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Pika Peak & Brachiopod & Anthozoan

Summit Elevation (m): 3033, 2695, 2660
Trip Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Elevation Gain (m): 1650
Round Trip Time (hr): unknown
Total Trip Distance (km): 24
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3/4 – you fall, you break something or worse
Difficulty Notes: A fall on the crux of Pika would severely injure or kill so take necessary precautions. Brachiopod and Anthozoan are easy to moderate scrambles.
Technical Rating: SC7; YDS (4th)
Map: Google Maps


Jon and I woke up early on September 6 2005 to clear skies and started up the trail to Hidden Lake and the slopes of Pika Peak. Pika is the most difficult of the ‘Kane’ Skoki scrambles and we both wondered what we were in for.

Pika Peak, Anthozoan and Brachiopod Mountain Route Map

Pika Peak

We were a bit stiff from scrambling Richardson and Ptarmigan the day before but after 20 minutes on the trail we were starting to warm up.

Our traverse route to Pika seen from Hidden Lake is above the cliff at mid photo casting the shadow.

Once we got to Hidden Lake we briefly considered going partly around the lake before heading up to Pika but quickly dismissed this notion because we didn’t know if there was a path through the cliff bands between Ptarmigan and Pika. Good thing we made this choice! We chose the upper side slope between Ptarmigan and Pika and actually followed a faint trail most of the way. We stayed up high, near the base of the cliffs and it always seemed to work out. The scree was frozen solid which made some of the traverses interesting.

Vern at the Richardson / Pika col with the scramble route rising to the right.

Eventually we made it to the Richardson / Pika col and started up the ‘tough stuff’. It really wasn’t that bad at all – I would rate it as moderate / difficult. Near the top it was quite exposed and with a light dusting of snow we had to be very careful but again nothing you wouldn’t expect on a difficult scramble. The views were absolutely stunning in every direction under the clear morning skies and we stayed at the summit for an extra few minutes just soaking it all in.

Jon on the impressively exposed summit of Pika Peak with Hector behind him.
Bident, Quadra, Fay, Allen, Temple, Deltaform, Hungabee, Aberdeen, Lefroy, Victoria, Cathedral and Stephen (R).

After a gorgeous half hour on the summit, it was time to head back to our camp at Hidden Lake, to pack up and move on to our Baker Lake camp site and scramble our next two objectives for the day, Anthozoan and Brachiopod mountains.

Not such a bad descent from Richardson – in clear conditions with crampons it would be easy.
Amazing views towards Mount Temple from the descent from near Hidden Lake.

My favorite Skoki scramble, I highly recommend Pika Peak.

Pika Peak
25 photos
Vern on the traverse to the Richardson / Pika col.
Vern on the traverse to the Richardson / Pika col.
Vern at the Richardson / Pika col with the scramble route rising to the right.
Vern at the Richardson / Pika col with the scramble route rising to the right.
Looking up the "difficult" section - more moderate IMHO.
Looking up the "difficult" section - more moderate IMHO.
Jon on the impressively exposed summit of Pika Peak with Hector behind him.
Jon on the impressively exposed summit of Pika Peak with Hector behind him.
Vern reads the summit register.
Vern reads the summit register.
Gorgeous views across the Trans Canada towards Lake Louise and Mount Temple
Gorgeous views across the Trans Canada towards Lake Louise and Mount Temple
Gorgeous views across the Trans Canada towards Lake Louise and Mount Temple
Gorgeous views across the Trans Canada towards Lake Louise and Mount Temple
Bident, Quadra, Fay, Temple, Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy, Victoria, Cathedral and Stephen (R).
Bident, Quadra, Fay, Temple, Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy, Victoria, Cathedral and Stephen (R).
Not such a bad descent from Richardson - in clear conditions with crampons it would be easy.
Not such a bad descent from Richardson - in clear conditions with crampons it would be easy.
A slightly wider view includes Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy and Victoria along with Allan, Temple, Saddle, Fairview, Piran, Whyte and Niblock
A slightly wider view includes Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy and Victoria along with Allan, Temple, Saddle, Fairview, Piran, Whyte and Niblock
Hector on the right with Balfour on the left.
Hector on the right with Balfour on the left.
Douglas and St. Bride with Oyster in the fg.
Douglas and St. Bride with Oyster in the fg.
Cataract Peak at distant left.
Cataract Peak at distant left.
I love this view of Bident and Quadra.
I love this view of Bident and Quadra.
Bident (L), Quadra and Fay (R).
Bident (L), Quadra and Fay (R).
Allen, Temple and Hungabee.
Allen, Temple and Hungabee.
Wall of Jericho with Skoki Peak, Cyclone, Pipestone and Drummond in the distance.
Wall of Jericho with Skoki Peak, Cyclone, Pipestone and Drummond in the distance.
Mount Richardson.
Mount Richardson.
Ptarmigan Peak with Lychnis (L) and Bonnet (C) in the far distance.
Ptarmigan Peak with Lychnis (L) and Bonnet (C) in the far distance.
Vern descends Pika Peak.
Vern descends Pika Peak.
Vern descends Pika Peak.
Vern descends Pika Peak.
Not such a bad descent from Richardson - in clear conditions with crampons it would be easy.
Not such a bad descent from Richardson - in clear conditions with crampons it would be easy.
Jon descends the crux terrain to the Richardson col.
Jon descends the crux terrain to the Richardson col.
Our traverse route to Pika seen from Hidden Lake is above the cliff at mid photo casting the shadow.
Our traverse route to Pika seen from Hidden Lake is above the cliff at mid photo casting the shadow.
Amazing views towards Mount Temple from the descent from near Hidden Lake.
Amazing views towards Mount Temple from the descent from near Hidden Lake.

