Via Tunnel Creek Hut and Planetary Peak’s southwest ridge. A great summit with good views and good snow. Save it for a safer day.
Park at the Tunnel Creek pull-out, just past the tunnel along highway 3 south of Fernie.
The route begins out of the parking area up a logging road. From the parking area, cross Tunnel Creek so you are ascending up the logging road on the south side of the creek (climber’s left side). If the creek is open, use the road to cross the creek.
Follow the logging road for approximately 1.5 hours, gaining about 500m in elevation. At approximately 1423m or 49.347N 115.049W branch west off the logging road and ascend a drainage.
The drainage soon turns into a gully feature. It was easiest to ascend this gully using the slopes on the climber’s right side, through the trees.
Reaching Tunnel Creek Hut at 49.347N 115.062W. To ascend Planetary Peak via the southwest ridge, continue past the hut towards the col below the peak. There is a ‘toilet bowl’ below Planetary Peak that apparently gets hit by avalanches from time-to-time so don’t linger for too long. Descent route is shown above in red. No evidence of instabilities on this day, though.
Approaching the col on the left with our ascent and descent route shown above in red.
Skinning up Planetary Peak’s southwest ridge. Beautiful day!
Looking ahead to Planetary Peak’s summit ridge. We traversed the top of this ridge to reach the summit, before descending down the treed ridge below the summit.
Looking back along the summit ridge. Use caution on this traverse as there is a large, avalanche-prone slope below. Luckily, we had an icy and supportive crust that provided safe access to the summit.
Getting some great turns down Planetary Peak’s southeast slopes, which leads back down to Tunnel Creek Hut. Snow quality was a bit crusty near the summit, but quickly improved as we descended through the trees.
Cruising down the logging road back to the parking lot.
Actual GPS route above. Our route is in a clockwise direction up Planetary Peak’s southwest ridge, and down the southeast slopes.
Times and distances are round-trip.