Dunn Peak

Trip Log

Dates: July 2009
Location : Dunn Peak
Access : N Barrier Lake FSR follow Harper Creek
Duration : 12hrs on the trail-16 hrs door to door
Distance : Approx 16 km return
Difficulty : Moderate (though doing the entire trip in a day is ambitious)
Directions: The drive took approximately 2 hrs. You’re on paved road for the first hour and then you’re on FS Roads. The last 5km are particularly grown in a rugged. The road dead ends and there is a small unmarked parking lot that you can turn around in.  You’ll know you’re on the right trail by the series of board walks and bridges you’ll cross.

Trip Members: Jon Heshka, Gilles Valade, Sharman Learie

From The TRU Adventure Department Gear Bay

900 McGill RdKamloops, BC, Canada
1. Head east on McGill Rd toward Dallhousie Dr 0.5 km
2. Turn right at Summit Dr 1.3 km
3. Turn left onto the HWY-1/BC-5/BC-97 ramp 0.4 km
4. Merge onto HWY-1 E 2.5 km
5. Take exit 374 to merge onto BC-5/Yellowhead BridgeContinue to follow BC-5 65.2 km
6. Turn right at Barriere Town Rd 1.2 km
7. Barriere Town Rd turns slightly left and becomes Barriere Lakes Rd 17.1 km
8. Turn left at Barriere N Rd 10.3 km
9. Turn left at N Barrier Lake FSR 19.1 km

Brief description:

A scenic hike through mixed spruce and fir forest and alpine meadows and marshes. The scramble up Dunn Peak was a mix of 4th and 5th class. There was no definitive route…just following the line of least resistance. Some airy sections and lots of loose rock. A helmet is a must and a rope with a small rack is not a bad idea. Great views of the surrounding area.

Trip Journal:

Jon and Gilles picked me up from my office bivi at 4a.m. We planned an early start to try to beat the summer heat. After a quick breakfast stop (neither of the Tim Hortons had any baked good or food at 4a.m. so we settled for McDonalds…Mmmmm Big Macs-not a great way to start the day!). A 2 hour drive got us to the trail head (6:30 a.m.). The logging road was in good shape except for the last couple kilometres to the parking area. A high clearance vehicle is required. In a pinch you could park and walk in if need be. The approach trail starts with a series of bridges and board walks that wind through the forest. A short climb and descent take you over a ridge and through a small meadow where you begin to climb yet again. It takes Approximately 1 hour of steady walking to get to the start of the approach valley. Here the trees recede and you proceed up an open marsh meadow (7:30 a.m.). You get spectacular views of Dunn Peak at the head of the valley. It’s a beautiful walk that reminded me of a Japanese garden with jumbles of granite boulders, tranquil ponds and bonsai trees. Your drawn to stop and enjoy some of these spots…however the bugs were horrific and we were forced to nearly run through this section to escape the feeding frenzy.  This section was VERY wet. Try to stay on higher ground and good luck keeping your feet dry!

As you get higher up the valley you enter a huge scree field below Dunn. It’s treacherous walking as many of the boulders are loose. We angled up the scree to a low pass that was home to a small patch of semi permanent snow. At last be had out distanced the bugs, so we stopped to change our socks and shoes and have an early lunch (10:30 a.m.). From here we kicked steps up the snow field to the top of the pass and the scramble begins. You’re met with a spider web of route potential. We generally followed the line of least resistance as we picked our way up the peak. Check all your hand and foot holds before you weight them. While the peak looks like a solid granite batholith on the approach, it is actually just a jumble of loose boulders. So proceed with caution. We reached the sub peak by 12:30 pm down climbed to a small col and the proceeded to climb Dunn proper. At this point we chose to rope up and Jon led a short pitch and belayed Gilles and I up. It would have been possible to scramble up this section…but since we had hauled the rope the entire way…we decided to use it. At 1:30 p.m. we were at the summit. We had a quick snack and some water and then began our descent. The down climb was more exciting and airy then the ascent-good stuff. The feeding frenzy in the valley below did not abate while we were on the mountain and Gilles nearly ran the entire way out (I’m not kidding). By 6:30 pm we were at the truck, exhausted, mosquito bitten but happy.

Hazards: Mosquitoes, loose rock, scree fields
Conditions: Even in late July the approach was very wet. Extra socks and foot ware are a good idea.
Camping info: Lots of picturesque, flat campsites up the approach valley. Early fall would be beautiful and the bugs would be gone.

Personal Bio
Name: Sharman Learie
Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor for White-water disciplines
slearie@tru.ca

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