Anthozoan Mountain

After scrambling Pika Peak earlier in the day on September 6 2005, and then backpacking from the Hidden Lake campground to the Baker Lake campground it was time to traverse Anthozoan Mountain. Before I get into that, I must stress that the bugs at the Hidden Lake camp were terrible, even in early September. This surprised us – we had assumed that a few good frosts would have killed off the mosquitoes, but it didn’t. 

The clouds and snow from the previous day are ancient history as we hike towards Boulder Pass under gorgeously clear and crisp skies.
Descending to Baker Lake with St. Bride, Lychnis and Tilted rising in the bg.
Rod takes a breather at the mosquito infested Baker Lake campground.
Looking to our crossing of Baker Creek at the eastern end of Baker Lake near the campground.

We didn’t originally plan on a full traverse of the mountain. To tell you the truth I was quite surprised by how far apart the Brachiopod and Anthozoan summits are. The two are fairly distinct mountains even though they are part of the same ridge system.

Vern and Rod start off on a good trail from the Baker Lake camp towards Brachiopod (L).

I would certainly NOT recommend doing Anthozoan the way Kane has it pictured in the scrambles book. We tried the side-sloping method from the pass and other than losing elevation needlessly and traversing endless blocks of loose scree and slabby terrain we didn’t gain anything over the method I would propose! I would suggest that you first tag the north summit via scree slopes directly from the Brachiopod / Anthozoan col and then traverse the entire length of Anthozoan to tag the true summit. The traverse is moderate at most and is quite pleasant.

Looking up at the north end of Anthozoan.
Mount Temple peeks over Unity Peak

After tagging the true summit I would either bail to the valley below (you’ll have to regain height to the Brachiopod col) or go back the way you came. Really I would suggest that you traverse Brachiopod from north to south, go down to the col and then traverse Anthozoan, bagging both of its summits before bailing to the valley and enjoying an easy hike back out.

Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.
Jon starts the traverse towards the north summit of Anthozoan with Brachiopod behind and Fossil looming over Brachiopod.

I enjoyed the views off of Anthozoan and once we figured out that the traverse (on the way back) was the way to go I rather enjoyed this little mountain. I wasn’t liking things so much on the way up though! After Anthozoan it was time to take our lesson and do a complete north to south traverse of Brachiopod Mountain.

