For many years, Canadian government Map 92.I.05 lay neglected in a cardboard box, only to be thrown aside when digging for other maps. It is however a difficult map to ignore. The Fraser River runs north-south through the east third of the map with the Stein River running east-west along the bottom. But its real fascination is a high divide perched atop an incredible blob of contour lines just northwest of the confluence between the these two rivers. Stein Mountain is perched on the southeast end of the divide while Siwhe Mountain is on the northwest end. The high ridge that connects these two peaks had been the object of my desires for quite some time.
The big question had always been: "how do you get past the bluff-infested bush?" All approaches looked too grueling to contemplate, until Don Funk called to tell me that he was going there the following day. He returned a couple of days later with the news that he had climbed Stein Mountain via an arduous ridge that runs diagonally down to the Fraser River. I checked Fairley's guide and it mentions that you can access the north end of the area via a good trail along Siwhe Creek. I decided to give the traverse a try by using the trail as an approach and Don's ridge as an exit.
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I left Vancouver in early morning and reached Lytton before the scorching heat had a chance take hold. Before crossing the Fraser River on the ferry, I decided to get a good look at Don's ridge by driving north past the ferry along the paved road on the east side of the river until I was right across from the ridge. A forested apron that runs down from the upper part of the ridge seemed to offer a route around the tricky rock bluffs that Don had encountered. By taking a compass bearing...
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