Snowy Mountain

elevation: 2,589 m.
height gain: 1,170 m.
area: Keremeos,BC
map 82 E/4

There are five approaches referenced on Bivouac; all but one are from the west and are multi-day trips. The eastern access via the Susap FSR described by Stephen Skog (on Bivouac) mentions an ascent of the narrow north-east ridge and the broad east ridge; he spent quite some time looking for a trail in upper Shoudy Creek to no avail. The route I will describe is similar to his. Firstly, I must warn that the Susap FSR is steep and narrow with severe drop-offs; it is very committing with nearly no places for vehicles to cross.
From Crowsnest Highway, find Chopaka Road, 022398, and cross the bridge. Continue to Chopaka Road N, 008393 and turn right; after 200 meters, turn left onto Susap service road that isn't marked, 007394. Follow the steep service road; when the grade eases, look for an intersection, 989398, and turn left. Follow this road keeping right at 985384; we parked at a switchback, 969377 but it is possible to continue a bit further 963377. The crude trail begins from there, it isn't well defined; look for blazed trees and cut deadfall. I've included pictures of Google Earth with waypoints to help with finding the elusive crude trail. Once in the sub-alpine, the route to the summit is straightforward.
NOTE: Research reveals that the Susap FSR can be gated and may require permission from the Lower Similkameen Band; visit this link:

susap fsr

Susap-Shoudy Creek FSR.

location of trailhead

Location of the trailhead.

crude trail

Waypoints to facilitate following the crude trail.
Scramble: RT 11.5; 6.5 up. Snowy Mountain is a massive peak that rises 2000 meters from the Similkameen Valley; it is the eastmost summit of the Canadian Cascades. Its bulk is stately; from the summit of Apex Mountain, it caught our attention. Milan mentioned he wished to go on a backpacking trip there with his kids. A couple of weeks after, he planned a reconnaissance of the access via Susap FSR. The service road didn't look promising; after walking the first stretch, Milan said it was drivable and that he would commit to it when we would return. Three weeks passed before we set out towards Keremeos to climb Snowy Mountain. We got onto the service road quite late; after about an hour and a half, we parked the truck at a switchback. It was 4 PM when we started hiking. We didn't follow the road because it veered in the wrong direction and ended (according to my GPS); in hindsight, we should have because it continues for a fair distance and leads to the crude trail we stumbled on. Instead, we bushwhacked in a climbing traverse and eventually met with the trail. The crude trail handrails, at some distance, Shoudy Creek on the north side. It meanders through charred trees to a saddle before climbing the broad eastern ridge. The recent 2018 fire has rendered the forest floor void of undergrowth, granting enjoyable hiking. At times, the trail may be difficult to locate and follow. However, if the path is lost momentarily, open forest facilitates bushwhacking. We hiked at a pleasant pace and stopped several times. Higher up on the ridge, we veered off the trail to follow the ridge proper. Once we sighted our objective, we picked a flat area sheltered from the wind and set up our tent. We made a fire and ate dinner as dusk fell upon us; it was an early night. The following day, we awoke fairly early, made a fire, and had breakfast; we started hiking after that. The gradual ascent is pleasant, granting beautiful scenery along the way. The unstable weather included rain in the forecast for the late afternoon; low-lying clouds engulfed mountain tops. We easily made it to the top, where we enjoyed a fine summit stay despite reduced views. Following a casual hike back to our camp, we packed up and started descending; we hoped to reach the truck before rainfall. The trail was easy to find and follow for the most part. We stayed on it until it connected with the road. We drove down the mountain as it started to rain heavily; our timing was impeccable. We were all satisfied with this adventure. We agreed that it grants amazing views and pleasant hiking; it's also possible to execute this trip in one long day. It is safe to say that the crux is the drive to the trailhead; the approach on the service road is long and committing.

susap service road

The steep Susap FSR gains height rapidly.

narrow road

The road is narrow with very few places to cross other vehicles.

mountain cows

Mountain cows.

easy bushwhacking

Easy bushwhacking at the start of our hike.

brief break

Taking one of many brief breaks.

crude trail

Taking advantage of a crude trail.

looking back

Looking across the Similkameen Valley towards Mount Kobau.

leaving the trail

Leaving the trail to hike along the ridge proper.


 The sun is settting as the mountain comes into view.

objective comes into view

We get a glimpse of the ascent ridge and the objective.

nice evening

Enjoying a nice evening in the wild.


Boot-skiing competition.


Picture courtesy of Milan Kubik.

weather isn'e perfect

The weather isn't perfect but the hike is quite delightful.

baldy mountain is obscured

The eastern view as we gain height gradually.

vast ridge

The vast ridge grants a pleasant walk on grasses and rock.

warrior or antenna

Warrior or antenna?

north-east ridge

Looking at Snowy's north-east ridge.

summit is shrouded

The summit is shrouded in low-lying cloud.

cathedral provincial park

Cathedral Provincial Park beyond Snowy's south-west ridge.

typical terrain

Typical terrain on the upper mountain.

looking back

Looking back.

summit ahead

A notch precedes the summit.

descending the notch

Descending the notch.

scrambling to the top

Scrambling to the summit.

chopaka mountain

Looking back towards Chopaka Mountain in the US.

on the summit

On the summit!

great feat

Great feat for the kids.

summit selfie

Summit selfie.
Picture courtesy of Milan Kubik.

northern view

Obscured northern view.

summit register

Thrilled to have found the summit register.

leaving the top

Leaving the top.

back at the notch

Back at the notch.

leaping to the snow

Leaping to the snow.



erecting a beam

Erecting a beam with carved initials on it.

casual descent

Enjoying a casual descent.

thumbs up

Thumbs up!

heading down

Heading down before the weather deteriorates.

giant couch

Shoftly after the saddle, we stopped on this giant couch.

resuming our descent

Resuming our descent on the crude trail.

the trail meets the road

The trail connects with the road.

the trail is hard to distinguish

Looking back, the trail is hard to distinguish.

great timing

Great timing, it starts to rain on the drive down the mountain.

susap road is steep

Susap FSR is steep and narrow with significant drop-offs.
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