Anthozoan Mountain
The clouds and snow from the previous day are ancient history as we hike towards Boulder Pass under gorgeously clear and crisp skies.
The clouds and snow from the previous day are ancient history as we hike towards Boulder Pass under gorgeously clear and crisp skies.
Douglas and St. Bride over Ptarmigan Lake.
Douglas and St. Bride over Ptarmigan Lake.
Looking back towards Boulder Pass (R) and Redoubt Mountain.
Looking back towards Boulder Pass (R) and Redoubt Mountain.
Descending to Baker Lake with St. Bride, Lychnis and Tilted rising in the bg.
Descending to Baker Lake with St. Bride, Lychnis and Tilted rising in the bg.
Descending to mosquito heaven...
Descending to mosquito heaven...
The Baker Lake campground.
The Baker Lake campground.
The Baker Lake campground.
The Baker Lake campground.
The Baker Lake campground.
The Baker Lake campground.
Looking to our crossing at the eastern end of Baker Lake near the campground.
Looking to our crossing at the eastern end of Baker Lake near the campground.
Looking to our crossing at the eastern end of Baker Lake near the campground.
Looking to our crossing at the eastern end of Baker Lake near the campground.
Crossing Baker Creek.
Crossing Baker Creek.
Views of Ptarmigan Peak over Baker Lake.
Views of Ptarmigan Peak over Baker Lake.
Views of Ptarmigan Peak over Baker Lake.
Views of Ptarmigan Peak over Baker Lake.
Brachiopod and Anthozoan (C).
Brachiopod and Anthozoan (C).
Vern and Rod start off on a good trail from the Baker Lake camp towards Brachiopod (L).
Vern and Rod start off on a good trail from the Baker Lake camp towards Brachiopod (L).
Jon and Rod on the traverse into the valley between Heather Ridge and Brachiopod.
Jon and Rod on the traverse into the valley between Heather Ridge and Brachiopod.
Heather Ridge (L) with Richardson and Ptarmigan in the distance.
Heather Ridge (L) with Richardson and Ptarmigan in the distance.
Looking up at the north end of Anthozoan.
Looking up at the north end of Anthozoan.
Mount Temple peeks over Unity Peak
Mount Temple peeks over Unity Peak
Richardson and Ptarmigan (R).
Richardson and Ptarmigan (R).
Mount St. Bride.
Mount St. Bride.
Mount St. Bride.
Mount St. Bride.
Mount Douglas can apparently be scrambled (difficult).
Mount Douglas can apparently be scrambled (difficult).
Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.
Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.
Views over Unity and Lipalian towards Lake Louise.
Views over Unity and Lipalian towards Lake Louise.
Vern and Jon on the true summit of Anthozoan
Vern and Jon on the true summit of Anthozoan
Jon starts the traverse towards the north summit of Anthozoan with Brachiopod behind and Fossil looming over Brachiopod.
Jon starts the traverse towards the north summit of Anthozoan with Brachiopod behind and Fossil looming over Brachiopod.
Looking back along Anthozoan's summit ridge to the true (south) summit from the north one.
Looking back along Anthozoan's summit ridge to the true (south) summit from the north one.
Vern and Jon on the north summit of Anthozoan
Vern and Jon on the north summit of Anthozoan
Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.
Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.

Brachiopod Mountain

After summitting Anthozoan Mountain it was time to try Brachiopod. We thought we would apply our lessons learned and instead of traversing the slopes to the north summit, we would first tag the south summit of Brachiopod and then traverse the entire mountain to the north and tag the true summit that way. I believe that this is the only way to do it. Actually I would first tag the true summit of Brachiopod, then do the traverse, go down the col and ascend and traverse Anthozoan but we kind of did the reverse of that.

Hickson (R) and Bonnet (C-R).
Baker Creek with Drummond and Douglas rising in the bg.

Traversing Brachiopod was not difficult. I would say that the scrambling is actually a more enjoyable ‘moderate’ rating this way rather than just a boring scree slog. Don’t get me wrong! It’s still a boring scree slog to reach the south summit but after that it was good fun. Just before the north (true) summit there is some fairly interesting scrambling up slabby terrain that I would also call ‘moderate’ rather than ‘easy’.

The great view of Douglas (L) and St. Bride (R) is what makes Brachiopod worth an ascent.
Ptarmigan Peak rises over Ptarmigan Lake.

Like all the mountains in the Skoki area, Brachiopod sported incredible views into the valleys below and the surrounding peaks. All of that aside, it was not my favorite ascent in the area. The next day we did another mountain traverse, Oyster Peak, which I enjoyed more.

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