Tower Peak

elevation: 2,460 m. height gain: 1,220 m.
area: Parson,BC map 82 N/2
2009-Oct-11


Find a dirt road on the east side of highway 95 just north of the general store in Parson, 237592. Follow to a T-junction, 257600, and turn right. Take the first left (300 meters), 259598, and drive on the main road avoiding several branch roads. Take the left fork at 277592 and follow to the landing, 268602. High clearance vehicle recommended. The goal is to gain a ramp that leads to the ascent gully, 276606. The gully is steep; bluffs are bypassed climber's right on the treed rib. Higher up on the rib, bluffs forced us back in the gully, which we followed until its end. We then skirted an impressive rock wall back to the treed rib. From there, the summit ridge is quickly gained.
tower peak

Tower Peak from Parson.

from the truck


Our ascent from the truck.
Scramble: RT 9.0; 4.75 up. The milder temperature and forecasted sunny sky prompted us to stay in our region. I had been contemplating Tower Peak for a while but no obvious route presented itself. Fab spotted a possible way up off Google Earth. Although the route appeared interrupted by several bluffs, we hoped the treed terrain would offer breaks. We set off with all the navigational tools necessary. Route finding starts from the highway where you must find the access road; it looks like a driveway between two houses. We followed it to the appropriate landing. From the truck, the route appears impassable and puzzling. Already feeling defeated, we decided to go and check it out at least. Fab's good navigational skills came in handy as he picked his way up, finding the best moderate options for me to follow up the crux section. After numerous bluffs and some back and forth between the gully and the treed rib, we finally attained the summit ridge. The weather was not the best, snow squalls on the ascent and lack of visibility above. Nonetheless, the ridge walk was pleasant; we followed goat tracks. The summit cairn is not big but it was a great sight. The view must be just as great! On the way down, we soon realized the skiff of snow was advantageous for backtracking. Lower down, Fab's flagging was a welcome sight; we really had to put our route finding caps on to retrace our descent precisely. This scramble is moderate at best; being off route would not be desirable!
typical terrain

We encounter bluffs from the start.

approaching the crux

We must find our way up the treed rib, climber's right of the impassable gully.

steep gully


The gully. This is where we went right.


crux


Going up these bluffs is the crux.


chimney


This chimney leads to the treed rib and easier terrain.


treed rib


Bluffs are visible ahead and eventually pushed us in the upper gully, climber's left.


another bluff


On the treed rib nearing the summit ridge.


summit ridge


We lost visibility on the ridge.


further along


Trees at the ridgeline.


false summit


We skirted this bluff on the left towards the false summit.


at the top


At the top; slightly anticlimactic!


heading down


Heading back along the summit ridge, visibility returns.


columbia valley


The top is just at cloud level.


summit ridge


Looking back at the false summit.


leaving the summit ridge


Leaving the ridge crest, descending towards the ascent gully.


last glance


Clouds are lifting.


sheer bluffs


Random picture of sheer bluffs along the way.


back in the gully


Backtracking along the rock wall at the top of the ascent gully.


top of the chimney


Top of the chimney.


bottom of chimney


From the bottom of the chimney, we continued ahead to find another short break in the bluffs.


crux


Looking back, the red line shows the way to the crux.


the route


Our route, crux circled. Picture taken from across the valley.
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