On the morning of 23 July 2016, everyone got up reasonably early to eat breakfast, and we then piled into my car to drive about a kilometre down the road to the signed Mount Hosmer trailhead. To get started, we hiked the steep but well-maintained trail up to a saddle between Ghost Rider Peak and an unnamed outlier to the northwest. We then continued up a short moderate section to reach a viewpoint overlooking the town of Fernie. From here, the trail resumes a steep grade up the north ridge of Ghost Rider Peak before ending at a knob short of the main summit block. When we arrived at the knob, we ran into a trio of local hikers who had passed us on the trail earlier in the morning. While everyone seemed content for the moment to stop at the knob, I was already eyeing the crux section on the main summit block. Before reaching the base of the crux, there are two somewhat exposed pinnacles that need to be climbed over or bypassed. Simon and Zosia were not comfortable continuing past these pinnacles, and they decided to turn around and look for an alternate route to Mount Hosmer.
The crux is a 10-metre high crack with disturbingly loose holds in a
few places. I did not find climbing the crux to be technically
challenging, but the exposure can be a bit unnerving. While Helwig
rated the crux as "definitely class IV, if not V", I would rate it as a
hard Class 3, but that is just my amateur opinion. Marta and Jason
followed me up the crux without too much trouble, and soon after, we were
all standing on the summit of Ghost Rider Peak. In order to
continue to Mount Hosmer, we had to drop down to a gap separating Ghost
Rider Peak's main summit block from its slightly lower southeastern
outlier. Marta initially tried to follow the connecting ridge down,
but she soon reached a drop-off that was too steep to down-climb.
We were seemingly stuck until I spotted a south-facing gully that
appeared to be reasonable to descend. As it turned out, the most
troublesome section was near the bottom. The gully spills over the
entrance of a shallow cave, and the holds here are all down-sloping and
small or non-existent. This was definitely Class 4 terrain, and I
actually ended up jumping down the last metre onto a pile of scree at the
entrance to the cave. Jason followed suit and also jumped down this
same section, but Marta was reluctant to jump due to her history of knee
problems. I tried to give her some assistance, but she ended up
falling on me when I lost my footing on the scree at the cave entrance.
Marta scraped a finger in the process, but otherwise, she was none the
worse for wear. With all of us safely down the gully, we crossed
the aforementioned gap and hiked to the top of the southeastern outlier.
From there, we descended without too much trouble to the low point of the
connecting ridge to Mount Hosmer.
|Hartley Lake campground is located close to the Mount Hosmer trailhead.|
|In this view from the trail, Ghost Rider Peak is partially shrouded by clouds.|
|The group approaches a striking crag near the ridge crest.|
|The group hikes to a viewpoint overlooking the town of Fernie in the distance.|
|Hartley Lake is visible from the viewpoint.|
|The trail is steep again near the end.|
|The group ascends the last bit before the end of trail. Ghost Rider Peak is momentarily hidden by mist.|
|The mist lifts a bit to reveal the summit block of Ghost Rider Peak.|
|A couple of pinnacles have to be climbed over to reach the base of the summit block.|
|Marta and Jason are perched on top of the two pinnacles beyond the knob at trail's end.|
|Sonny leads the way up the crux.
Photo courtesy of Marta Wojnarowska
|Marta watches as Sonny works his way
up the crack.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
|Jason watches as Marta climbs up the crux.|
|It is Jason's turn to climb up.|
|Marta and Sonny monitor Jason as he
climbs the crux.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
|Sonny, Marta and Jason stand on the summit of Ghost Rider Peak (2379 metres).|
|The mist clears to reveal the connecting ridge to Mount Hosmer.|
|Jason begins descending a steep gully on the south side of Ghost Rider Peak's summit block.|
|While Marta waits above, Jason prepares to jump down the most awkward spot in the gully. Below Jason is a shallow cave.|
|It is Marta's turn to slither down the steep gully.|
|Marta reaches the awkward Class 4 section of the gully above the shallow cave.|
|Here is a look back at Ghost Rider Peak's summit block from its southeastern outlier.|
|Jason and Marta celebrate on top of Ghost Rider Peak's southeastern outlier (2370 metres).|
|Marta and Jason descend the east ridge of the outlier.|
|Marta squeezes down a crack.|
|While waiting for Marta to catch up, Jason checks out the impressive south-facing cliffs of Ghost Rider Peak.|
|Here is a comprehensive view of the entire traverse of Ghost Rider Peak from the knob at trail's end (upper right) to the connecting ridge to Mount Hosmer (foreground).|
For our return trip, we followed the route that Simon and Zosia used to bypass Ghost Rider Peak. We returned to the connecting ridge and descended into the cirque below. From there, we traversed scree slopes until we gained the flagged trail which led us back to the main trail. At this junction, I built a cairn since we had all missed the flagging on the way up. The rest of our hike back to the trailhead was quick and uneventful.
We subsequently returned to the campground for dinner followed by
songs around a wonderful campfire to cap off a successful and enjoyable
day in the mountains.
|Sunshine illuminates Ghost Rider Peak. The bypass trail to Mount Hosmer can be seen in the scree slope at bottom right.|
|After reuniting with Simon and Zosia, the group approaches the summit ridge of Mount Hosmer.|
The summit ridge of Mount Hosmer is mostly an easy hike.
|Jason, Zosia, Simon, Marta and Sonny arrive at the summit of Mount Hosmer (2504 metres).|
|This is looking back at Mount Hosmer's summit from the east end of the summit ridge. The big peak on the right is Mount Bisaro.|
|The ridge immediately to the north is unnamed, but visible on the horizon is Mount Washburn.|
|Simon heads toward the low point of the connecting ridge between Mount Hosmer and Ghost Rider Peak.|
|To the southwest is the highest peak of Three Sisters.|
|Jason and Simon drop from the ridge into the cirque below Ghost Rider Peak.|
|The bypass trail can be picked up just around this corner.|
|After dinner, Zosia and Marta sing songs at Hartley Lake campground.|
|Zosia picks up Marta's guitar and is ready for her world tour.|
Distance: 13.8 kilometres
Total Time: 9 hours 27 minutes
Net Elevation Gain Ghost Rider Peak: 935 metres
Net Elevation Gain Mount Hosmer: 1060 metres