Starting from an obvious paved pullout beside a large sign, I immediately entered the adjacent forest and began the long grind up the noted rib. Views are certainly lacking during this initial part of the climb, but with the warm temperatures that day, I actually welcomed the cool shade of the forest. Although the route is relentlessly steep, the bushwhacking is mercifully not too bad, and there are lots of useful game trails crisscrossing the slope. After climbing about 900 metres to reach a large cairn on the southernmost high point of Mount Berland's south ridge, I was a bit alarmed by how much time (3 hours 18 minutes) it had taken me to get this far. The true summit is still some three kilometres away to the north from here with a lot of ups and downs in between, and though this was not unexpected, I was still discouraged by the prospect of this lengthy traverse given my slow pace. Furthermore, the warm day had forced me to drink more than I was anticipating, and I was starting to run low on liquid refreshment--another oversight due in part to my mind still being in winter mode when I tend to drink less. There were still a few snow patches hidden in the trees as I continued north along the ridge, but I was not yet desperate enough to start stuffing my mouth with dirty snow! As a result, my pace slowed even more as I tried to conserve both my energy and my remaining water. As if that was not bad enough, ticks were also out in force on this day, and I was regularly flicking them off my shirt and my neck.
As I got nearer to the summit, the snow patches grew more abundant, and the terrain became more complex. Because of the isothermal snow, I opted to stick to the crest of the ridge as much as possible, but this entailed some fairly exposed scrambling which was reminiscent of the cockscomb section of Mount Crandell in Waterton National Park. At one point, I even had to hang precariously over a substantial drop from the branches of a tree that was blocking the knife-edged ridge. Mount Berland was turning out to be quite a tough little sonuvabitch! Nearly seven hours after leaving my car, I finally staggered onto the airy summit and immediately sat down to devour an apple I had been saving. Thirty minutes later, I was retracing my steps back along the ridge.
On my return
trip, I circumvented some of the tougher upper sections of the ridge by
dropping down on the west side (skier's right) and traversing the snow.
This was still not a trivial matter as I suffered a few nasty cuts and
bruises due to slipping and crashing into rocks hidden underneath the
snow. Once I reached easier ground, I put my mind on cruise control
as I re-ascended and re-descended almost every high point along the
ridge. Other than some slight route-finding uncertainty below the
southernmost high point (my GPS was not working reliably on this day),
the rest of my descent was largely uneventful. My round-trip time
turned out to be a whopping 11 hours 46 minutes (Ms. Ménard, I salute you
and your 8.0 hours with extra snow to boot!). Exhausted, I drove
into Radium Hot Springs and checked into a motel room which I had
reserved ahead of time. There is a somewhat pathetic epilogue to
this trip, but that is a story for another day. *Data courtesy of
Peakbagger.com Mount Kindersley (right of centre) is the most
prominent peak to the north. Windermere Lake (far right) is the most recognizable
landmark in this southern panorama. Across the valley to the southwest are some beautiful
Mount Nelson (far left), Mount Slade (left of centre), Mount
Delphine (right of centre), and Mount Farnham (far right).
The ascent begins at this sign beside the highway.
This is pretty much the view for the first couple of hours.
A clearing near the southernmost high
point of Mount Berland affords this view of Radium Hot Springs and
the Columbia River valley.
Beyond the southernmost high point of
Mount Berland (right) is
The true summit of Mount Berland looks
Sonny keeps on trekking along the ridge.
The route becomes more complex and
challenging near the summit (not visible here).
The summit cairn is finally in sight.
Sonny stands on the 2358-metre* summit
of Mount Berland.
tower on top of
GR710178 is readily visible to the northeast.
lies to the southeast.
This is Mount Berland as seen from
Radium Hot Springs (photograph was taken the following day).
*Data courtesy of Peakbagger.com
Mount Kindersley (right of centre) is the most prominent peak to the north.
Windermere Lake (far right) is the most recognizable landmark in this southern panorama.
Across the valley to the southwest are some beautiful peaks including Mount Nelson (far left), Mount Slade (left of centre), Mount Delphine (right of centre), and Mount Farnham (far right).