Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: Hiking (Page 1 of 12)

Forbidden Plateau Traverse – Water Hazards May Be Present

~ submitted by Bil Derby

September 30, 2018

This trip received so much interest initially that a second trip running the opposite direction was scheduled and Julianna W graciously agreed to lead the second trip, although she was very quick to call shotgun on the downhill version – somehow predicting the benefit of finishing the day with lakes, rivers and rapids along the trail rather than starting the day against the flow.  By the morning of the trip, partly due to normal attrition and partly (mostly) due to an “inclement forecast” the overall group size shrunk to 9 and we all started from Raven Lodge for a generally downhill ramble to Wood Mountain.

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Black Tusk (with a bit of White Out)

~ submitted by Bil Derby

September 14-15, 2018

With trip planning spanning several months, complete with no shortage of shenanigans with the BC Parks reservation system, and the usual last-minute evolution of attendees, the trip date arrived. As an added bonus feature, we had an up to date weather forecast that suggested a “wee bit” of rain and some snow accumulations below the summit elevation, which cast some doubt on the potential for a summit as well as on the state of mind of those hardy hikers who stuck to the plan.

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Leighton Peak: A Surprise Canyoneering Experience

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally published on explorington.com

The transition between summer and fall was exceptionally rapid this year. After months of hot, dry weather, a cold front rolled in and brought temperatures below ten degrees and a deluge of rain that seemed to last for weeks. Even my five-year-old son noticed the change: “Dad, is it fall now?” Apparently so.

For me, the seasonal transition marks a time to reflect on my summer of accomplishments and disappointments, and to set new goals! New goals give me something to look forward to during the upcoming winter and help me plan out the next summer (I’ve already planned more than twenty days of trips for summer 2019). Between Phil and me, we have a lengthy list of multi-day adventures that we have been putting off, and this is the year to do them.

Phil on the summit ridge– it looks far!

Part of the planning for these trips is observing the inspiration that comes from reviewing the accomplishments of my online friends, via social media feeds. This summer, the algorithms inundated me with many stories about canyoneering. But, because I’m still only halfway through my Island Alpine Quest –a massive list of peaks– I didn’t dare dream too deeply, because I am committed to my current obsession. Perhaps this is why I never imagined finding myself in a steep-walled canyon, and I certainly never expected that experience to come on the descent of Mount Leighton, but that’s precisely what happened.


Total Distance: 11.3 km
Starting Elevation: 363 m
Maximum Elevation: 1409 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1086 m
Total Time: 7 hours, 41 minutes


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Mt McBride & Morrison Spire

~ submitted by Clarke Gourlay

August 31, 2018

Beautiful area.  Easy canoe voyage across the lake, nice open switch backs to the alpine and easy terrain spotted with turquoise lakes in Marble Meadows.  Complete with Karst sinkholes, caves and fossils galore.  Easy camping, good water (even after this very dry summer) and tall, but not difficult, mountains.  The whole group successfully climbed both peaks we set out for, and five of us added Marble Peak as an extra (a bit spicy and exposed).  Spent the one rainy evening/night in Wheaton Hut luxury.  Could have easily done the trip beginning Saturday morning early (we started Friday afternoon).  Wind at our backs both ways across the lake!

Augerpoint Traverse: And Then There Was Ten

When I was new to mountaineering, I was often intimidated when I listened to experienced mountaineers talk. They always seemed to know where they were and could easily identify the peaks they could see all around them, when to me it just looked like a sea of peaks. Further, they would talk about the names of places and trails as though they were commonplace. Features like the Augerpoint Traverse, and names like Mount Albert-Edward, were just two of the many names everyone (other than me) seemed to know. It was overwhelming! Although I was interested in learning about the places, names, and locations, I couldn’t imagine a time when I’d be able to identify them all.

Augerpoint Traverse, Strathcona Park, Mount Washington to HIghway 28 Traverse

Fast forward eight years, and today I can identify the shapes of many peaks amongst the sea. A big part of that is visiting a wide range of places, though I still struggle when I visit a new area. On top of being able to identify places, I’ve also met many of my hiking goals. Since I started hiking, I’ve hiked many of the most common access points to Strathcona Park, and even managed to hike one of those routes I heard about long ago: the Augerpoint Traverse (sometimes referred to as the Mount Washington to Buttle Lake Traverse).

