Mount Keenan

May 4, 2017


Hemlock Valley / Fraser Valley, BC

Mt. Keenan is one of the unimpressive, forested summits in Hemlock Valley of Chehalis area and peaks like this serve the best when condition is not favourable for bigger objectives. I did it as the second objective after completing an ascent of the nearby Mt. Davies earlier in the morning. The road access was nicely maintained and I easily drove my truck to the resort so this wouldn’t be a long day by any mean.

Mt. Davies and Mt. Keenan from Hemlock Valley. GPX DL

My reference for Mt. Keenan was Simon’s trip report on ClubTread and the route he took was that undulating N. Ridge. I pretty much would follow the same, but the sloppy snow condition meant I’d come up with a variation idea for the final steep rise. First of all I would traverse up and over a small bump following the resort’s runs and then I picked up an old logging road heading towards the direction I wanted. The north ridge direct looked too steep for the conditions but I did see a viable route by following the west ridge. That would involve some side-hill descending into a bowl and even this part was not trivial mainly due to the slushy conditions.

Looking down at Hemlock Resort, with Mt. Klaudt behind

The north side of Mt. Keenan. My route goes this way.

After some careful work I got into the bowl and then picked up some random lines to intersect the lower west ridge. Gaining the ridge was easy peasy but the ridge proper also had a few steep rises. Thankfully the snow condition was not bad on this side (being shaded by the dense forest). The summit was farther than I thought and I had to overcome a few false summits along the way. The views were quite limited though.

One of the stretches along the west ridge.

Looking back towards the resort

As you can see, trees blocked lots of views for me…

Mt. Clarke – Grainger Peak area

Mt. Breakenridge in the distance

The Old Settler on the skyline

A zoomed-in view of Mt. Urquhart

Slollicum Peak is that forested peak, just across Harrison Lake

This is the unofficially named “Cartmell Peak”.

I debated about exploring further to the east along this broad summit plateau but did not have enough motivation to wonder around, so after a long break I leisurely went back down. Descending the west ridge into the bowl was pretty fast and fun. The elevation regain along that traversing stretch wasn’t so much, but then I got to enjoy another fast run down the resort runs back to the parking lot. The slushy snow meant I could glide down on my ‘shoes.

Heading down.

The forested descent.

Back into the bowl now. Had to regain some height

Almost done the elevation regain.

Looking back at Mt. Keenan. My route goes up from right.

This is a look across the Chehalis River valley

Following the old road.

Another picture of the old road.

The Old Settler

Descending into the resort. Mt. Klaudt behind.

Back to the truck my round trip time for Mt. Davies, Mt. Keenan was about 6.5 hours and I have to say it’s longer than anticipated. The ascent of Mt. Keenan was also tougher than I thought and in bad snow conditions some careful route-finding is required. Overall this was a great combination that works the best at this time of a year.