Zupjok Peak

November 26, 2015

1835m

Coquihalla Pass, BC

Zupjok Peak is a small summit surrounded by the Coquihalla’s jagged granite spires. This peak itself is not really an interesting objective but is often used to access the much-bigger Alpaca Peak a few kilometers back along the ridge. The ridge traverse would make a “moderate” winter objective without too much of complex terrain. It seemed like a great idea for this past Thursday as I was low on motivation, but the weather was too good to stay home.

The traverse route from Zupjok to Llama to Alpaca

The traverse route from Zupjok to Llama to Alpaca. GPX DL

After forcing myself to wake up at 5 am I quickly made my way eastwards along Highway 17, Highway 1 and then Highway 5. It’s all fast travel and I made to the parking lot by Zupkios Rest Area at the Coquihalla summit just after sunrise. It was cold and windy so I started the hike immediately. The first part would be following the deactivated Ottomite Mountain Road for a few kilometers and I had to put snowshoes on right from the start. The trail was packed down by previous snowshoeers so that’s a bonus for me. Their tracks continued down the other side of Zupjok/Ottomite col and I got confused as whether to keep following or not. It just kept traversing as opposed to ascending and entered some bushy terrain and I wondered if those guys really knew where they were going.. Or maybe they were going for Iago / Great Bear Peaks. But anyway, I left their tracks and started ascending straight up.

Alpenglow on Yak Peak from the parking lot

Alpenglow on Yak Peak from the parking lot

Here's my first objective - Zupjok Peak

Here’s my first objective – Zupjok Peak

The snowshoe trail was packed down

The snowshoe trail was packed down

It turned out that I never came across their tracks anymore so they must have gone up Iago Peak or they just went for some snowshoe touring. From where I left their tracks the ascent was a mere plod up the broad SW Ridge, although steep at places. There were intermittent flaggings marking the route helping the route-finding although I found they weren’t necessary in winter conditions. The snowpack had a hard crust layer that my Lightning Ascents could bite firmly on, allowing some fast uphill travel. It didn’t take me long to arrive at a few opening areas at roughly 3/4 of the way up where I took my first break.

Flagggings making the way up the forest

Flagggings making the way up the forest

Things started to open up now

Things started to open up now

A great place to take a break

A great place to take a break

Looking towards Yak Peak and the Coquihalla Pass

Looking towards Yak Peak and the Coquihalla Pass

The rest of the ascent was fairly uneventful but the views just kept opening up towards each direction with the granite spires by Anderson River Group stealing the show. The actual summit was partially forested so I had to wonder around a bit to soak in all the views. The rest of the traverse appeared to be fairly long but mostly open ridge walk.

The last stretch to the summit

The last stretch to the summit

Looking across the snowy plateau towards Zupkios Ridge and Yak/Nak/Thar Group

Looking across the snowy plateau towards Zupkios Ridge and Yak/Nak/Thar Group

View looking south

View looking south

A closer look at the valley that Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) travels through

A closer look at the valley that Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) travels through

Bombtram Mountain with Great Bear Peak and Iago Peak in front

Bombtram Mountain with Great Bear Peak and Iago Peak in front

Mt. Urquhart sticks through on the horizon

Mt. Urquhart sticks through on the horizon

The Old Settler looks impressive

The Old Settler looks impressive

The Cheam Range with Welch Peak being the highest

The Cheam Range with Welch Peak being the highest

The Anderson River Group - Gamuza, Steinbok, Ibex, Chamois, etc..

The Anderson River Group – Gamuza, Steinbok, Ibex, Chamois, etc..

The rest of the traverse towards Llama Peak and Alpaca Peak

The rest of the traverse towards Llama Peak and Alpaca Peak

Vicuna Peak and Guanaco Peak that I bagged last month

Vicuna Peak and Guanaco Peak that I bagged last month

July Mountain is that flat summit

July Mountain is that flat summit

A closer look at Vicuna Peak

A closer look at Vicuna Peak

Gemse Peak is another striking granite spire

Gemse Peak is another striking granite spire

Steinbok Peak on left with Ibex Peak and Chamois Peak behind

Steinbok Peak on left with Ibex Peak and Chamois Peak behind

Gamuza Peak on right with Mt. Breakenridge and Traverse Peak behind on the horizon

Gamuza Peak on right with Mt. Breakenridge and Traverse Peak behind on the horizon

Another look at Gemse Peak (L) and Reh Peak (R)

Another look at Gemse Peak (L) and Reh Peak (R)

From L to R: Thar Peak, Nak Peak and Yak Peak

From L to R: Thar Peak, Nak Peak and Yak Peak

Me on the summit of Zupjok Peak

Me on the summit of Zupjok Peak

Partial summit panorama from Zupjok Peak. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama from Zupjok Peak. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama from Zupjok Peak. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama from Zupjok Peak. Click to view large size.

Unfortunately the wind was bone chilly so I started descending the other side soon, focusing on the next objective.

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