Horizontal Distance: 47.8 km
Average Speed: 0.5 km/h
Starting Elevation: 291 m
Maximum Elevation: 2092 m
Total Elevation Gain: 3064 m

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5040 Peak

~ submitted by Bil Derby

August 19, 2018

Seems to be a trend but 06:00 hrs on 19 August found five hikers loitering about the north Nanaimo Starbucks……mostly because they are the only place open at that time of day that is not Tim Hortons.  A quick stop in Whiskey Creek to gather the other three people and onward we went, arriving at the trail head right about 08:20. The smoke haze was, at this point in the day, still relatively high and thin.

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Nootka Island

~ submitted by John Young

June 30 – July 4, 2018

My fifth trip on the Nootka Island Trail off the west coast of Vancouver Island  didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might have enjoyed it more than ever. It was more crowded than before–we saw several other groups of hikers, one even bigger than our group of nine. But, still not nearly as busy as other coastal hikes such as Cape Scott or the West Coast Trail, due in large part to the remoteness, accessible only by water taxi or float plane.

As the organizer of our trip, I opted for the water taxi transport return from Tahsis. It’s a lot cheaper than flying (especially when we had nine people in our group), and scenic, although on the day we set out, it was drizzling and rough, so not as enjoyable as when I last did it two years ago. With the boat ride option we had an extra three km to walk, too, at low tide across picturesque mudflats, making the trail about 40 km long altogether.

The trail is not on protected land, and is only sporadically maintained by volunteers, although in places you’d never know it, with huge fallen  trees to clamber over and salal to stagger through. For me, though, this is part of the attraction–the ruggedness of it. And the variety of the trail is  arguably unsurpassed — from lush old growth rainforest to swampy headlands, sandy beaches to boulder fields, the wonders never cease.

Thanks to my fellow hikers for making this a most enjoyable excursion!

 

 

Mt Curran – Squarehead Mtn – Mt Joan Traverse

~submitted by John Young

July 28, 2018

On Saturday, July 28 a group of 6 Ramblers headed up to do the Mt. Curran-Squarehead-Joan traverse, just north of Horne Lake. We drove up the Cook Creek Service Road for almost 15 km, and then up the rough logging road. It was a hot day, a scorcher, so the six of us were grateful to be able to drive up the jarring road, even if it was snail paced. We started hiking at nine a.m., and didn’t finish until 6:30; a long day in the hot sun. But the vistas and the profusion of blooms made up for it, as well as the good-spirited hikers.

Cruikshank Canyon Walkabout

~ submitted by Bil Derby

July 29, 2018

With the requisite, at least for me, Starbucks stop out of the way four of us left Nanaimo at just after 07:30 headed for Raven Lodge to meet the other three hikers coming from the Comox Valley. We welcomed several new IMR members with the “hi, my name is _______” stuff and wandered off at around 09:15.  The weather was clear and sunny and the congested parking lot emphasized how much the outdoors contributes to our collective island psyche.

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Mount Phillips Family Backpacking Trip

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally published on explorington.com

I struggle to find a balance between work, play, and family. When it comes to my annual vacation, I pack in as much playtime as I can, and this means I often leave my family at home while I’m off on an adventure. With my busy schedule, sometimes I’m unpacking one backpack by putting gear straight into a different one. This is exactly what happened on my August 13-15 backpacking trip to Mount Phillips. On August 10th, I hiked off the Augerpoint Traverse; with the next trip only a few days away, I didn’t have time to put anything away before getting ready for my family backpacking trip to Arnica Lake and Mount Phillips in Strathcona Park.

We had an ideal forecast, and if not for the haze of smoke in the air from forest fires, it would have been perfect conditions. Fortunately, the smoke didn’t hinder our breathing – it only obscured some of the otherwise amazing views.

Mount Phillips, Arnica Lake, Mount PHillips

alpine meadows that any bear would love

In addition to my wife and two children, I led a group of five Island Mountain Ramblers on a trip that I offered as an easy backpacking trip. The trip was split into three days, and the lion’s share of the distance and half of the elevation was planned along the well-manicured trail to Arnica Lake, where we set up a basecamp for two nights. Of course, the second half of the trip, out to Mount Phillips, is where the suffering was found.

Horizontal Distance: 29.1 km
Starting Elevation: 351 m
Maximum Elevation: 1718 m
Total climb: 1707 m
Total Duration: 3 days

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