Coquihalla Mountain

elevation: 2,157 m.
height gain: 270 m. (from the tarn)
area: Coquihalla Summit,BC
map 92 H/11

Ref: BCtreehunter

bluebird day

Bluebird day for our scramble.
Scramble: RT 5.5; 3.0 up from the tarn (approach is about 3 hrs up, 2 hrs down). Coquihalla Mountain is the region's prize; it is a fine summit that grants several ascent options, catering to all hiking abilities. It boasts a straightforward class 2 ascent from its southern aspect, a class 3 alternate climb from its westmost north ridge, and a thrilling class 4 ridge traverse. This objective does not discriminate! After a lovely ascent of Jim Kelly Peak yesterday and an early night, we awoke ready to tackle Coquihalla's climb via the southern aspect. We followed a good trail to the Coquihalla/Jim Kelly Col; after dipping down on the south side, we started circumventing the mountain. We found several trail segments along the way, some on the way down. We didn't know the exact location of the route; we made the mistake of climbing too early on the east side of the south ridge. This alternate ascent line increased the difficulty. Our line eventually merged with the class 2 route. Once at the top, we enjoyed the views and lingered for some time before heading down. I suggested the class 3 north-west ridge as an alternate descent; however, Milan didn't feel like jeopardizing a perfect stress-free outing. As scrambling is new to him, this is understandable. We returned the same way, following a path to a shallow gully that splits the south ridge. Near 1,920 meters of altitude, we hooked onto a good trail and started traversing the mountain. This trail segment is critical to reaching the easy ascent line in the shallow gully; we missed it on our way up. The rest of the return was mindless; we got to our camp with plenty of daylight left. After a quick dip in the tarn's frigid water, we packed up and headed out. Coquihalla Mountain, or CocaCola Mountain as we call it, was well worth the visit.

our objective

The objective is ahead of us.

path to the col

There's a nice path to the Coquihalla/Jim Kelly Col.

trail on the south side

Trail segments circumvent the mountain on the south side.

on-field repair

On-field repair for my delaminated sole.

making our way

Making our way to the south ridge; the trail is lower down, it's visible in the grass on the left.

south ridge ahead

South ridge ahead.

gully east of the ridge

We started climbing too early in the gully east of the ridge.

scrambling is more difficult

The scrambling is more difficult than the class 2 route.

looking back

Looking back.

connecting with the standard route

Further up on the south ridge, we connected with the class 2 route.

summit block

Summit block ahead.

looking back

Looking back again.

at the top

At the top, whoot, whoot!

illal peak

Illal Peak and Meadows.

northern view

Northern view.

north-west view

The snow-covered peaks north-west of us are: Mount Breakenridge, Traverse and Surprise Peaks (L to R)

carry peak

Carry Peak to the west.

tulameen mountain

To the south, Tulameen Mountain and Bedded Lake.

summit selfie

Summit selfie.

boot maintenance required

Boot maintenance required.

ridge traverse

Coquihalla's classic traverse route grants difficult sections.

heading down

Heading down.

path easy to follow

The path is easy to follow.


Starting the circumvention of the mountain.

rock step

Negotiating the rock step, which is critical in findind the trail segment leading to class 2 ascent.

rock step ahead

Looking back, this is where we veered climber's right too soon to ascend instead of continuing along the base of the rock; the trail segment that leads to the proper route is beyond the rock step.


Backtracking to the Coquihalla/Jim Kelly Col.

quick swim

Another quick swim is in order.

heading out

Packed up and heading out.
Picture courtesy of Milan Kubik.


Nice inukshuks.
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