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Battle Range

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Battle Range 


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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Dec 15, 2010
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BETA PHOTO: Red blotch - Battle Range

INTRODUCTION

The Battle Range is arguably the most remote of the Selkirk Mountains. The peaks are steep, granitic, and even though they are very glaciated there is no easy-to-traverse neve or icefield. A notch above the North Cascades on the scale of Alpinism and a proven paradise for mountaineers. Well protected from easy hiking access by deep valleys filled with avalanche-brush. Too much brush to entice helpful loggers with bulldozers. So the money spent for helicoptering is quite a bargain.

The Battle Range is named after agile prospector George Richie's battle with nature near Battle Brook (northwestern side of the range). Jumping off logs is a normal part of BC brush fights and accidentally jumping onto a grizzly can apparently happen. Richie escaped the mad bear by jumping back and forth over a log and hitting it with his walking stick (Earl R Whipple, CAJ, P118, 1999).

There are three groups of peaks, Mellville, Nemo, and Westfall. Not that many peaks, so the menu over left skips a step and jumps down a level to peaks, and then the routes.

Canadian Mountain Holidays built a hut for winter skiing, the Battle Abbey. I put a mark on the map below, titled Battle Range, but it is not used by climbers.

ACCESS WITHOUT CHOPPERS

I'm guessing that very few of the technical routes have been ticked without helicopter support! Before the Duncan Road invaded the wilderness, the dogma was: "5 days to reach the Battle Range from any direction."

Skiing or hiking from Rogers Pass, across the Illecillewaet and Deville neves, is appealing for the lack of bush. More than 30 kilometers, passing the Glacier Circle Hut, just to Butters Lake. Continuing as a high route to Pequod Pass has been done. But, done carrying enough rack for Moby Dick's West Face? Crossing over the Melville Group to reach Houston lake via a high route looks very unlikely too. It seems that a complete traverse of the southern Selkirks, from Rogers Pass to the Norns Range, has not been done yet because of the rugged Battle Range blocking the way.

The Battle Range map/photo shows the two best access creeks that are reached via the very remote Duncan River/Lake road. The shortest is Butters Creek leading up to either Butters Lake or Pequod Pass. I would be pleasantly surprised to hear of a trail.

The next valley south is Houston Creek. Looking at this valley through the Mountain Project Peakfinder reveals no trail. My estimate is 16 kilometers from the Duncan River up Houston Creek to Houston Lake, through thick avalanche brush.

The 1957 Stanford expedition is the best example I've found of hiking all the way from Rogers and climbing a hard route. Starting from the railroad, they hiked south on the Beaver River, then climbed the Beaver Glacier and made a high traverse to Mount Butters.

The Kauffmans and Brewster, 1947 , approached from the northwest to make the first ascent of Mount Proteus (10,660'). This way still looks hard on Peakfinder.


4 Total Routes


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Featured Route For Battle Range
MELVILLE GROUP <br />1961 Westfall area <br />contour interval: 100 feet <br />one kilometer grid <br /> <br />MOBY DICK <br />black box - Pequod Pass <br />red - South Face Rib <br />orange - boomerang <br />yellow - Oh No! Wall <br />green - North Glacier <br /> <br />PEQUOD <br />blue blob - Houston Lake <br />lite blue - crevassed glacier <br />blue - 1947 <br />Violet - South Buttress <br />

South Face Rib 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b AI2 Steep Snow  North America : Canada : ... : Mount Moby Dick
DESCRIPTIONA camp above the Houston Glacier was used. Camping might be good at Houston Lake, if the Melville Glacier does not seem to be dropping serac blocks into the lake. The first technical climbing is a traverse, northeast, along the Melville Glacier. Easy scrambling up the rib is followed by snow to the summit rocks. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Battle Range Slideshow Add Photo
BATTLE RANGE <br />scale 1 : 50,000 <br />contour interval 100 feet <br /> <br />red dash - Duncan Rd <br />green box - Battle Abbey <br />blue blob - Houston Lk <br /> <br /> <br />
BETA PHOTO: BATTLE RANGE
scale 1 : 50,000
contour interval 100...
Comments on Battle Range Add Comment
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By Kevin Craig
Mar 19, 2012

Couple of notes... although the land grant for Battle Abbey was obtained by Hans Gmoser (founder of what became CMH) the Battle Abbey hut was mainly built by Bill Putnam (with significant assistance from Roger Laurilla and others) after Putnam ceded the Fairy Meadows hut to the ACC. Battle Abbey is currently managed by Roger and Hans' son Robson and is not part of the CMH network of heli-ski lodges.

The hut has occasionally been used by mountaineers though access to the larger peaks in the range like Butters, Moby Dick et al is significantly more complicated from the Battle Abbey side. However, there are a number of technical objectives accessible from Battle Abbey. The rock is very similar to the granite of the nearby Bugaboos, but is highly fractured so routes are not of the same overall quality as in the Bugs.

Many of the objectives on the peaks above Battle Abbey (Omoo, Foremast, Mainmast, etc.) are documented in David Jones' guidebook "Selkirks South."