getting more and more clear with excellent views in every direction.  Getting higher more well known peaks started to come into view and it was easier to forget the slow slog upwards.  Steven reached the summit a while before I did and was happy to hang around for a few extra minutes once I got there to take in the views and snap some pictures.  


Good views looking back towards Mount Whymper.


Neat reflections off low-lying clouds.


Higher up almost at the summit.


Looking towards the Valley of The Ten Peaks from below the summit.


At last the summit is in sight.


Great summit views.  Much better than forecasted!


Our descent path followed the same route as the way up.  Steven decided to walk down the avi debris but I stubbornly wanted to practice skiing in bad conditions and stuck to the debris/trees working on quick turns.  Eventually we made it back down to the valley bottom and had a quick trek back to the car.  All in all, much better views than expected but significantly more effort (though, that is a good trade to make any day!).



Me descending down from the summit, photo by Steven Song.


More zoomed in views to the north-west.


And also towards Whymper.


Castle Mountain is quite the linear feature!


Looking down towards Boom Lake.


Steven on the descent.


Nice sunset colors back down by the parking lot with a mostly full moon too.


Longer route than expected by the numbers, good trip though.


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