Saturday, April 8, 2017

CR2016: To the Top of Copperstain

The next day, August 2nd, our group at Purcell Mountain Lodge tackled Copperstain Mountain, elevation 2608 meters (8,556'). Many hikers, especially those not staying at the lodge, first head up to Grizzly Col from the south and then follow the ridgeline west-northwest to the summit of Copperstain. Today our guides would take us a different way.

It was a promising morning, even before a hearty breakfast.
We set off at 9:30, heading northeast through the largest alpine meadow in North America. Due to the wet winter (snow depth up to 10 meters at the lodge) and late blooming, it was full of flowers.
The tall peak is Copperstain
We saw paintbrushes, heathers, asters, and mystery flowers.
 Joan and I saw silky phacelia here today, and nowhere else. The photographers went nuts.
Our guide Sara was keeping an eye on things.
What do you see?
We hiked down to the crease between the meadow and the flanks of Copperstain. Looking ahead, we could see we'd be hiking uphill soon. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
Up we started. After reaching the corner the trail  jogged to the right and we climbed up the ridgeline. On the far side a bowl with downed timbers unfolded.
We stopped for a rest and a snack, and contemplated the way ahead.
That peaks looks awfully high up.
As we trudged higher and higher the Selkirk Mountains heaved into view.
Now the trail wove back and forth through shale.
At this level our group frequently saw pieces of slate with perfectly round hole(s) in them, the back side broken out as if the hole was caused by a bullet. It was another enduring mystery.

This was the view looking back to the ground we'd covered so far.
Joan and I reached the top in the middle of pack. Everyone made it up except Linda, who had always intended to accompany us just through the meadow because of a pulled hamstring. Our guides were able to check in with her by radio, even from the summit.
The panorama was spectacular in all directions. It's hard to believe that the Trans-Canada highway is tucked in at the foot of those mountains.
You can see how big the meadow is too.
Zooming in on Mount Sir Donald, the dirty areas from the recent rockfall were clear.
And then it was time to go down.
Heading back to the lower ridgeline.
As we rounded the corner to head south and down to the meadow, Joan paused in contemplation.
We weren't the first ones to the edge of the meadow, our rest and regrouping point.
A surprise awaited us back at the lodge: creek-cooled beer. I'm normally not a beer drinker, but it tasted pretty good after today's exertion.

The good weather held up throughout our hike, but it didn't last forever. There was thunder and then steady rain after 5:00. But our group was snug in the lodge, well fed and pleased with our success.