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

Routefind across precipitous ridges to an ice-filled lake.
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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

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 27.1

Waypoints

VHT001

Location: 49.783081, -117.745412

Drinnon Pass-Gwillim Lake trailhead

VHT002

Location: 49.789448, -117.730126

Drinnon Lake

VHT003

Location: 49.797057, -117.728333

Bear right at this 3-way junction to reach Drinnon Pass. Optional: Turn left for a side trip to Gwillim Lakes.

VHT004

Location: 49.797348, -117.726484

Drinnon Pass campsites

VHT005

Location: 49.79299, -117.714355

Crest the saddle on the north shoulder of Drinnon Peak. Descend the backside.

VHT006

Location: 49.798722, -117.711594

Hard-to-find gully

VHT007

Location: 49.793547, -117.704734

Unnamed pond and boulders

VHT008

Location: 49.793009, -117.697297

Valhalla Lake

VHT009

Location: 49.790486, -117.687856

Lakeside campsites

VHT010

Location: 49.784746, -117.67394

Awesome lakeside slabs

VHT011

Location: 49.787114, -117.662208

Icebound tarn beneath snow gully

VHT012

Location: 49.783686, -117.661199

40-degree snow gully

VHT013

Location: 49.782754, -117.659389

Col atop Asgard's southwest shoulder

VHT014

Location: 49.779733, -117.649878

Campsite

VHT015

Location: 49.784125, -117.656723

Asgard Peak summit

VHT016

Location: 49.760795, -117.649031

Gimli Col

VHT017

Location: 49.73586, -117.644682

Route ends at the Gimli trailhead.