Mount Gerry Andrews (Trachyte Ridge)
Wrapping up our Labour Day long weekend camping trip, Andrea Battistel, Shaun Luong, Zosia Zgolak and I climbed up Mount Gerry Andrews in the Flathead region of southeast British Columbia (BC) on 6 September 2021.  The mountain is actually the high point of Trachyte Ridge and was named in honour of a former surveyor general of BC.  Route information for Mount Gerry Andrews is scarce.  I could only find a geocache website which provides some hints through a few photographs but does not provide any details about the route or even where to start.  In retrospect, I suspect that the geocachers ascended via the south ridge, but relying on a partial route--the origin or which is unknown--in my phone's map application, we would use a completely different approach via the north ridge.

From Highway 3, turn east onto Morrissey Road about 8.8 kilometres south of the turnoff to Fernie Ski Resort or 17 kilometres east and north of the junction with Highway 93.  Cross both the bridge over Elk River and the train tracks before turning right at a T-intersection.  Stay on Morrissey Road and keep right at a split about 3 kilometres south of the T-intersection (there is a cut-off road 560 metres further along the left fork if you miss this split).  From the split, drive 9.1 kilometres along Lodgepole Forest Service Road (FSR) to a junction with Wigwam FSR.  Stay left and drive 17 kilometres to a junction with McLatchie FSR.  Keep right and drive another 15 kilometres to a junction with Flathead FSR (a big sign here reads "Sasquatch Junction").  Turn south (right) and drive 6.3 kilometres to the start of a deactivated logging road.  Park in a pullout just past the start of the logging road.  In dry conditions, this long drive is suitable for 2WD vehicles.

Originally, I was hoping to be able to drive up the logging road and save about 2.5 kilometres (one-way) of walking and 100 metres of elevation gain.  However, whoever deactivated the road did such a thorough job that Andrea, Shaun, Zosia and I completely missed it on our original drive-by.  After a fruitless search for an obvious trailhead further south along the FSR, we returned to where the start of the logging road is marked in my phone's map application.  Andrea offered to go for a quick scouting trip, and she confirmed that the logging road did continue beyond the deactivated section.  We quickly geared up and started hiking.  The logging road essentially makes two sweeping switchbacks through a huge cut block on the northeast side of Mount Gerry Andrews before ending at a spacious clearing.  At the far end of the clearing, we followed a rudimentary path through a bit of logging debris before climbing upward to intersect what appeared to be an overgrown exploration road along an old cut line.  Except for two short detours, this exploration road runs westward in a fairly straight line for a kilometre climbing up Gumbo Creek drainage.  While some sections of the road are easy to hike, there are also several long stretches that have been reclaimed by alders or are choked with deadfall.  After the first kilometre, the road makes a distinct S-curve and heads in a more southwesterly direction while climbing quite steeply for another half a kilometre.  Where the exploration road begins to curve to the northwest, there appears to be a less-traveled road branching to the left (south).  This branching road dead-ends fairly quickly, but from there, we could see some open slabs through the trees above.  We scrambled up these slabs to gain the north ridge which we proceeded to ascend.  About three hundred metres south of the slabs, there is an obvious cliff band guarding the ridge, but it can be easily circumvented to climber's right.  Other than the cliff band, the rest of the north ridge poses few problems, and we eventually reached the summit a little more than 3.5 hours after starting out.

Andrea, Shaun, Zosia and I spent over an hour on the summit of Mount Gerry Andrews before commencing our descent, and we basically backed out the way we came.  While descending the north ridge, we had no issues retracing our route to get through the obvious cliff band, but we slightly overshot the slabs lower down.  A quick course correction got us back on track, and we subsequently regained the exploration road.  We endured a second round of alder/deadfall-bashing on our hike out the road, but overall, it really was not bad at all.  Once we made it back to the deactivated logging road, we enjoyed an easy and trouble-free walk back to my car.  The entire descent took less than 2.5 hours.
Walk like a Sasquatch-ian!

Zosia and Andrea mimic the sign at the junction of Lodgepole Forest Service Road (FSR) and Flathead FSR.

An inauspicious starting point! Andrea, Zosia and Shaun leave Flathead FSR to begin hiking up a deactivated logging road.

Heaven on earth.

The morning sun pokes out from behind the clouds.


An e-bike would have been nice here! There are already far-reaching views from the logging road.
Taking a leap of faith into the bush! Zosia and Shaun follow a rudimentary path at the end of the logging road.
Easier to hike than it looks...for now! This overgrown exploration road is key to the approach for Mount Gerry Andrews.
Not as bad as it looks, but it still kinda sucks! Several lengthy sections of the exploration road have been reclaimed and present some navigational challenges.
Better than bushwhacking, I guess! Shaun, Andrea and Zosia climb up a steep section of road shortly before leaving it.
It's easier to climber's right. After leaving the exploration road, Zosia and Shaun scramble up some low-angled slabs to gain the north ridge of Mount Gerry Andrews.
Looks promising! The summit of Mount Gerry Andrews is visible in the distance as the group gains the north ridge.
Scrambling opportunity! A cliff band along the ridge can be circumvented to climber's right.
We can breathe easy now! The ridge begins to open up for some pleasant hiking.

I think we're gonna make it!

The remainder of the route is fairly straightforward.


I think they were surprised to see us... A herd of goats scramble across the precipitous cliffs of the north face.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's rather Freudian... Zosia stoops over a massive hole in the ridge.
Look at all the toys we found! Sonny, Zosia, Andrea and Shaun stand near the summit of Mount Gerry Andrews (2197 metres).
Inverted Peak will be a future pet-project... Many of the intriguing peaks to the west are unnamed.
Piaysoo Peak will also be a future objective of interest for me... In the foreground is the north ridge of Mount Gerry Andrews.
I wonder if there is a route up Tombstone Mountain from this side... Flathead River can be seen in the valley to the northeast.
What, no condom? The summit geocache is filled with lots of colourful knickknacks.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Who names their kid "Smedley" anymore? Near the summit is this plaque commemorating Gerry Andrews.
R.I.P. Gerry Andrews? Zosia and Andrea find what appears to be the ashes of some deceased person.
Time to go home! Zosia hikes back out along the north ridge.
Second round of bushy road-bashing coming up! The group drops down the exploration road with Tombstone Mountain visible on the horizon.
A relatively easy ascent once you know where to start and where to go! Total Distance:  13.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 7 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  833 metres

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