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Valhalla Provincial Park, British Columbia: Drinnon Pass to Gimli Col

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Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 16.8 miles


Routefind across precipitous ridges to an ice-filled lake.

Explore an alpine wonderland reminiscent of the Swiss Alps—but with a fraction of the traffic—on this 11.7-mile, three-day point-to-point in 123,288-acre Valhalla Provincial Park, 150 miles due north of Spokane. You’ll get up-close with flower-speckled meadows and the steepest and finest granite spires in B.C.’s imposing Selkirk Range.

Beginning from the Drinnon Pass trailhead just south of Slocan City, climb two miles on a well-marked trail past spruce-ringed pocket lakes near timberline. Hit 6,739-foot Drinnon Pass, with views north to the rugged Devil Range. Leave the trail to traverse steeply southeast, climbing 800 vertical feet of talus to a saddle on the north shoulder of Drinnon Peak. 

Drop north off the pass down gentler, grassier slopes, following a timbered ridgeline north-northeast to locate an obscure gully that descends diagonally back south, through thick brush and grass, to an unnamed yet obvious pond. From here, climb east through a half mile of boulders to Valhalla Lake. For more open and scenic lakeside camping, continue another .6 mile to a chain of ponds atop tundra shelves at the western foot of pyramid-shaped Asgard Peak. 

Next morning, cross the northeast shoulder of Asgard via a half day of rugged boulder-hopping. Or go technical: Use ice axe, rope, and crampons to climb straight up a prominent 40-degree, snow-filled gully southwest of Asgard’s 9,268-foot summit. Either route drops you east and south down steep meadows into Mulvey Basin, where ice-filled Mulvey Lake sits surrounded by the staggeringly steep granite spires of Mt. Dag, Wolf’s Ears, and Gimli. Keep your eyes peeled for grizzlies and mountain goats. 

Finish by climbing a rough mile over year-round snow, followed by a short, exposed rock ledge (rope recommended) to Gimli Col, a tiny rock saddle perched beneath thousand-foot granite walls. Close out with a 2.2-mile stroll down the Gimli Peak Trail. You’ll need two cars for the 24-mile, dirt-road shuttle—it’s too quiet to hitch. 

Map NTS quad 082F13; $16CAD for waterproof versions; (888) 545-8111; fedmaps.com 

Permit Backcountry $5CAD/person/night

Guide Summit Mountain Guides; (250) 354-4884; summitmountainguides.com

Contact (250) 354-6333; bcparks.ca 

 -Mapped by Steve Howe

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