Bicarbonate Peak GR:218674

elevation: 2,587 m. height gain: 1,340 m.
area: Parson,BC map 82 N/2

We used Mons Road on the east side of highway 95, north of Parson, to reach Campbell Road then headed south-east to a forestry road indicated on the map, 205643. The start of "dusty road" has cattle gates and numerous signs, including one that reads private property; we respected the other signs asking to stay on the road and off the grass fields. After about 600 meters, before reaching the private property, we veered left and continued on the service road. We parked at a junction, 222644, and walked the remaining 500 meters to a switchback. From there, a trail leads directly to Johnson Draw Creek. We hiked the creek bed until close to a substantial waterfall. A lot of new flagging and cairns indicate the way climber's left of the falls but the trail is faint. The goal is to ascend high enough to avoid the canyon while traversing into the draw. We managed to mostly keep to the flagged trail and at some point, we contoured below a rockband. Soon thereafter, the crude trail makes its way back to the creek bed and the flagging ceases. The next goal is to gain the saddle at 232665. An open drainage is ideal for the ascent, 231655. The swath goes to a sub summit, it is necessary to go climber's left and traverse towards the saddle to avoid unnecessary height gain. Once at the saddle, the gentle east side of the mountain is revealed. The ascent to the top is easy from the meadows below Bicarbonate's south-east ridge.

service road

After parking, we walked a short distance on the service road.

creek bed

We hiked the creek bed at first.

nice waterfall

We need to circumvent this waterfall climber's left.
Scramble: RT 9.0; 4.5 up. This outing was both pleasant and satisfying. There was no information on Bicarbonate Peak other than Rick Collier's account, ascending the summit while traversing the Beaverfoot Range. He mentions some poles with prayer flags placed by a local fellow, we wanted to go check it out. We planned our access from a convenient service road that leads to Jonhson Draw Creek. We expected the first couple of kilometers of hiking to be the crux, finding our way through typical bush and bluffs to the open ascent drainage. To our surprise, a trailhead with flagging and freshly cut shrubs led us down to the creek bed. We followed the creek until we reached a big waterfall. As we came out of the creek and started climbing, we found some cairns and flags going up a talus slope. Although the trail wasn't always visible, the flagging was recent, numerous and it was going in our direction! Very happy about that, we went along breaking branches and building cairns. We made it into the draw in good time and the grunt to the saddle ensued. Higher up the ascent drainage, we could estimate the low point of the saddle and aimed for it. Again, we stepped onto a flagged trail and after 3 hours, we reached the saddle. Finally, we got our first look at the beautiful eastern side of the mountain and the summit. The sun was still shining as we hiked the meadows below, avoiding most of the snow. The plod to the top is straightforward, we enjoyed it. The massive cairn is accompanied by masts and long strings of prayer flags courtesy of Andy Lewis; it's a special sight for such an unknown summit. The view from this prominent viewpoint is excellent all around! The drop on the western side is sure to evoke emotions, especially after stepping across a deep fissure along the summit crest... Fab was pleased to see a register, it had just been placed this year! We stayed for a while but as the clouds moved in, we slowly started our descent. We had a nice return, the meadows are lovely and the open access drainage is good travelling. The flagged traverse in the bush is certainly a bonus!!! I hope the trail gets more usage, this local peak deserves the attention. A visit is well worth the effort!

ascending a talus slope

Looking back as we climb a cairned talus slope.

traverse below a rockband

Traversing below a rockband.

ascent drainage

The open ascent drainage comes into view.

up the drainage

Back on the creek bed with the entrance to the open swath going climber's right.

easy travelling

The swath leads to a sub peak, we beelined to the saddle from here.

beeline to the saddle

To our surprise, the flagged trail picks up again.

nearing the saddle

Clouds dissipate as we near the saddle.

good trail here

The terrain is increasingly interesting.

at the saddle

From the saddle, the summit is revealed.

pleasant hiking

Very pleasant hiking towards our objective.

grassy slope

Using the grassy slope to attain the upper mountain.

upper mountain

The top is not visible yet.

last bit

Last stretch to the summit.

at the top

At the top with the register in hand.

ottertail range

Looking north-east towards the Ottertail Range.

dizzying drop

A dizzying drop on the west side.

prayer flags

Two wooden masts are wedged in a deep fissure running along the edge; standing on the other side of the gap makes us slightly uneasy.

southern view

Southern view along the Beaverfoot Range and the Columbia Valley.

heading back

Heading back.

grassy slope

Down the grassy slope.

lovely place

Lovely landscape and great view.

back at the saddle

Back at the saddle.

following the trail

Following the trail.

flags indicate the way

Fresh flagging guiding us back to the swath.

ascent drainage ahead

The open drainage ahead.

great view

Easy travelling with a view.

back to the traverse

At the creek bed, ready to backtrack through the trees.

circumventing the rockband

Circumventing the rockband again.

down the talus slope

Dropping down the talus slope, back to the creek bed.

up the escarpment

Going up the escarpment, minutes away from the service road.
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