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Horsing Around up Granite Creek (Mount Findlay)
Timestamp Free: 2019.10.20 - 16:09:26
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains
  (9 days)
Participants: Sandra McGuinness, Peter Jordan, Maurice de St. Jorre, Ken Holmes, Hamish Mutch, Doug Brown, Eva Boehringer, Will Neustaeder, John Halliday, Jane Weller, and Kumo the Dog. Moderate snow, easy glacier travel, and up to low fifth class climbing on solid rock.
A telling of the KMC's 2004 Climbing Camp at the head of Granite Creek in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. Mount Findlay, Mount Clutterbuck
"Expected camp location is only 3 or 4 km from where the horses drop us off,".

I can still hear myself telling applicants for the 2004 KMC Climbing Camp, "and judging by the aerial photo and first-hand reports, the travel looks pretty good" I continued, "but you just never know".

This year's KMC Climbing Camp was a bit of a pilgrimage for me. In 1994, Sandra, Mark Young, and I attempted to ski from St Mary's Alpine Park to Panorama - the Southern Purcells Traverse. A collection of meteorological (snow, snow, rain, rain) and nutritional (food cache sunk into lake) catastrophes came together at Lone Cairn Lake below Mt. Findlay. See Mount Findlay and Lone Cairn Lake. Our forced retreat was 3 hard days through difficult terrain with abysmal weather and no food. A spanking like that can not go unanswered, so I vowed to return one day.

Ten years had passed, but return I did in late July 2004 with 9 other climbers for the 2004 KMC Climbing Camp. Mount Findlay lies at the head of Granite Creek in the heart of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy where air support is not permitted. See Mount Findlay. Therefore a walk of close to 40 km was required to reach our intended base camp location. Walking that far, with only horse trails to follow (if we're lucky), and with 9 days of food and a full mountaineering pack is not something my old body would enjoy. During the planning of camp, I figured that if I wanted anyone other than Sandra (the wife) and Kumo (the dog) to join me this year, I needed to find a way to reduce the suffering required to get in and out. The only answer was an expedition in the old style: a multi-day approach using packhorses to carry our great piles of gear.

The plan was simple: while we walked with only day packs, Mike...

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