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Caribou Ridge - Beautiful Meadows and a Sporting Finish
Timestamp Free: 2019.09.20 - 12:05:19
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Selkirk Mountains / Slocan Ranges / Kokanee Range
  (1 days)
Participants: Kim Kratky, Doug Brown Up to class 4 rock. Talus or moderate snow depending on the time of year.
A telling of an ascent of the high point of Caribou Ridge via Ben Hur Creek.
I have a good friend in Nelson, (Mr.) Kim Kratky, whom I call Kratky-san in deference to his encyclopedic knowledge of the mountains of the Kootenays. Kim can tell you, without checking his notes, what date he climbed a given peak, how high that peak is, who he climbed it with, and most importantly, the current road conditions for accessing that peak. Even if he climbed said peak twenty years ago. But ask his wife, and she just wishes he could remember where he put the car keys.

Anyway, the trouble with trying to plan an outing with Kratky-san, is that unless you are happy to drive 4 hours each way, it is tough to find an interesting (or even no so interesting) objective that he hasn't climbed at least three times. The cool part is, that if you do find a mutually acceptable destination, chances are you will be the first party in ten years. During an ascent of Mt Chipman last year, I noticed that nearby Caribou Ridge is unfortunately named. While it does have a very elongated shape, it is quite rugged, is the highest peak in the area, and an unroped ascent is anything but assured for a climber of my meager talents. And amazingly Kratky-san hadn't climbed it.

After a 6:30 rendezvous in Nelson, we drove to the Ben Hur Creek trailhead via Kaslo. Against all odds, the bush was dry, and on this second time around, the trail didn't seem too bad. We were at the first lake in 1:05 entranced by the enticing rock of the north ridge of Chipman. All unclimbed, of course.

On our trip up Chipman last year, we followed the main drainage up Ben Hur Creek, and struggled for hours through boulders in the freezer through house size range. Kim, however, expertly led me up a vastly superior route to the upper basin. He traversed around the lake's west shore to a point about half way...

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