Steamboat Mountain

elevation: 1,879 m. height gain: 780 m. (from GR:496267)
area: Brisco,BC map 82 K/16
2014-Mar-10


This is a winter route description, other approaches are possible.

From Brisco, head west on Brisco Road and drive along the lumber mill then across the Columbia River until you get to Steamboat Mountain Road; at the intersection, go left (south). Continue for 2.8 kilometers to another major intersection, 502284, we parked here. We used a snowmobile to reach a landing off of Bryanton North; at 504265, head west (indicated on the topo), continue for about a kilometer, 496267; go up a side road (west) to a landing, 495260. We left the sled and aimed for another service road 400 meters south; that road leads to the southern end of Steamboat Mountain. We left the road and ascended towards bluffs that we handrailed climber's left to a shallow saddle. From there, we gained the ridge crest and travelled the undulating ridge to its north end. A GPS can be useful to locate the highest point among the trees.

heading to the landing

Leaving Bryanton North for the short side branch on the left.

summit ridge in the background


Steamboat Mountain's treed summit ridge in the background.
Snowshoe trip: RT 11.0; 6.25 up. Bahahaha, this puny mountain sure gave us a run for our money! Steamboat sits in the middle of the Columbia Valley, several access options exist; we chose the route we thought to be the most feasible in winter time. We used Fab's sled for the 4-kilometer approach on Braynton FSR. From the landing, where we left the sled, we aimed for another service road that leads to the south end of Steamboat. The night had cleared giving us a decent freeze; now the sun was upon us as we hiked, stripped down to our thermals. The service road was untracked with a strong crust, we experienced countless whumphing along the way; snowpack stability is less than ideal presently... We reached the base of the ridge in good time and started ascending towards some bluffs, traversing climber's left to gain a shallow saddle and the summit ridge; these south facing slopes warrant caution in the winter... On the summit ridge we encountered variable snow conditions which slowed progress. The undulating ridge never seemed to end as we travelled from one end to the other. Standing on a highpoint, we would notice yet another through the forest; we pulled out the GPS to check our position a couple of times. With perseverance, we eventually reached a highpoint that appeared to be the tallest at the north end of the ridge. Very happy with our accomplishment, we found a large open area in the trees and sat in the sun for a long break. The view at the top is somewhat restricted but the ridge does offer several viewpoints en route. Backtracking was pleasant, following the trench was mindless and easy. Back at the south slopes, we handrailed the bluffs to minimized avalanche hazard. We decided to shortcut through a newly planted cutblock instead of following the road the long way; moments later we stepped on the road saving a couple of kilometers. The rest was uneventful, I was happy to hop on the sled for the last stretch. I only recommend this outing to dedicated peakbaggers!
at the landing

At the landing, we put on snowshoes and aimed for another service road that leads to Steamboat's southern end.

good snowshoeing

Snowshoeing conditions are mostly favorable.

on the service road


A decent freeze grants pleasant trekking on the untracked service road.


columbia valley


Looking north along the Columbia Valley.


perfect day


Perfect mild day with no wind, feels like spring time!


aiming for the bluffs


The road continues towards the bluffs.


ascending to the bluffs


Ascending to the bluffs, which we skirted climber's left to a shallow saddle.


view south


View south from the southern end of the ridge crest.


sparsely treed at best


The ridge is sparsely treed at best.


view west

  Horeb Mountain and Mount Ethelbert (right center) beyond Hidden Valley.


false summit


We dip in the forest before reaching the false summit (left center).


at the top


Finally on the northern highpoint and official summit, standing on a huge boulder!


long break


Well-deserved long break in the sun, yeah!


mindless return


Mindless return.


false summit again


As we break out of the trees, we see the false summit (right center).


much easier


So much easier coming back.


more open terrain


Along the false summit, the terrain is more open.


hugging the bluffs


Hugging the bluffs traversing back to our ascent rib.


ascent rib


The rib quickly takes us to the clearings below.


back on the road


Back on the service road.
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