Monday Sept 30 2002
I’m going to write about this mountain from the comfort of a Starbucks coffee house. The reason I do this now is I was way too busy on the mountain and when I did have time it was too dark to see.
The day before yesterday, Sept. 28, I started off with what I thought was a reasonable amount of time to complete this difficult scramble. The guide book I used said 5 – 6 hours.
Initially I had problems finding the trailhead. The wording in the book is less than crystal clear. By about 1:30, after an hour of wandering about the Radium golf course I drove up a gravel road past the golf club house to the trailhead. You’ll see a horse ranch with an old style overhead ranch gate on your left. Park and head off up the private road on your right for 100 meters to a ditch and culvert.
The trail then diagonals north along the hillside climbing until it reaches a cut line that is the Kootenay Park boundary. Yellow signs mark this boundary.
I have received a comment on this post —>
The information on the Redstreak mountain hike is outdated. As the owners of the property at the begining of the described hike we request that you delete this posting or modify it to direct readers to the alternate trail head at Redstreak Campground in Kootenay Park.The posting is encouraging trespass and creating liability issues. There is no trail head or access to Redstreak through our land. Thank you. Please reply.
When the cut line tops out after a minor dip you have reached the south ridge of Redstreak Mountain. Don’t drop down into the gorge with the leafy deciduous trees at the bottom. If you do expect wet vegetated terrain with much deadfall.
I would visit this place again soon enough.
Once you are at the high point of the cut line turn left up the south ridge. This ends the formal route description except to say that the rest of the way to the summit involves route finding. Please budget some time for this, unless you fancy spending time in the dead wood at night. It ain’t so bad though, once you’ve settled down it’s down right cozy, assuming you have the BARE essentials.
Continuing on, the south ridge turns to the east after a difficult section that I feel is the crux.
I set off from the top of this at 3:00 PM after some snacks. When I reached the red streak I was forced to detour to the left of steep cliffs.
Once around these I was at the final summit, or at least I thought so. Initially I passed the water streaked rock slab my guide book refers to and
ended up on exposed terrain to the left, near a twisted pine tree. After looking over the options I decided my day on Redstreak Mountain was over so I started to slowly down climb, passing by the water streaked slab on the way.
Well as the story some times goes I decided to give the slab a try. It was relatively easy and was not that exposed. The book called this the crux. Hummmmm?
Once above the slab the first summit was only a few moments away. When I got there I was greeted by a view of the main summit across a deep notch in the mountain top.
I decided that my turn around time of 5:30 PM had passed so I was not going to the main summit. I took some photos, changed my mind, again, and took off to the main summit with my camera dangling to and fro from my neck.
After “getting there”, taking more photos and enjoying the incredible view I started back down the lengthy route with only 45 minutes of sun left and no head lamp. Uh Oh!!!
I managed to get down the difficult crux section lower down the ridge before it was too dark to see, but found myself stumbling through the dark near the vegetated gorge at about 9:15 PM. It was too dark to travel safely, I had tripped a few times and also had a tree branch explore the delicate region at the corner of my left eye.
I got angry, yelling into the blackness, temporarily unaware of my stubborn refusal to accept and so to deal with my plight.
I flicked my lighter a few times and found a tree with some dead branches. I broke these off, made a bundle out of them and shoved some pages from the guide book into that.
When the fire was going I was grateful to have found a use for the guide book after all.
My camp was quite cozy; I had my heavy pile jacket, a toque, pile gloves, the better part of a liter of water, a can of sardines in mustard sauce, a bag of almonds, and the padding from the back of my pack was pulled out so it un-folded as an emergent bivi pad.
I also listened to some of my favorite tunes off of my MD Walkman. I also had my memories of my wonderful life and times to entertain and sooth me.
The light from the fire gave me sufficient view of the surrounding forest to gather and break enough wood to supply the fire until about 5:30 AM, then finally I decided to let it die off.
Two hours later the rising sun found me coming off the mountain onto a fairway at the golf course.
How green was my golf course! A young greens keeper with huge red pork chop style sideburns drove by nodding. That’s BC for you.
People out here are so un-conformist, cool.
I wanted to take a picture of my fire the night before, as well as the early morning green of the golf course but alas I was out of film.
I’ll conclude by saying that although I feel the guide book description is weak and the route itself a bit gnarly, I must say that my memory of those two days alone on Redstreak Mountain will be with me for ever. It was s small mountain but tackling it alone made it an incredible adventure.
The thirst for adventure is the vent which Destiny offers; a war, a
crusade, a gold mine, a new country, speak to the imagination and
offer swing and play to the confined powers.
1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist