Donald Peak (DG 16) GR:833973

elevation: 2,685 m.
height gain: 760 m. (from the landing)
area: Donald,BC map 82 N/6
2013-Oct-28
Drive west past Golden on highway 1. After crossing the Columbia River on the Donald Bridge, start your odometer, the trailhead is 9.5 kilometers away. If you forget, you can calculate 3.8 kilometers from the Donald FSR. The trailhead is on the west side of the highway and dips down; it is extremely hard to find. It is just after a set of concrete barriers and delineators (on the opposite side). If you reach a rest area on the east side, you missed it! After turning and dipping down, park at the flat area, 814041. Quad or bike the 9-kilometer service road to the last landing, 808989. If you decide to use an ATV, a washout needs to be negotiated about 2 kilometers in. From the parking area, you will come to a newly built road (West Bench Trail), go left. Follow the road for less than 400 meters and start looking for the not so obvious access road that starts to climb on the right (more like straight ahead); this road eventually skirts Oldman Creek. From the last landing, hike through minor bush and slide paths until you reach boulder slopes on a mountainside. Skirt the boulder field then aim to follow the drainage; we lost a bit of elevation to avoid sidehilling. Continue towards the col south-west of Donald Peak, 828966. Blocky terrain leads to the false summit. We encountered minor drops along the connecting ridge to the true summit; moderate scrambling on the southern side of the ridge can be expected. approach with an atv

Preparing for a 9-kilometer ride.

washout


The washout at kilometer 2, is easily negotiated.
Scramble: RT 8.25; 4.75 up (from the landing). Following a long stint of stable weather, conditions deteriorated in time for sunday. We decided to forego a planned trip in K-Country for a local objective; we advised Charles. To our surprise, he called us on saturday to tell us he was on his way to Golden to join us despite the poor weather and long drive from Calgary. We prepared for the worst and brought rain gear. We set off in the morning, driving through snow squalls and reached the access road under an hour. Fab unloaded the ATV and strapped our packs, a wrecking bar, a saw and a shovel to it; you never know, better safe than sorry... We proceeded without mishap to the last landing. Fab and I recalled an earlier trip this way on our bikes; gotta admit, quading was much more enjoyable and appropriate for this time of the year. After a short bushwhack, we made it to the boulder slopes on the mountainside. We skirted the boulder field then continued along the drainage until treeline; from there, the col wasn't far but snow depth increased. Once at the col, we veered towards our objective and tackled blocky terrain to the false summit. The true summit was in sight, we tried to stay close to the broken ridge crest but big blocks and minor drops offered some challenge; we circumvented obstacles on the southern aspect. We carefully made our way across the ridge and were greeted by a big cairn at the top. Pleased with the outing, we took pictures and stayed for a while to enjoy the view and relatively nice weather. I looked for the benchmark but there was too much snow to move around. We carefully backtracked to the col and meandered to the quad finding a shelter along the way. Using an ATV made this trip feasible during the shorter autumn days; it was a nice prelude to winter!
valley fog

Typical valley fog at this time of the year.

faster than biking

Much easier and faster than biking!

we have company


We have company...


at the landing


At the landing, we left the ATV and aimed for the boulder slopes (center).


boulder slope


Skirting the boulder slopes.


pleasant trekking


Pleasant trekking along the drainage.


break time


Changing the units on Charles' new GPS.


treeline


Donald Peak's false summit on the left.


nearing the col


The snow is deeper as we progress towards the col.


oldman peak


Oldman Peak (left) and its connecting ridge.


false summit


Nearing Donald Peak's false summit.


looking back


Looking back.


true summit ahead


Donald's true summit ahead.


tricky spots


A couple of tricky spots along the ridge crest.


almost there


The top is minutes away.


at the top


Donald Peak is dotted with a big cairn.


columbia valley


Charles sets his camera with the Columbia Valley in the background.


golden is hidden


The town of Golden is hidden by this unnamed peak.


kingpin peak


The tall mountain on the right is named Kingpin Peak.


kinbasket lake


The cutblock where we left the ATV (center) and Kinbasket Lake.


leaving the top


Leaving the top.


blocky terrain


Travelling on blocky terrain.


entertaining


Some sections are entertaining.


more blocky terrain


More blocky terrain to the col.


back to treeline


Swooshing back to treeline.


shelter


We found a shelter while returning.
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