Beaconsfield Mountain

March 21, 2019


Penticton / Keremeos, BC

Speaking from resort skiing most skiers are unaware of the hidden gem of Apex buried somewhere 40 km to the southwest of Penticton in the interior of British Columbia. Beaconsfield Mtn. sits right in the resort and in fact, much of its steeper north and east slopes had been turned into the resort country. The summit area is flat and heavily developed. At least one chairlift goes all the way to the top. For the sake of this reason tagging this summit on snowshoes (uphill travel) is probably prohibited for safety reasons, and in order not to get caught and ticketed by a ski patrol I decided to hike it in the dark before anyone could catch me. This was the 3rd day of the spring break peak-bagging vacation and after hiking 4 peaks in Kelowna area I turned my attention to Pecticton, about an hour’s drive south of the K-town.

The drive from Penticton to the upper parking lot in Apex ski resort would take more than 1 hour with over 1500 m elevation gain dispatched.. In order to ascend Beaconsfield Mtn. in dark before getting caught by a ski patrol I really had to get there in the previous evening and sleep in my truck. The resort was much busier than expected and the parking lot was lit up by some lights, but I think no one saw me coming in and sleeping there.

Ascent routes for Beaconsfield, Apex and Riordan. GPX DL

At 4:30 am my alarm went off and within an hour I was already on my way boot-packing up the main ski-out. The snow was firm enough that I did not need to use snowshoes yet, but after plodding for half an hour I strapped the snowshoes on. It made no sense to carry them plus the crampons on the snowshoes would greatly assist the slight uphill travel. There seemed to have multiple runs that I could use but to minimize the chance of getting caught by a patrol-on-snowmobile I stayed far out on what seemed like a backcountry snowmobile route outside the resort boundary. This road/trail brought me to the broad pass between Beaconsfield Mtn. and Mt. Riordan and then I followed the GPS and picked up a narrow and relatively hidden snowmobile trail turning south. A while of plodding later I bailed the road and went uphill following some system of smaller roads, zig-zagging on the broad southwest flanks. I could have stayed completely outside the resort boundary until the very top but it seemed much more efficient just going on the ski runs, so why not. Nobody was there at 6:30 am in the morning.. I hopped across the rope and made some quick work up the final 200 m elevation gain. I arrived at the summit about 15 minutes after sunrise.

The morning horizon was beautiful with a fullmoon setting

Meanwhile it’s sunrise time!

Almost at the summit. As you can see this is not a very exciting summit…

There aren’t a ton of mountains to see. Green Mtn. in foreground

My shadow on the snow.

Sunrise from the summit.

Apex Mountain to the south, my next objective

Me on the summit of Beaconsfield Mountain

Another photo of me on the summit of Beaconsfield Mountain

After snapping enough photos from the summit I soon turned my attention to the higher neighbour – Apex Mountain. Getting down to the col seemed trivial as all I needed was boot-packing down one of the several “blue runs”. It was easier on the knees to just remove the snowshoes because the snow was relatively firm. The descent went by quickly but near the col I had to strap the snowshoes back on because post-holing started to take over…

Descending the south side run and looking towards Apex Mountain

After getting out of the resort boundary I continued plodding towards the main objective – Apex Mountain.