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Mount Kerr
Yoho National Park, B.C.
July 9, 2005

When Dave Stephens invited members of the RMB forum to backpack to the Stanley Mitchell Hut in Little Yoho Valley and climb four peaks in one day, it caught the attention of several scramblers. While many people showed interest, only five would join him.

On Friday morning Dave, Vern and Sonny hiked in and bagged Isolated Peak before retiring to the hut. That afternoon, Linda, Dinah and I started up Little Yoho Valley trail and reached the hut around 6:00 p.m. It rained all the way to the hut. We arrived wet and cold, but we received a warm welcome. For the first time Linda, Dinah and I met Dave and Vern. Like everyone else I've met on the forum, Dave and Vern were affable, quick to laugh and eager to bag new peaks.

It rained all night. Vern, Linda, Dinah and I shared the upper bunk at the hut — a very big bunk I hasten to add! We fell into conversation and laughter until an occupant in the lower bunk chastised us to be quiet. Meanwhile, outside the hut, Dave and Sonny shared a tent.

By the following morning, the rain had stopped, and we geared up and hit the trail to Kiwetinok Pass. Because of fresh snow, this would not be the multi-peak day that we had planned; we would only bag the north summit of Mount Kerr, as shown the NTS map. However, the south point is regarded as the true summit.

Mount Kerr is an easy scramble in dry conditions, but under snow it became a moderate scramble with a difficult crux. Nor did the weather cooperate. We started under blue skies, but clouds soon rolled in. Dave and Vern set a brisk pace while the rest of us followed far behind. All the while, we absorbed the fascinating alpine scenery around us.

We had no trouble following the trail, except to reach the pass where we had to kick-step up a steep snowbank. From the pass, we scrambled up the snowy lower slopes of Mount Kerr. It was miserable going on the snow-covered loose rocks. On a long, steep stretch of deep snow, Dave and Vern kicked in steps while Dinah, Linda and I literally followed in their footsteps.

The weather continued to deteriorate as we climbed. Clouds and mist cut off views that would probably have been spectacular on a clear day, and the biting cold forced us to add layers. There was no reason to lollygag, and we steadily moved up the mountain.

On the ridge crest, we encountered a short rock band that dropped down. We couldn't downclimb it because of the snow, so Sonny, Vern and Dave jumped down about five feet into soft snow. From there it was less than ten minutes to the summit.

I hung back for Dinah and Linda, but by the time the girls reached me, Dave and Vern had already bagged the peak and returned to the crux. Here Linda balked at doing the "leap of faith." But eventually she jumped, and Dinah and I followed. Soon we were on the summit snapping photos.

When we returned to the crux, Sonny had waited to help us. Meanwhile, Dave and Vern continued down to the pass. All five of us, however, scrambled down to the lower snowy slopes where we could glissade. We watched Dave and Vern neatly somersault over the snow edge and slide for a short ways. Sonny, on the other hand, lost control and tumbled down the slope, banging his leg on his ice axe in the process. Linda, Dinah and I simply hiked around the steep section of the snowbank.

After dropping down below the pass and out of the wind, we stopped for lunch before hiking back to the hut. We bagged a minor peak later that day, but the fun and adventure that we had that weekend remains more indelible in my mind.

KLM and GPX Tracks
Sonny's Trip Report

Dinah and Linda starting up the trail

Hiking up the trail to Stanley Mitchell Hut

A few minutes after leaving the hut, Mount Kerr comes into view

The President is far left

The trail was still dry here

Pausing to take in the scenery

Here snow covers the trail

Almost at the pass

Climbing up the snow bank on Kiwetinok Pass (mouse over for a close-up)

On top of Kiwetinok Pass

Leaving the pass to ascend the summit

Soft, fresh snow makes the ascent troublesome

Looking back at Kiwetinok Pass and Lake

Dave kicks steps into the snow with Vern following close behind

On the ridge leading to the summit

At the crux, Dave coaxes Linda to jump

Sonny, Vern and Dave scramble up the last few metres to the summit

Dinah takes the last steps to the summit

Linda and Dinah on the summit

Group shot on a break on our descent, L to R: me, Dinah, Dave, Vern, Linda and Sonny

82 N/10 Blaeberry River

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