Indian Head Mountain (Chisel Peak)
Located about 21 kilometres southeast of Invermere, British Columbia (BC), Indian Head Mountain (unofficially known as Chisel Peak) is the highest mountain in the Stanford Range of the Canadian Rockies.  A scramble route for this mountain is described in the guidebook, Hikes around Invermere & the Columbia River Valley, by Aaron Cameron and Matt Gunn (C&G).  After spending the previous night at a motel in nearby Radium Hot Springs, BC, I drove out on the morning of 10 July 2010 to the trailhead for Indian Head Mountain.  I had considerable difficulty with C&G's somewhat confusing access directions and lost quite a bit of time backtracking after taking a wrong turn.  Furthermore, I was able to drive through the first washout (dry) that C&G describe but just barely.  Someone not as daringly stupid as me had parked their vehicle just before this washout, and I already began regretting not doing the same as my car took a beating from deep, open culverts and encroaching vegetation.

Arriving at the second washout (flowing creek), I parked my car and was happy to get out and finally start hiking.  My ascent was generally straightforward and followed the route as described by C&G.  Just before the "medium-sized slide" (it is actually a drainage which forks higher up), I ran into the owner of the other vehicle who was descending with his dog.  They looked much more refreshed than me, and I still had the bulk of the climb ahead of me.  On the ridge above the pass, I took shelter under a tree while a brief thunderstorm rolled over the mountain.  Thankfully, I was only on the fringe of a nasty weather system moving through the area to the south of me.  There are multiple peaks on the summit ridge bookended by two large and almost identical cairns--one at the south end and one at the north end.  Even with a GPS, I had trouble determining which peak was the actual true summit as the elevation data appeared to drift upward with time.  Retracing my steps, I returned uneventfully to my car.

On the drive out however, I stalled my car trying to climb up and over a high embankment on the far side of the first washout.  As I spun my wheels to no avail in the slippery gravel, thoughts of getting stranded began to race through my mind.  Not quite in panic mode just yet, I got out of my car to assess the situation.  I realized that I needed to take a good straight run at the embankment to get over it, but having to negotiate around several bowling ball-sized boulders made it difficult to build up momentum for my car.  I proceeded to roll the biggest boulders out of the way before carefully backing up my car in as straight a line as I could manage for a couple of metres.  Taking a deep breath, I floored the accelerator, and my trusty Honda CR-V came through for me once again as it launched over the embankment!  I encountered no further problems on the drive out and promptly returned to my motel for a shower, a dinner, and a movie (the inferior though still entertaining remake of The Longest Yard).
If you use your imagination, you might be able to see an Indian head or face... The west face of Indian Head Mountain is visible from near the "medium-sized slide".
It's been a steady uphill grunt all the way from the car. Sonny hikes up the (climber's) left fork of the drainage.
A good trail continues up the ridge through the trees. Sonny approaches the low point of the pass on Indian Head Mountain's west ridge.
Looks like it's gonna rain... Here is a closer look at the west ridge of Indian Head Mountain.
I waited out the thunderstorm somewhere below this spot. The trees begin to thin out along the ridge.
Though the top looks close, it's actually still another hour from here! Higher up the ridge, the terrain becomes more challenging.
Lotsa good hands-on stuff on the upper mountain. Sonny takes a big step as he scrambles up some slabs.
At this point, it's best to stay on the ridge crest or slightly to climber's left. Shattered bands of rock guard the south end of Indian Head Mountain's summit ridge.
Took me over 4.5 hours to get here from the second washout. Sonny takes the last few steps before the cairn on the south peak.
I highly recommend the traverse of the summit ridge. Sonny traverses the summit ridge en route to the north peak.
Looks like a brutal slog for masochists! C&G describe an option to traverse the connecting ridge to Mount Aeneas (distant far left).
One of the intervening peaks actually looks the highest... This is looking back at the south peak from the north peak.  Columbia Lake is also visible in the distance.
2689 metres according to my GPS. Sonny poses beside the cairn on the north peak of Indian Head Mountain.
That area definitely warrants a visit in the future. The Royal Group is visible to the northeast.  The highest of the peaks is Mount King George (right).
More impressive-looking than the south peak in my opinion. Here is another look at the north peak.
My first GPS reading here indicated 2681 metres, but when I returned from the north peak, it rose to 2694 metres. So the average of the two readings agrees with the official height. This is the cairn on the south peak which is officially considered the true summit with an elevation of 2687 metres.
I'll be back to bag Tegart in the future. Windermere Lake and Mount Tegart (centre) can be seen to the northwest.
Looks like a straightforward scramble, but the approach would be quite long. East of Indian Head Mountain is Mount Pedley.
I left my pack and poles here when I traversed to the north peak. When I returned, I noticed that my pole straps had been slightly chewed! A golden-mantled ground squirrel pokes its head out of the cairn on the south peak.
Looks like a ridge that Rick Collier would traverse for several days. The rest of the Stanford Range stretches away to the south.
Looks like quite the stack of dominoes! This is the route as viewed in Google Earth.
The first washout is roughly where the creek crosses the road a little to the right of the word, "Branch".

Total Distance:  10.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 57 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  1259 metres

GPX Data