Chris Tremblay has a lofty ambition: to visit all 3000 of British Columbia’s waterfalls. Naturally, this quest has brought him to the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, with its plethora of waterfalls. Not content with visiting the standard set of accessible falls, Chris ventured high into the wilderness of Monkman Provincial Park with his buddy Jarius Trelenberg to reach spectacular Courtipat Falls below Lupin Lake.

En route not only did they document and photograph two waterfalls upstream from the main falls, but they encountered an underground stream passage, a subsurface drainage feature characteristic of limestone rocks (the rocks and peaks around Lupin Lake are from the Devonian Period, about 390 million years old).

Here a creek tumbles into a deep crack in the limestone rocks and disappears, only to re-emerge from a cave as a small waterfall 150 metres down the valley. When Chris visited in late summer, water levels were low enough that entry into and up this underground river system was feasible, providing an awe-inspiring subterranean experience.

Beside the impressive Courtipat Falls, another stream emerges from an inaccessible opening in the high limestone cliffs. Courtipat Falls is names after Alfred Courtipat, a trapper from Kelly Lake, who worked the area many years before Monkman Provincial Park was designated.

Access to this remote area is challenging. It involves trailless alpine wilderness and ridges from the Monkman Tarns area, which in turn is accessed by a challenging route up from Monkman Lake (which is 24 kilometres from the trailhead at the Kinuseo Falls campground). The underground stream passage is to be found 100 metres up the main creek that enters Lupin Lake from the south, about 400 metres from the west end of the lake.

Chris Tremblay’s evocative photographs capture the majesty and excitement of this remote Geosite.

4 Comments

  1. Just curious if Chris lost his cook pot up there? I found one by the 1st cave exit which was the only sign of human presents. It looked fairly old though. I discovered quite a few more interesting features in the area which are not shown on the website. I believe that Chris must have missed these significant finds as they are equally impressive to the photos he captured. If there is a way to add photos to this site I would gladly share what I have discovered. If anyone is interested in an extreme adventure to the area and needs a guide contact me at jasonwvickery@gmail.com

  2. Another successful trip! This year we brought climbing gear so we could rappel into the cave we discovered. The cave formation is impressive. The waterfall we rappeled down was about 25 ft. The pool at the bottom is only crotch deep (dry season) which you have to wade through to get into the tunnel. The tunnel can be described as a half pipe waterslide that twists and turns as you go through it. The height of the ceiling drops after about 25 m in. From here you will need to crawl on your hands and knees through the underground water channel to proceed. Only the brave will go beyond this point to try and reach the exit. We made a rock cache at the waterfall and wrote a poem about our find.
    “She calls to me, her soothing whisper. The air she breaths is so much crisper.
    The path to find her remains unknown. For this adventure, I travel alone.
    Mesmerized by her mysterious black. Once I go in there’s no turning back. Chance of my return, I’ve yet to ponder. Into the abyss is where I must wonder.” As well, we discovered what I believe is Alfred Courtipats old camp site for trapping. The site has old snare wire, nails, an old campfire pit which the earth has grown up around along with a pile of old fire wood. An old outhouse site and saw/axe markings on trees. I believe this campsite to be over 40+ years old. This is the most beautiful place I have ever ventured to

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