Trip Date: Oct 14, 2013
Participants: Brittany Zenger, Ed Zenger, Leslie Zenger, Nancy Zenger, Geoff Zenger
Report: How better to celebrate Thanksgiving than to climb a beautiful mountain with your family? Thanksgiving Monday 2013 saw my mom, dad, and sister come out with Brittany and I to the Coquihalla to head up July Mountain. We met up in New Westminster a bit past 7 and headed out towards the Coquihalla, and after breakfast in Hope and a mixup where we missed our turnoff on the highway and had to turn around to go back to the road up Juliet creek, we eventually made our way up the road and left the Jeep where we first hit snow, a 20 minute walk from the normal trailhead, starting up the the road at 10:30.
That we hit snow so low surprised us slightly given how warm the temperatures had been lately, but snow lingers easily down in the valleys and north facing slopes that this hike ascends. It wasn’t contiguous immediately, but soon became reasonably deep and we had no footbed to follow most of the way up to Drum Lake, which we reached just before 1pm. Here we stopped for lunch and then headed up the slopes to the right (West) of the lake, hitting the col due north of the summit of July Mountain and here made our only real routefinding error of the day. Rather than heading up the easy snow slopes to the right of the ridge (which we would later descend), we instead scrambled up and left through an icy rock band to hit the ridge a good 10m earlier than we would have had we just followed the easy route. Nonetheless, we persevered and made it up onto the ridge, upon which the travel is easy and we quickly made our way to the true summit of July Mountain, reaching it before 2pm, only around 45 minutes from the lake.
The views on the summit were fantastic and it was great to see the snowy wonderland all around us despite the temperatures hovering in the t-shirt range. July Mountain is the highest peak for quite some distance and there were great views of the Anderson River Group, the area around Coquihalla Mountain, and even as far away as the Old Settler and Mt. Urquhart.
We lingered on the summit for half an hour before starting our descent, which was quick (only 30 minutes) down to the lake, and less than 2 hours from there down to the car. Total round trip time was just over 6 hours, so the 103 hikes time estimate of “allow 6 hours” would be easy to achieve by any party moving at a moderate pace provided that they were able to drive to the trailhead. In the end, I was very impressed by this hike. The setting is fantastic, and the route varied and interesting. In fact, it may well be one of my favourite hikes from 103 hikes.