May 12, 2018
A beautiful May weekend for a climb up Mt Arrowsmith and the timing for the Ramblers club day trip couldn’t have been better. We all met at 8am at Creekmore Coffee just off the Alberni Highway and carpooled for the trip up the mountain. The 6 of us split between the two vehicles and headed on our way. The first destination was the end of the spur road for Judges route which would be where we dropped a vehicle for the descent route. We all hopped into one truck and then headed back down to the lower spur on pass main to the end of that road where the Lost Gully trailhead is.
We started out up the trail at the end of the spur at 9:30am working our way up the right edge of the clearcut to climbers’ left of the drainage gully. Sticking to the high point of the ridge we steadily made our way all the way to where the forest begins to open and the rocky bluffs begin. At this point, we began to traverse slightly to climbers’ right making our way into the top of the drainage system and to the start of the lower of the two gully systems that make up the route.
The snow had consolidated perfectly and allowed for solid footing without crampons and with the lower gully being less exposed and not as steep, we just kept moving forward without crampons. At the top of this gully, we then scrambled up the class 4 rock to a ledge where we enjoyed a beautiful snack spot before tackling the upper of the two gully systems. As this route is much steeper, we put on our helmets and crampons to tackle the technical portion of the climb.
Onwards we pushed to the top of the gully determining the safest route. We moved to exit a snow spine to climbers’ right as the direct route was too melted out to a chock stone. Around the right we found a good route and worked up the last exposed snow ridge to the summit of the South Summit. Now on the top, the views were stunning and the summit traverse to the main peak looked incredible. Across and up and down we made our way on solid confident snow with some scrambling required on the exposed rock portions. Up the last bit of rock and we reached the summit roughly around 2pm after a nice steady ascent taking our time to enjoy the experience.
After a very long enjoyable summit experience, lots of food, lots of pictures and of course lots of smiles we headed down the mountain. Judges Route turned into a playground of slipping and sliding all the way down on the snow. Those that brought ski pants had the best bum slides of their lives, lol! We made extremely fast time down to the 1500m park boundary ridge notch where the snow line has started to disappear and rock and roots now litter the trail. Continuing our fast pace down the mountain, we were back at the trailhead of Judges in just a little over an hour from the summit ending at 4:30pm.
Everyone loaded up into the dropped truck and shuttled back to the other truck at the start of the day. Shuffling ourselves amongst the two vehicles, the race was on to Whiskey Creek for ice cream and a great way to end an Island Mountain Ramblers day in the Alpine.
Cheers ~ Chris