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Lake Bonny Gem and Mount McLeod
Timestamp Free: 2020.04.05 - 01:06:06
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains / Pioneer Group / Settler Group
  (4 days)     Elevation Gain: 3600m
Participants: Dan Richardson, Kyle Gibson
Difficulty: 3: Several sections of mild exposure and use of handholds, a few with moderate exposure (up to mid class 3). Lots of loose rock and side-hilling. Short section crossing bare glacier unprotected. Moderate routefinding.
Traverse of Settler Group into the Pioneer Group to Lake Bonny Gem. Attained summits of Mount Beguin, Mount Wilkinson, and Mount McLeod.
Prologue

Many of my trip ideas these days seem to be coming from a combination of flying around Google Earth and looking at the locations of old fly-in hiking camps that the Kootenay Mountaineering Club ("KMC" henceforth) has held over the years and wondering if I could get in on foot. I'd been looking at Lake Bonny Gem (occasionally spelled Bonnie Gem in the past) for a year and wondering how strenuous the approach over the Settler Group would be, and whether ascending to the McLeod-McLanders col was too loose or steep, how much of the glacier at the head of Noel Creek still existed, and what lay under all the white patches on Google Earth (no summer imagery for much of the Settler Group). Some google searches quickly showed that Lake Bonny Gem was a rarely-visited place (couldn't find anything online except the KMC camps), so that added fuel to the fire, plus I started to wonder if a traverse of the Purcells was possible by connecting Lake Bonny Gem to Eagle Nest Lake and then heading out South Toby Creek.

My main goal had always been Lake Bonny Gem, but the Bivouac side of me pushed for a summit, so we were hoping to try one of the routes to Mount Lake at some point. See Mount Lake.

History of Lake Bonny Gem and the Pioneer Group
-1915: Three timber cruisers working up Carney Creek (the biggest tributary of Fry Creek) scrambled up Mount Lillian and named it, then the next day bushwhacked up to Lake Bonny Gem, and also named it. One of the party continued on to scramble up what I take to be the south ridge of Mount Lake, and summitted it, leaving a cairn.

From a member of the above party: "In the meantime I looked around for indications of any previous visit of human beings to the spot, and found none; no sign that camp ever...

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