Willowbank Mountain

elevation: 2,332 m. height gain: 1,415 m.
area: Golden,BC map 82 N/6-7

Follow the Blaeberry Road to the start of the Blaeberry FSR. Park 100 m. past the Blaeberry River Bridge at the recreation site, 019022. Cross the bridge onto the Blaeberry FSR and hike about 600 m. to a junction, 015026. The main road veers right and another forestry road takes a hard left; straight ahead, heading west, is an old road that follows Willowbank Creek. This old road shortcuts to the approach FSR and cutblocks. These latter roads are visible on Google Earth but not indicated on the topo map. Note the old road fades into a trail before reaching the approach FSR, 006030; it stays in earshot of the creek. Follow the road to the second cutblock (the one with the tree isle), 993044. Head towards the top right corner of the cutblock and follow the treed rib to the summit ridge, 975033. About midway on the ridge, it is possible to drop down to easier terrain on the south-west side and regain the ridge just before the summit.
from the car

Willowbank Mountain and the cutblock with the tree isle.

the old road

The junction and the old road straight ahead.
Snowshoe trip: RT 8.5; 5.0 up. With a very superficial freeze overnight, I figured an early start was necessary. I chose Willowbank mainly because it is within half an hour from my house. I made my way through the shortcut rather easily and the plod on the forestry road was mostly dry lower down. I managed to stay on the crust to the top of the ascent cutblock; little did I know, conditions would take a turn for the worse on the treed rib. Under the canopy, the shallow snow remained isothermic; I put my head down and wondered how far I would make it up. About 700 m. remained to reach the ridge; I sank boot-top in mash potatoes with the snowshoes. Some knee-deep sections made me reconsider... Just as I would prepare to turn around, slightly firmer snow would entice me further... Nearing the ridge, I was challenged with deeper snow yet; close to tears and cursing freely, I persevered! Once on the ridge, travelling was enjoyable and straightforward. Under blue sky, I savored the view and enjoyed a lengthy break below the summit. Returning wasn't without its challenges, the treed rib was even softer than on the ascent. The steepness at the top helped the descent but once I got in the lower forest, I post-holed in my previous steps. When I reached the cutblock, I was not surprised when my first steps sank to ground. Plowing through that deep and heavy snow was difficult but funny at the same time, as I pulled fireweed and shrubbery from the ground with my snowshoes! Once on the forestry road, the excitement and labor was over. I slowly returned to the car...
old shack

Remnants of a shack along the way.

fire barrel

A fire barrel.

ascent cutblock

The ascent cutblock comes into view.


I head up near the forest's edge on firm snow.

midway on the ridge

The south-west side of the ridge offers pleasant terrain.

almost there

Nearing the summit.

nice view

The Dogtooth Range.


Looking north-west from the top.


Mount Laussedat.

at the top

Looking back from the summit cairn.


Redburn Peak (left) and Mount McBeath (right).

looking back at the top

It was very warm in this dished section just below the top.

goat and mcbeath

Stunning view south-east, Hedberg Peak to the right.

heading down

I regained the ridge in the gully.


Snow snail.

last bit of good travel

The ridge leading back down to the treed rib.

the ridge

The summit ridge.

back down the treed rib

Following my trench.

steep rib

The steepness helped upon return.
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