–submitted by Ramsay Dyer
The Ramblers trip to Malaspina Peak was disrupted on Saturday morning by a large Grand Fir that had laid to rest across the Canton West Main, a few kilometres before where we wanted to go. I hadn’t thought to throw my saw into the truck, but cutting it up will be a fairly big project anyway. We did briefly try to pull it out of the way, but no.
So we decided to go for Tahsis Mountain. When we did Santiago the previous week, we got a look at the approach that Lindsay had taken from the same area to ascend Tahsis Mountain. This seems to involve a fair bit of road walking and bush now, so taking the alternative route, ascending in the Malaspina drainage, that I’d explored previously had some appeal. I guess I’d kinda forgotten that that also involved a fair bit of road walking and bush (probably considerably more).
When I’d been up there before, I didn’t climb the highest peak, partly because it was a fair bit to the south of the ridge I ascended, and I was interested in descending via a route I’d partly explored to the north, but also because it looked pretty intimidating from that aspect. Since then, I’d decided that I was being too timid, and anyway, we won’t know how stiff it is until we actually go and try it.
What I didn’t learn until Phil convinced me when we were half-way up, is that I have been holding a misconception about which peak was the highest. The ridge that this route ascends leads to what I call the Central Peak. There is a blade just south of that, and I assumed that was represented by closed contours on the map. The highest peak is the next one south of those closed contours. However, the blade doesn’t actually have its existence indicated by any closed contours. Those contours indicate the peak that I thought was the highest, but which I’ll call the False Summit for now. [More information is available on the BC Geographic Names application]
When we got a clear view, we cut south from the ridge leading to the Central Peak, and made for the col between the False Summit and the blade, and we climbed the blade. This gave us a much closer view of the False Summit, and it still looked intimidating. The highest peak was now not an option for us on this trip, and we were interested in doing the descent to the north anyway, so we continued on to the Central Peak. We did not attempt to do this by traversing the ridgeline; we descended back to the eastern snowslopes and traversed across and up from there.
We then continued to the northern peaks, and from there descended to the Tahsis–Weymer col, and then down to the east to overgrown logging roads high on the eastern side of the Malaspina drainage.
It was an enjoyable trip, with Phil, Matt, and Dustin. There were no complaints about my misconceptions that put the highest peak out of reach. We did have a great visit to the northern part of the mountain, up rarely climbed peaks with nice views.
It is interesting that iMapBC marks Tahsis Mountain with a point at the top of the False Summit (I thought it was on the blade). I definitely want to get to the highest point on the mountain sometime, but the False Summit is also an interesting objective, that has likely never been climbed before.