Monument 83 Peak is an unofficial name given to a mid-elevation peak located along the international border of Canada and the United States. The nickname is given as a result of the peak being located at the "Monument 83" border marker. Another name given to the mountain is Holdover Peak.
Monument 83 Peak is most notable for its location as a fire lookout site. The US Forest Service (USFS) built a tree platform lookout and campsite at the summit area during the 1920s. Those were replaced by a cupola-style log cabin during 1930, which became considered the northernmost fire lookout in the United States. A 30'-tall timber tower, with a L-4 cab at its top, was constructed south of the cabin during 1953.
Cupola Log Cabin
Timber Lookout Tower
A revised international border survey during the 1960s determined the cabin was (and still is) located on the Canadian side of the border rather than the American side, making the cabin earn the distinction of being the southernmost fire lookout in Canada. This also made the tower the northernmost fire lookout in the contiguous United States by default.
Monument 83 Marker
The peak is almost universally reached by outdoor enthusiasts from the Canadian side of the international border, within Manning Provincial Park, rather than from the American side. The reason is because the summit is only 10 miles from the nearest trailhead on the Canadian side but many more miles (generally 30 or much more) if approached from the American side. Most people who visit the peak when originating from the American side do so as part of a major trek through the Pasayten Wilderness. Some people opt to do a trail loop of Monument 78 and Monument 83 using the Cascade Loop Trail on the American side of the international border.
The Legend Of Pasayten Pete
In addition to being a fire lookout site, another notable thing on the peak is a rocky grave is located between the cabin and tower.
The gravesite has a wooden headstone with the following carved inscription:
"PASAYTEN PETE - SHOT BY L.E. LAEL - 26.8.61"
Nobody really knows what lies under the gravesite. Is it a man? A horse? Nothing (but just a sentimental grave)?
Some of the only clues to be found were within a poem that was left in the cupola log cabin near the grave. The poem reads:
He wasn't a horse and he wasn't a dog
He was a wild man so they say
Who lived in the Wilderness just South of here
A murderer ne'er brought to bay
As strong as a bull and as mean as a bear
His exploits spawned many a tale
And her terrorized lookouts who lived on this knob
Until he met with L.E. Lael
The Ballad Of Pasayten Pete
From Manning Park Lodge within Manning Provincial Park, drive east 3.5 km (2.2 miles). Turn right (south) into the large parking area for the shared Monument 78/Monument 83 trailhead.
1) From the gated trailhead, follow the Monument 78/83 Road-Trail (an old forestry/fire access road).
2) The trail remains fairly level for the first 3 km (1.9 miles).
3) Soon after crossing a bridge over the Similkameen River, the trail splits at a trail sign. A trail leading to Boyds Meadow goes left while the Monument 78/83 road-trail continues to the right. The trail will soon cross the Similkameen River again as well as the Chuwanten River.
Similkameen River Crossing
4) After crossing the Chuwanten River, the trail begins ascending uphill and continues climbing through thick forest for most of the next 12 km (7.5 miles). As the summit nears, several small level areas are crossed prior to reaching the top of the mountain.
5) There are at least two trail washouts along Monument 83 Trail. One deep washout was caused by seasonal stream runoff. Another washout was caused when high water of Monument Creek wiped-out a large wooden bridge.
Seasonal Stream Washout
Monument Creek Bridge Washout
6) After 16 km (9.9 miles) from the trailhead, the summit area is reached. The summit area is above treeline and will be obvious based upon the fire lookout sites. The true summit of the peak is located closer to the cabin than the tower.
STARTING ELEVATION: 1121 meters (3678')
SUMMIT ELEVATION: 1988 meters (6520'+)
ROUNDTRIP DISTANCE: 32 km (19.9 miles)
Monument 83 is located within Manning Provincial Park.
No permits or fees are necessary if this is a day trip.
However, if staying overnight, backcountry fees and regulations apply.
For the latest fees and regulations, please visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/fees/
Hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and horsebacking are all allowed along Monument 83 Trail.
When to Climb
With the closest trailhead located near a major highway within Manning Provincial Park, and with a road-trail leading to the summit area, this peak is possible to reach during any season. The trail is semi-popular and accessible for hikers, crosscountry skiers, and snowshoers.
However, the 20-mile roundtrip trek makes this peak less desirable during Winter months, especially as a day ascent. Most people tend to only visit the peak during optimum hiking seasons between June-October after most or all snowpack has thawed.
Backcountry camping is allowed on Monument 83 Peak, including in the cupola log cabin. A "Leave No Trace" policy is always in effect.
However, if staying in the cabin, there have been some reports of visits by occasional rodents.
Inside Monument 83 Log Cabin