Boom Mountain

elevation: 2,758 m. height gain: 1,120 m.
area: Kootenay Park,BC map 82 N/1-N/8
2013-Feb-24


Ref: Rick Collier's "A winter ascent and traverse of Boom Mountain"

Note: Our route differs from the above trip report. We started climbing after we passed the west most avalanche path that funnels down to valley bottom (off of Boom Mountain), about 4 kilometers in, 629770. Instead of accessing the upper mountain from Boom Col, 631779, we aimed for a treed rib, 632778, slightly east of the col. This leads to a weakness through the rockband and bluffs. The summit plateau is easily reached that way.
chickadee valley
Chickadee Valley and Boom Mountain on the right.
Ski touring: RT 9.75; 6.0 up. I've been curious about this mountain for many years. The only trip report I found was Rick Collier's winter ascent in '88. I knew the best time to visit that area is in the winter, using the popular packed trail up Chickadee Valley. The weather was unstable and the avalanche hazard varied greatly. We decided it was a good occasion to do a reconnaissance trip. We set off on the obvious trail; although it was windy, the air was mild and it was sunny. The chirping birds seemed to announce springtime. We progressed nicely along the drainage and Boom Mountain's numerous avalanche paths. All the swaths had ski tracks! Near the furthest slide path, we started to look at Boom's upper mountain. We noted a weakness in the rockband, a line through some bluffs seemed to give way to the summit plateau. In addition, the terrain above treeline appeared wind-scoured. In order to scope out that favorable option, we had to ascend a treed rib situated between two large slide paths. We looked for an uptrack used to gain the col west of Boom but only found down-tracks. Hence, we began making our way through the forest following the ski tracks at first. Breaking trail was okay, skis offered good flotation but our uptrack was horrendous due to a combination of tight trees and very steep terrain. As we gained height, there was more new snow. We carefully worked our way up the forest avoiding time spent in the slide path. Near treeline, the terrain is increasingly steep; not a good place to be if uncertain about snowpack stability... I nervously continued, very attentive to changing conditions. We were thrilled to step onto the wind-blown rib; I guess that's when this recon trip turned into a genuine summit bid! We left the skis behind and proceeded towards the weakness in the rockband. Going through the bluffs proved easy, we didn't even require our alpine axe or crampons. Once on the summit plateau, a pleasant hike ensued. After a couple of hightpoints, we reached the top. Damn, this was unexpected! I stood by the cairn quite cheerful despite to lack of visibility; this successful ascent marks my 300th summit! Blowing snow didn't deter us from celebrating with a shot of Jägermeister. Fab dug out a copper pipe holding the frozen register. We saw Rick's name and had a moment of reflection... After a good summit stay, we started our descent. We noticed two Ptarmigans on the summit plateau, what a place to be... Back at our skis, we prepared for a sweet descent. Our plan was to skirt the upper part of the large avalanche gully situated skier's left before committing to skiing it. The ski run was exceptionally good! Back on the packed trail, we resumed our descent to the truck. It was effortless; Fab called it a "pump track". All in all, today was a surprisingly awesome day!!! boom mountain
Boom Mountain's numerous slide paths, we're heading to the west end of the mountain.
our route from below
In red is the ascent route we used. This impressive avalanche path grants an excellent ski run!
weakness in the rockband
We climbed the treed rib which leads to a weakness in the rockband.
straightforward route finding
Easy bootpacking conditions and straightforward route finding.
looking back
Looking back.
staying on scoured terrain
We circumvented the middle bluff climber's left to avoid deep snow.
slide path bleeds to valley bottom
The slide path skier's left funnels all the way down to valley bottom.
last bluffs
Rounding up the last bluffs and the plateau appears.
reaching the summit plateau
Fab reaches the summit plateau, the sun is still filtering through.
pleasant walk
Pleasant walk to the false summit.
at the top
Looking back at the false summit from the top.
view east
Wonderful view to the east!
holding the copper pipe
Fab's holding the frozen copper pipe.
rick collier's entry
Rick Collier's entry from 1988.
my 300th summit
My 300th summit... boom, boom!!!
corniced summit plateau
The whole summit plateau is corniced.
ptarmigans
Two ptarmigans feel at home on this desolate plateau.
cairn maintenance
Fab adds to a cairn marking the way through the bluffs.
following our prints
Following our prints makes backtracking easy.
deteriorating weather
The weather has deteriorated since our ascent.
last glimpse
Last glimpse towards the bluffs.
sweet descent
Preparing for a sweet descent.
heading to the slide path
We skirted the large slide path before committing to skiing it.
pump track
After an excellent ski run, we're back on the "pump track"!
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