Doss Peak

June 18, 2021


Lytton / Kwoiek Creek, BC

Doss Peak locates in the middle of a very remote area but is somewhat overshadowed by the more fabled neighbours – Skihist Mountain and Mt. Neilsen. The former is the highest peak in SW BC while the latter boasts an iconic profile and an impressive north face. Doss Peak itself is even more remote and difficult to access than Skihist Mountain but again, it doesn’t draw much attention from the peak-bagging community due to its (relatively) insignificant status. This is also a walk-up summit on choss and hence the least interesting in the immediate vicinity.

Vlad, Holly and I did it as part of a loop traverse from Skihist Mountain group towards Mt. Neilsen over 4 days. This was the morning of Day 3 and earlier in this trip we had bagged Skihist Mountain along with its satellite peaks – Antimony and Claimpost. The plan to traverse over Doss Peak to access Mt. Neilsen was a spontaneous one during the trip so I didn’t do a ton of homework to plan the routes. However, I did download the topo map and satellite images and it wasn’t difficult to draw a line. I knew a possible exit route off Mt. Neilsen as I vaguely remembered reading a trip report written by Greg Jones on (though I did not remember the details).

Loop traverse of Skihist Group from Kwoiek Creek. GPX DL

None of us was in the mood to wake up pre-dawn and in fact, none of us set an alarm but we all woke up at 6:30 am anyway as it’s already too bright to sleep. It took us over an hour to do the morning routine including breaking camp but by 8 am we did manage to get going. The first business was to continue descending Nesbitt Creek valley and re-ascend to a broad pass under Doss Peak’s east face. This section involved fair amount of elevation loss and regain as well as side-hilling on snow and boulders. While ascending towards the pass we were able to follow a fresh set of tracks laid by a huge bear. However, the bear’s strides were a bit too big for us to fully take advantage. From the pass I had several ideas but upon evaluating we opted for the longest but also the one that would definitely work. We descended 100 vertical meters down the south side of this pass then re-ascended 300+ meters on increasingly steep snow and then choss to a col on the south ridge of Doss Peak. This section of the grunt felt like a major drag that seemed to last forever especially considering the heat and the overnight packs.

My BD Hilight in front of the morning sun
That sharp summit buried deeply in Stein Valley does not have a name
Our tents with Doss Peak behind
Vlad and our lovely but extremely remote campsite location.
Holly hopping on boulders. As you can see, you want more snow…
Me descended down into the main gulch of Nesbitt Creek
Vlad descending the main Nesbitt Creek gulch
Holly starting to traverse horizontally at around 1950m elevation
Vlad leading the way following a set of bear tracks towards the broad pass
Vlad topping out on that broad pass with Skihist Mtn. behind
Me getting water from a running stream
Most lakes in this region were still frozen. Kwoiek Needle behind
Vlad traversing around another frozen lake
It’s a 300m grunt to gain that high col…
Looking back down at this higher frozen lake
Plodding upwards towards the high col on Doss’ south ridge
Holly grunting choss to gain the high col.

We estimated the ascent would not take more than two hours with only 300 m elevation gain so we opted to carry nothing but 1 L of water in the group. I have waist belt and a biner to clip a Nalgene in so I volunteered for the job. To gain the first (south) summit of Doss Peak required some scrambling on choss. Near the top I led Holly traversing under the SW Face to bypass some unnecessary elevation to directly reach the col between the south and main summits. Vlad on the other hand, always opted for more scrambling experience so stuck to the ridge crest. From the col to the main summit was just a walk-up but took us longer than expected.

Packs were ditched and Holly started the ridge ramble
Vlad leading the way. Doss south peak ahead
Me scrambling on the lower south ridge of Doss Peak
Vlad scrambling up towards the south peak of Doss Peak
An unnamed lake in an unnamed drainage with unnamed peaks behind..
Holly starting the SW Face traverse with Haynon Peak behind
The upper south ridge and the true summit ahead
Partial Summit Panorama from Doss Peak. Click to view large size.
Partial Summit Panorama from Doss Peak. Click to view large size.
Kwoiek Needle and John George Lake way in the distance
Antimony Mountain is that obvious pointy peak center shot
The massive bulk of Skihist Mountain, highest in SW BC
The unnamed peaks and ridges to the north of Doss Peak
Discovering 60-year-old F.A. register
Me celebrating the remote summit of Doss Peak
Holly taking in the views towards Kwoiek Needle
Holly on the summit of Doss Peak with Kwoiek Glacier area behind
Another photo of me on the summit of Doss Peak
Our group shot on the summit of Doss Peak

The views were pretty good but not much different than what we had just seen from the nearby peaks so we didn’t linger too long. On the return I again, insisted to bypass the south summit to save time/energy but we descended a bit too low on the SW Face and had to deal with some tricky scrambling on choss. Once back to the col we shouldered the heavy packs, descended a choss chute on the west side and traversed a horizontal bench of snow and boulder fields while maintaining elevation. Upon plodding over the next pass we sadly realized that to gain the long east ridge of Mt. Neilsen we must lose at least 100 m on the south side of this pass. We reluctantly descended into the basin and dropped our packs on a dry patch of boulder fields to prepare for the last ascent of this trip.

Vlad and Holly descending the upper south ridge
Me descending the upper south ridge of Doss Peak
Holly negotiating some loose and scrambly stuffs
Back onto the easier terrain with Mt. Neilsen ahead
A frozen unnamed lake with Kwoiek Creek lakes behind
Vlad starting the long horizontal traverse on boulders
There were boulders and there was isothermal snow. This section was shitty.
Looking back from that unnamed pass towards that unnamed lake
Looking ahead from that unnamed pass into the basin that we descended to
Me and Vlad discussing our route options.