Mount Kuleski
On 17 July 2021, Zosia Zgolak and I hiked up Mount Kuleski located just west of Sparwood, British Columbia.  Ephraim Roberts ascended this mountain via the south ridge last fall under snowy conditions and posted his GPS track on, but we would use a different starting point that saves about five hundred metres of elevation gain and entails minimal bushwhacking.  Like many other mountains in the vicinity, Mount Kuleski is named in honour of a local soldier killed in the line of duty during World War 2.

From Highway 3, turn onto Beese Road (2WD gravel) 2 kilometres west of Hosmer or 9 kilometres east of Fernie.  Ignore all side roads and drive northward for 7.8 kilometres (going through Brooks Creek Ranch) to a Y-junction.  Take the left fork (high-clearance vehicle strongly recommended) and drive 4.7 kilometres up the winding road (the road crosses a power line right-of-way about 1.6 kilometres from the Y-junction) to another junction.  Keep straight (right) at this second junction and continue driving for another 1.1 kilometres to road's end at a large clearing with scenic views.  Park here.  An unmarked trail heads into the bushes on the north side of the road about 100 metres before the clearing.

Zosia and I missed seeing the unmarked trail at the beginning, and we simply waded into the moderate bush from where we parked.  It did not take long before we stumbled onto the aforementioned trail which essentially runs along the crest of a forested ridge leading to the main spine of Mount Kuleski.  Despite occasional deadfall and encroaching undergrowth, the trail is generally easy to follow, and there is even some evidence of trail maintenance which means that there is some regular traffic here (probably hunters).  At one point, we noticed a wide dirt road running parallel to our trail, but not knowing where the road went, we elected to stick to the trail and ridge crest which I think was prudent.  We later climbed up a narrower section of ridge with open views to the south of McCool Creek drainage which Roberts used for his approach.  While Roberts ended up climbing over a notable grassy high point at the juncture of our ridge and the main spine of Mount Kuleski, we stayed low on the trail which bypasses the high point before petering out in a large glade at a dip in the ridge.  While we should have climbed up the other side of the dip, we got suckered into following another trail which stayed well below the ridge crest and even seemed to be descending.  After traversing across a large talus slope, we abandoned the trail and climbed up steep but easy terrain to regain the ridge crest.  We stuck to the open ridge crest for the remainder of the ascent and had no further route-finding issues.

Despite lots of recent forest fires in British Columbia, Zosia and I were blessed to have clear skies and far-reaching views on this day from the summit of Mount Kuleski.  A strong breeze also helped to attenuate the heat from the sun, and we spent a pleasant hour on top before commencing our descent.  Avoiding our sucker trail, we followed the ridge crest all way back to the dip and had no problems whatsoever.  From there, we picked up our original approach trail and followed it all the way back to our starting point.  Some short but steep uphill sections felt more annoying than strenuous on the way out, but otherwise, we enjoyed an uneventful egress.
This would be a great camping spot too!

Zosia is ready to start hiking from a clearing at the end of the access road.

Doesn't look so promising at first... The forest seemingly swallows up Zosia as she follows a trail on the ridge.
Anyone bring a chainsaw?

Occasional deadfall blocking the trail can be a bit annoying to bypass.

Ephraim Roberts grinded his way up onto the ridge somewhere around here. The ridge narrows here and looks bushy on the crest, but the trail is actually still easy to follow.
Very smart trail! Bypassing the grassy high point at upper left, the trail traverses across the forested slope to a dip in the ridge at right.  The summit of Mount Kuleski is visible through the dip.
Have faith...stick to the ridge crest all the way! The approach trail peters out in this large glade at the dip in the ridge.
Apparently, this flower is edible and can be added to salads! Orange false dandelions (Agoseris aurantiaca) are prolific along the ridge.
Avoid coming this way! Zosia follows a second trail across a large talus slope but is off-route here.  She would soon abandon this trail and head uphill to the right.  In the distance is Mount Washburn.
We're good now! Back on track, Zosia hikes up the open ridge crest.
Finally rewarded for the long approach through mostly viewless forest! Far-reaching views begin to open up as Zosia climbs higher up the ridge.

This would be a prime location to spot goats, but unfortunately, we didn't see any.

The remainder of the route to the summit poses no challenges.


I wonder where Ephraim Roberts gets so many ammo boxes...

Sonny and Zosia stand on the summit of Mount Kuleski (2485 metres).

That unnamed peak in the middle ground right of centre looks very intriguing...

This is the view to the south.

Marta Wojnarowska was on Mount Fisher on this day.

 A couple of wildfires can be seen to the west.  The striking peak at right is unnamed.

It would be interesting to climb these two unnamed peaks!

In this view to the northwest, the two striking peaks to the right are both unnamed.

The outlier probably sees even less visits than Mount Kuleski!

The lower half of Mount Kuleski's northwest outlier looks rather verdant.

Gould Dome is partly obscured by Mount Erris.

Tornado Mountain stands out to the northeast.

You might also notice Mount Erickson as well in front of Crowsnest Mountain. To the east are lots of familiar peaks.
Maybe we'll try skiing Sparwood Ridge next winter... Forested Sparwood Ridge dominates the foreground in this view to the southeast.

A seven-kilometre walk out!

Zosia leaves the summit and begins her descent.


Yep, we shoulda come up this way!

Zosia walks the part of the ridge crest she missed during the ascent.

We're gettin' there!

Zosia pauses at one of the last open viewpoints along the ridge on the way back.  The trailhead is in the clear-cut at centre.  At right is the McCool Creek drainage.

This mountain deserves more attention than it gets! Total Distance:  14.3 kilometres*
Round-Trip Time:  9 hours
Cumulative Elevation Gain:  986 metres

*Route shown on map is approximate.