Rating: 5 stars.
Difficulty: Very Difficult.
Distance: 30 km.
Description: The Gold Range within Monashee Provincial Park simply put is spectacular. For years I flew over this mountain range with the plan to one day explore them on foot. During the summer of 2007 I got my chance. A six day traverse from south to north of the Gold Range. It turned out to be the most challenging and rewarding traverse I have ever done. My wife and I started out at Sol Mountain Lodge and ended up just north of Gates Peak roughly following the height of land. There are however many possibilities for start and end locations. It is possible to drive into the Sol Mountain Lodge. Retreat from the Traverse would be difficult. There are very few access points between start and finish that would not involve long arduous bushwhacks through valleys laden with devils club. We got picked up by helicopter at the head of the north fork of Thor Creek, but the plan someday is to fly back into this spot and continue all the way to Revelstoke. You want an adventure? This is the one.
Directions: Start at the Sol Mountain Lodge. See the description for the approach. Head for the low pass directly to the north. Descend from this pass and intersect the trail that leads to Fawn Lake. From here head for the Valley of the Moon. Contour to the east until you reach a point where you can descend onto Gates Ledge. If you try to descend too early you will get cliffed out. It seemed to me there was only one spot to descend and even that was steep. Once onto Gates Ledge climb it until you reach the small lakes below Icebound Lake. Contour across the head of Ledge Creek and ascend the pass that leads to the Odin Vigue Pass. Ascend the bowl to the north. Once at the top traverse the ridge and drop into the north fork of Odin Creek only low enough to make the traverse to Ten Cent Lake. Climb the southwest ridge of Kelly Peak leading to its shoulder. Early season you could probably descend the Kelly Glacier. We did the traverse late season so I chose to continue along the north shoulder of Kelly until its end. A loose descent gets you onto the lower Kelly Glacier. Turn northwest and head for the low col. Traverse north from here on the height of land that leads to the lakes at the head of Thor Creek. Plan to pass the first lake on the west side. I chose the east side and wished I didn’t. From here head for the col that leads on to the Gates Glacier. Descend the Glacier.
- Sol Mountain Lodge: N50 26.983 W118 11.658
- Camp 1: N50 30.544 W118 12.033
- Camp 2: N50 31.983 W118 11.120
- Camp 3: N50 33.906 W118 10.170
- Camp 4: N50 34.780 W118 10.282
- Camp 5: N50 37.423 W118 10.899
- Traverse Helicopter Pickup: N50 39.037 W118 10.239