North Queest Mountain (Gorge Loop)

elevation: 2,116 m.
height gain: 1,000 m.
area: Craigellachie,BC
map 82 M/2
2021-Mar-20


From Craigellachie, drive on Lybarger Road. Turn right on the Craigellachie-Ansteg FSR (Gorge FSR). Stay on the main road until a pullout near the 12-kilometer marker, 750546; there's a prominent drainage on the west side. I ascended the drainage on its southern side slopes and made my way into the draw and onto North Queest Mountain's south-east ridge. I followed the ridge to a false summit, 723541; then, I dropped down to the connecting saddle and climbed to the true summit. To return, I descended the north ridge partway and went straight down to a small meadow on the east side, 713552. From there, I followed the lay of the land in the draw, 719555; aiming for a large cutblock, 724556. At the cutblock, the road is visible and is a couple of kilometers further up near the 14-kilometer marker.

It is also possible to access this peak via Queest Mountain.


trailhead

Parked near the 12-kilometer marker, the arrow indicates the drainage I ascended.

ascent drainage


The ascent drainage.
Snowshoe trip: RT 7.25; 4.5 up. I had planned to ascend this peak on my way out from an overnight trip up Queest Mountain but circumstances led to a hasty retreat after summiting. Honestly, I'm kinda glad it didn't pan out on that weekend because it allowed me to discover The Gorge. Research revealed that The Gorge is a popular ski touring destination in the Shuswap. The north-east slopes are very steep and boast deep powder snow. Furthermore, there's more than one way to access the terrain; hence granting numerous micro areas to visit. Being solo, I chose to go on snowshoes. After parking, I located an old uptrack and followed it up the drainage. There were ski tracks everywhere which is a testament to the region's popularity. As I gained height, the amount of new snow increased. I wanted to reach the south-east ridge as soon as possible so I elected to climb straight up along trees. Visibility was poor so I glanced at my GPS once in a while. I was relieved when the angle eased and I stepped on a bench near the ascent ridge. Travelling very steep terrain solo with that amount of fresh snow feels unnerving. The pleasant stretch on the ridge took me to a false summit where I got a good glimpse of North Queest. I also scrutinized the north-east drainage which I intended to descend back to the road. Shortly thereafter, I dropped down to the connecting saddle and climbed to the true summit. It was very windy at the top and visibility came and went. I found respite from the wind by a cluster of rimmed trees and enjoyed the beauty of the sun filtering through multi-layered clouds, I left after taking pictures. I followed the north ridge partway then whooshed down the slopes to the small meadow; that would have been an epic ski run! My exit from there was quite straightforward and surprisingly hassle-free. I reached the road about 2 kilometers up from where I parked. After a good break, I lollygagged back to my truck feeling content. I hope to return on skis someday, The Gorge is a gem for skiers.






following an uptrack

Following an uptrack on the south side of the drainage.

typical terrain

Typical terrain in the draw.

poor visibility

The visibility is greatly reduced higher up.

looking back


Looking back at this amazing skiable terrain.


lots of fresh snow


There's lots of fresh snow, skiing would be fabulous.


upper draw


The upper draw is very steep.


more steep slopes


More steep slopes; luckily, there isn't any slab formation.


angle eases


The angle eases before reaching the south-east ridge.


on the ridge


On the ridge.


on the false summit


North Queest Mountain from the false summit.


north-east bowl


A glimpse down the north-east bowl. These steep slopes converge at a small meadow.


connecting saddle


Looking back at the false summit from the connecting saddle.


ascending to true summit


Ascending to the true summit.


north queest mountain


North Queest Mountain ahead.


at the top


At the top.


south-eastern view


South-eastern view over the false summit.


queest mountain


View south-west towards Queest Mountain.


sun filtering through clouds


Visibility is greatly reduced but the sun filtering through the clouds is quite special.


leaving the top


Looking back at both summits as I leave the top.


caballero peak


Caballero Peak on the opposite side of the Gorge FSR.


north ridge


Heading down the north ridge.


dropping into north-east bowl


Dropping into the north-east bowl.


descending to the meadow


Descending very steep slopes to the meadow.


the bowl from the meadow


The bowl from the small meadow.


following open terrain


Following open terrain down the draw.


straightforward exit


Straightforward exit from the small meadow.


large cutblock


At the large cutblock above the road.


back at the road


Back at the road near the 14-kilometer marker.
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