Fairmont Mountain

elevation: 2,628 m. height gain: 700 m. (from the landing)
area: Canal Flats,BC map 82 J/5

Access Canal Flats via its northern exit, Burns Ave or Grainger Road from the south. At the east end of town, Burns Ave heads north and turns into Kootenay Forest Government Road (gravel). Follow the service road along and past Mount De Smet, look for a well-used secondary road that runs along Dry Creek (indicated on the map), 932681. Dry Creek FSR is about 15 kilometers long with a height gain of nearly 1,200 meters. Despite several side branch roads, it is easy to stay on the proper service road as it works its way towards Fairmont Mountain from the south-east; high clearance vehicle recommended. Park at a small landing before the end of the road, 876727 and hike on a skid road towards the drainage. From the drainage, veer climber's right into treed terrain to gain the notched east ridge. Negotiating the east ridge is a route finding challenge with moderately difficult sections. At the summit block, we traversed on the north aspect to gain the west ridge, avoiding difficult scrambling. A very short airy ridge precedes the summit.
service road

Our objective from Dry Creek FSR.


Parked at a landing.
Scramble: RT 7.0; 3.0 up from the landing. Fairmont Hot Springs is a popular destination, yet there's very little information available on the internet about Fairmont Mountain. Surprisingly enough, Google Earth reveals a forestry road that skirts the foot of the mountain; feeling lazy and tired, we planned a visit to Fairmont hoping for a short scramble. Unsure of the condition of the access road, we brought the ATV. The quad ride was comfortable and efficient, knocking off 12.6 kilometers and 1,050 meters of height gain in 40 minutes. From the landing, our route to the ridge seemed easy; after that, we would have to go and see... When we neared the east ridge, we started looking for the path of least resistance around several outcrops; just like last weekend on Glamorgan Peak. We travelled mainly on the southern aspect but not exclusively, building some cairns along the way. We encountered a couple of short sections requiring hands-on scrambling on relatively exposed terrain but other than that, getting to the summit block is mostly a route finding exercise. We decided to avoid the scramble up the summit block from the east; instead, we traversed on the north aspect and reached the false summit from the west ridge. From there, the cairned summit is very near. The connecting ridge is narrow, big rocks precariously placed don't encourage confidence. We carefully carried on and reached the top feeling thrilled and partially relieved... still had to go down... We found a big 4" diameter plastic pipe register (hard to miss) and spent some time reading entries. We noticed a familiar name, Ferenc had made the summit via the hot springs on west side. That made us smile, we were pleased to see that some scramblers took interest in the western Rockies. We didn't stay too long, we carefully backtracked down the ridge and made it to the quad in good time. This was an unexpected successful trip, we're delighted to share this nice fall objective.
ascent drainage

Ascending the drainage and veering right into treed terrain.

nearing the ridge

Nearing the notched east ridge.

circumventing an outcrop

Circumventing this outcrop on the south side.

in the shade

Skooting over on the shady aspect to bypass the next outcrop.

negotiating another outcrop

Back on the sunny side, we dropped down a little to negotiate the next obstacle.

upper bowl

Beyond the obstacle, this upper bowl leads to the ridge crest.

looking back

Looking back.

typical terrain

Typical terrain on the east ridge.

couple of exposed moves

This outcrop requires a couple of exposed moves near the top.

summit in sight

The summit comes in view (left center).


Stint of hands-on.

getting closer

Nearing the summit block.

summit block

The summit block appears difficult from here.

around the summit block

Going around instead of tackling the summit block from the east.

north side

Some snow on the north side.

west ridge

Reaching the false summit from the west ridge, the true summit is at the far right.

columbia lake

Looking down the west ridge with Columbia Lake below.

freaky traverse

The short traverse to the true summit is freaky!

writing in the register

Writing in the register.

kootenay valley

Looking south over the Kootenay Valley.

precarious moves

Precarious moves on the connecting ridge.

superb fall weather

Superb october weather.



narrow section

Careful at a narrow section.

exposed bit

Exposed bit around the outcrop.

upper bowl

Down the upper bowl.


Traversing towards the ascent drainage.

ascent drainage

Reaching the ascent drainage.

our route

A glimpse at where we gained the broken east ridge.
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