Patterson's Peak

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Raymond M. Patterson. Patterson, Raymond M. (A rancher, explorer and author, Raymond Patterson is closely associated with the Highwood Valley and the Nahanni and other northern rivers.) Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, October 28, 2017

After grunting my way up Serendipity Peak, I didn't linger long in the fierce winds at the summit but turned my attention quickly towards a distant looking Patterson's Peak. Actually, my first glance towards Patterson's made it appear much closer than I was expecting. It's not until I actually started descending to the Pyriform S5 / Patterson's col that I realized it was further than I first guess. Typical. (Don't confuse Patterson's Peak with Mount Patterson in Banff, which I've skied. The former is a relatively newly named summit - August of 2000 - and much easier.)

 

As soon as I dipped off the south ridge just below Serendipity's windy summit, the gale pretty much vanished. The winds on this particular day were strange. I spent 75% of the day in zero to very light winds. 10% of the day was in hurricane-force gusts that threatened to topple me over! The remaining 15% was transitioning between sublime and warm to cold and windy. Usually I get one or the other of these in the front ranges. I really enjoyed the 90% which made the 10% worth it. yes The traverse to the low col involved a bit of easy scrambling and some routefinding to avoid some slabs but nothing even moderate - it was easy terrain with low consequence. I thought about traversing higher towards Pyriform S5, but there's really no point, especially in the winds I had at that elevation. So Nakagawa tried to scramble that peak, as did Andrew Nugara and neither of them made it, so I certainly wasn't going to bother trying.

 

 
[Out of the wind again! The drop-in point off the south ridge of Serendipity at upper right and Patterson's Peak just left of center distance. It's further than it appears. ++]


[The traverse to the col is easy and pretty quick.]


[Just before reaching the col, the summit of Patterson's is now hidden behind the false summit so don't get too excited that you're almost there at this point!]

 

I was pleasantly surprised with the views from the col. Yes - the views back along my descent from Serendipity were a wee bit depressing since I'd have to regain all that height, but the views south down Head Creek towards Mount Head and north over a lovely alpine bowl along Pyriform S5 towards Lineham Twin Peaks and other peaks of Pyriform were stunning. A small rock arch near the col provided me with some pretty cool photos. The east face of Pyriform S5 was also very impressive. I finally took a break here and pondered the wonderful scenery - once again reminding myself that front ranges aren't always underwhelming. The switchbacked road running up to Gypsum Summit was pretty neat. That 'small' ridge takes a bloody long approach to attain! After my break, which included some Starbucks instant coffee, I felt refreshed to start up Patterson's Peak.

 

 
[The east face of Pyriform S5 overshadows the col with Patterson's. Serendipity at far upper left. ++]


[Patterson's false summit from the col - at least it looks easy.]

 
[One of Pyriform's outliers through the small rock arch near the col. Click here for a B&W version of this photo.]

 

As expected, the grunt up the false summit was easy, but a bit tiring. The coffee certainly gave me more energy than I was feeling up Serendipity though. I didn't pay enough attention to my GPS and ended up going too high on the false summit. To save your legs, you should stay about 50 vertical meters off this peak and traverse around its easy south slopes instead. Oh well. From the false summit, the true one was still a ways off. When I looked at the GPS and realized how far it still was I was a bit discouraged, but the great views kept me motivated to continue on. The winds were slowly ramping up. By the time I finally crested the summit of Patterson's, I was nearly blowing over in the hurricane-force gusts! Taking summit photos was challenging, to say the least.

 

 
[Looking back at Pyriform S5 as I start up the easy false summit. Serendipity at left.]

 
[From the false summit the true one looks a ways off yet - and it is. Note the switchbacks up Gypsum Summit on the right. ++]

 
[The easiest terrain up the final summit slopes is on the NW side of the ridge. The many outliers of Pyriform at left, including the "Lineham Twin - or Creek - Peaks" at left. ++]

 
[The winds were very strong here but the terrain to the summit was very easy.]

 

[Looking the other way (west) now, includes (L to R), Mount Head, Serendipity, Pyriform S5 and Lineham Creek Peaks with the High Rock Range in the distant background. ++]

 
[Great views  east from Patterson's Peak include (L to R), Pyriform, Dogtooth, Junction, High Rock Ridge, Gypsum and Mount HeadThe major creek at center is Flat Creek. ++]


[Even though Serendipity (C) is lower than Patterson's Peak, its views are slightly better due to it's location.]


[Great views over Gypsum Summit towards Mount Head which I finally climbed back in June of this year - in a whiteout with no views.]


[Great views over the West Fork of Flat Creek towards Pyriform, Dogtooth and Junction Mountain.]

 

I didn't linger too long at the summit of Patterson's Peak due to the intense winds and the fact that I knew most of the views to the west would be better from Serendipity. I descended back to the col with the false summit, not without some issues thanks to a VERY intense wind, before traversing up and around its south side to the col with Pyriform S5. I once again took a break at this pleasant col (no wind here) before slowly starting up the easy slopes back to the summit of Serendipity.

 

 
[As I work my way back to the false summit (L) I get some great views of Pyriform's many outliers over the frozen Patterson's Tarn at lower right. ++]

 
[Great views into the Head Creek valley towards Mount Head and Gypsum Summit. ++]

 
[Back at the col with Pyriform S5 and the arch. Serendipity (C-L) hardly looks like a separate peak from here. ++]


[Pyriform through the arch.]

 
[One last look into the lovely valley between Patterson's (R) and Pyriform (C) before I start back to Serendipity.]

 
[Great views as I retrace my steps back up Serendipity's NE face.]

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,728
Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,950
Elevation Gain (m): 
1600
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
16.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

No technical difficulties as part of a traverse from Serendipity Peak. A long day with routefinding from hwy 40.