Monashee Park Gold Range Traverse

Rating: 5 stars.

Use: Hiking/Mountaineering.

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.

Trailhead GPS:

  1. Sol Mountain Lodge: N50 26.983 W118 11.658
  2. Camp 1: N50 30.544 W118 12.033
  3. Camp 2: N50 31.983 W118 11.120
  4. Camp 3: N50 33.906 W118 10.170
  5. Camp 4: N50 34.780 W118 10.282
  6. Camp 5: N50 37.423 W118 10.899
  7. Traverse Helicopter Pickup: N50 39.037 W118 10.239

Useful Maps:

Monashee Park Height of Land Traverse 1 BaseCamp PDF (overview)

Monashee Park Height of Land Traverse 2 BaseCamp PDF

Monashee Park Height of Land Traverse 3 BaseCamp PDF

Monashee Park Height of Land Traverse 4 BaseCamp PDF

Monashee Park Height of Land Traverse 5 BaseCamp PDF

The start of the Gold Range Traverse. Sol Mountain Lodge in the background. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Alpine meadows between Big Peters and Margie Lake. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Descent to Fawn Lake. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Camp 1 at Fawn Lake. Mount Fosthall in the background. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Climbing Gates Ledge. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Evening light on Saturday Peak from Ledge Creek. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Camp 2 just below Icebound Lake. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Climbing upper Ledge Creek below Mount Skade. Ben Wilkey Collection.
At the Odin Vigue Pass. Unclimbed? North Face of Mount Odin in the background. There is a no more imposing wall in the Monashees than this. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Morning Camp 3 at the Odin Vigue Pass. The only real weather we experience on the trip. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Climbing north from the Odin Vigue Pass. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Mount Nifleheim from the head of Odin Creek. Only a couple of climbing routes exist on these peaks. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Final descent to Ten Cent Lake Camp 4 at the head of Odin Creek. In the background is Frigg Tower left and Mount Odin right. Ben Wilkey Collection.
On the shoulder of Kelly Peak. Mount Nifleheim in the background. Note the fantastic looking SW ridge of Nifleheim. Ben Wilkey Collection.
On the north shoulder of Kelly peak looking north to Gates Peak. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Descending into the Asulkan Creek from Sapphire Col. Photo: Ben Wilkey
The descent off the north end of Kelly Peak shoulder. The Crux of the whole traverse. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Camp 5 at the head of the south fork of Thor Creek. Gates Peak south aspect. The low col is the aimpoint for the traverse that puts you onto the Gates Glacier. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Descending the Gates Glacier. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Big smiles. Ice Cave at the foot of the Gates Glacier. Ben Wilkey Collection.
The end of the traverse. Gates Peak in the background. Ben Wilkey Collection.

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