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Bald Mountain and Copperstain Mountain
Timestamp Free: 2018.02.21 - 11:53:17
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains / Dogtooth Range
(3 days) Elevation Gain: 1300m
Participants: Dan Richardson, Clara Foulds
Difficulty: 2: Some off-trail, easy routefinding, short sections of scrambling to low Class 3, easy fords
A variation on the standard Spillimacheen/Bald Mountain and Grizzly Col/Copperstain Mountain route as described in the Hikes Around Invermere book.
The Spillimacheen (henceforth Spilli) River headwaters are one of those areas where it's hard to tell how much visitation there is. It's the farthest trail from Invermere in the Hikes Around Invermere by Matt Gunn , so it probably isn't one of the more commonly done hikes by most people that use that book. As well, it's not on the goldenhikes.ca website that lists all of the trails around Golden. Now folks from the area are no stranger to 30-40km stints on backroads to access trailheads, but at 60km, just driving to the trailhead probably gives some people pause (though it shouldn't, as the Spilli FSR provides pretty fast travel). But already, we can see that a decent portion of the hiking community of the two closest towns probably hasn't been to the area. With Parks Canada essentially closing the upper Beaver Valley Trail and the Copperstain Trail from the Glacier National Park side in 2009, that also cuts down on people getting to the area. Even finding someone at Parks who knew the area well enough to answer my questions has been quite the process. Still, Purcell Mountain Lodge has been operating on Bald Mountain for a quarter-century and surely must put the area on the map a bit. Also, I'd heard that people mountain bike into the area, which was corroborated by the tire tracks we saw.
Clara and I had tried to do this trip last year, but had taken the wrong road (the Mussio book of lies strikes again). This year at the last minute I worried if there would even still be a trail with the likely drop in usage, but luckily I was able to find a trip report online of someone who'd been in the last few years.
Day One - Trailhead to Bald Mountain
The Spilli FSR is well marked with km posts. The Matt Gunn book says the road is at 55.7km...
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