Dorman, Mount

elevation: 2,798 m. height gain: 1,500 m.
area: Canal Flats,BC map 82 J/6

Follow the Whiteswan FSR beyond Whiteswan Lake to Fenwick Creek junction. Take a left and drive along the west side of Flett Peak on another well-traveled gravel road to White Elk FSR, 107669. This road is in poor shape with several washouts, (one before the 45 marker followed by two others). Within about 1.5 km of the ascent drainage a fourth washout forced us to turn around and park, 132686. Slipping and getting stuck with the truck in a remote area is never appealling. The south-east drainage of Dorman offers a direct, straightforward ascent. The creek bed is accessed from the road, 142693, and followed to the back of the draw, 124672. The long south facing scree slope easily leads to the summit.
fenwick junction

Fenwick Creek junction.

white elk fsr

White Elk FSR.
Scramble: RT 8.0; 5.5 up. Unbelievable and against all odds! We woke up early to over 10 cm of fresh snow in Golden, and still snowing. Oh no, did we miss the opportunity by one day? We were already packed for a camping trip with the hounds and we hadn't been in Canal Flats for a while, so we decided to go anyway. The drive was slow but by Invermere, the snow diminished. The forecast called for mild, overcast weather. Unfortunately, we only got a glimpse of Dorman's ascent slopes on the drive in; the clouds were low and obscured the view above treeline. We left the truck at 10:45 AM; Fab escorted me to the ascent drainage along with the doggies. We went up a little trail past the creek bed, it became overgrown quickly (I stayed on the creek bed on the return). The terrain was covered with ankle deep snow, travelling was good and the gully soon came into view. Fab went back down to set up camp while I plodded up the gully. At the crest of the lower gully, amazing ice had formed in the creek bed. I ascended climber's left, well above the drainage and continued uphill of the tree's edge where the snow was not as deep. The amount and texture of the snow changed rapidly. By the time I neared the back of the draw it was 2:15 PM and windy. The going was slow; I still had some distance to go in knee-deep snow before reaching the southern windblown slopes and close to 500 m. of elevation to gain. Filled with doubt I called Fab on my radio, he did not dissuade me to go. We both knew earlier that I would be returning in the dark, I had two headlamps. Encouraged I pursued the top. Travelling got better but visibility declined. Soon the shale rock was heavily rimed and everything was white, I blindly continued, up, up, up this steady incline. When it leveled off I cheered but there was no summit cairn. I quickly pulled out my GPS and looked at my watch: 4:30 PM. Whoa, I felt so small up there by myself in these conditions: standing on this featureless, very obscured summit (I may have missed the cairn, I didn't roam). Regrettably, my two summit pictures are not usable and I omitted to take pictures on my speedy way down this summit block. I truly felt I needed to get as far down before being caught by darkness. I did manage to reach the lower gully before total pitch dark, slipping several times. I followed the creek bed all the way back to the road. The road was a relief, Lincoln welcomed me near the camp. I could see the warm glow of the fire ahead, I felt happy, tired and satisfied! The next day, on our way out, Mount Dorman revealed itself to us. What an amazingly beautiful mountain, it reminds me of Cirrus Mountain.

The first washout and Dorman's south-west flanks.

on the road

Nice rock along the road.

creek bed

The creek bed.

lower gully

Away from the creek bed the terrain is aldery. Lower part of the ascent gully up ahead.

closer look

A closer look.

back of the draw

Back of the draw and windblown south slopes.

upper gully

Looking back towards the upper gully.

edge of the trees

There was less snow on the edge of the treed terrain.

wolf tracks

In the meantime Fab is investigating wolf tracks?


First real look at Dorman on our way out the next day.

summit block

A closer look at the summit.

from whiteswan lake

Mount Dorman is a very beautiful mountain.
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