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Traversing East of the Gamsby and Kimsquit Rivers
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.20 - 22:50:30
Ranges: North America Ranges / BC Interior Mountains / Hazelton Mountains / Tahtsa Ranges / Tochquonyalla Range
(15 days) Elevation Gain: 11217m
Participants: Dave Williams, Terry Jarvis
Difficulty: 4: Rugged, some big bush wacking, some roped glacier for peaks.
Summer traverse of ridge between pristine valleys sandwiched between the Kitlope and Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
I pondered over maps for quite some time before deciding on a destination for a summer 2009 traverse. Mark Grist and I have talked on numerous occasions about the discontinuous ridge system bounded by the Kitlope River to the west, the Kimsquit and Kapella valleys to the south, the Gamsby River to the east and the Tsaytis valley to the north. This is an area of pristine valleys sandwiched between the Kitlope and Tweedsmuir Provincial Parks. The 1:50000 scale maps have a 20 m contour interval with plenty of missing contours which makes it appear impressively rugged and difficult to judge whether the terrain is negotiable. In addition, a south to north traverse from Kimsquit Lake to Tahtsa Lake would require a crossing of the Gamsby River. With all these considerations I was unwilling to commit myself to what might otherwise be a wonderfully wild and remote route. However while continuing to scour the maps, I noticed a feasible looking route to the east of the Kimsquit and Gamsby valleys, with a float plane pick up at Tahtsa Lake to finish. This route would provide good views to reconnoiter the more westerly line.
On the morning of Sunday July 12th 2009 Terry Jarvis and I flew into Salahagen Lake (53°13.4' N, 127°3.5' E) with Nick Hawes of Lake District Air from Burns Lake. We had difficulty finding a spot on the shore to drop us off since the water level was high and the shoreline awkwardly flooded. But soon we were shouldering our two-week loads of food and supplies through the forest west to the col (53°13.4' N, 127°5.7' E), situated between Mounts Cosgrove and Kastberg.
From the col we descended SW for 1.5 km to the 4000 ft level and then traveled NW, descending initially through delightful meadows and then bush to the Smaby Creek valley. We opted to walk north...
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