Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: mountaineering (Page 2 of 6)

Hiking Between the Peaks in the Genesis Range: A Failed Attempt at Mount Abraham

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

It’s great having a regular group of friends to hike with. From week to week, the members of the group may change, but each person comes to be someone on whom I can rely. It’s more important that they are consistent and always improving than that they are the best at any given task. When the bush gets thick or the slopes get slick, looking over and seeing someone else suffering alongside me, or seeing them surmount a problem, inspires me to keep going. Of course, sometimes it’s the group that makes the tough choice to turn around, as we did on our June 3rd excursion to Mount Abraham. 

The lake in the hanging valley hiking to Mount Abraham on Vancouver Island

about 100 metres from this spot you should see a ridge rising toward the summit of Mount Abraham

Yes, another adventure in the Genesis Range. Mount Abraham was the goal, and we arrived expecting a gruelling day of fighting bush, fording rivers, and grunting up steep slopes through blueberry, willow, and huckleberry. We were only half right.


Total Distance: 13 km
Starting Elevation: 840 m
Elevation Gain: 950
Maximum Elevation: 1639 m
Total Time: 6 h

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Hiking Mount Derby & Mount Peel: Uphill Both Ways

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

Another May long weekend has come and gone, and with it another “first of the summer” camping trip. I don’t put much stock into the idea of the shoulder season — it’s a myth made up by The Man — but this trip felt more like a summer getaway than any other of the season, except for the rain, fog, and snow up to our knees. But thank goodness that the shoulder season is over, right?

The trip started with a hoot an’ a holler. We anticipated a longish slog along a deactivated logging road, more of an alder farm complete with cross-ditches, but today we found that the former jungle has been replaced by a new logging road. We cheered the removal of this most dreaded obstacle, the one that would take the most amount of effort with the least amount of reward. Driving to the end of the logging road allowed us to park just meters from the old-growth, and probably saved us a few hours of travel in each direction. What a boon! We grabbed our gear and headed up into the dense West Coast forest.

Total Distance: 33 km
Starting Elevation: 844 meters
Maximum Elevation: 1645 meters
Total Elevation Gain: 3155 metres

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Lost Gully – Mount Arrowsmith

~submitted by Chris Istace –The Mindful Explorer-

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.

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Mount Sarai

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

Back in September 2016, I was one of a group that failed to summit Mount Sarai in the Genesis Range. On that trip, we routed up a steep slope to the end of the west ridge in the hopes of following it to the summit. Unfortunately, we discovered a piece of not-so-micro terrain that didn’t make it onto the map – a not insignificant bluff- that stopped our summit attempt. On that day, from our highest vantage point on the end of the ridge, we looked down into the valley and spotted a route up a gully that we believed would provide access to the summit of Mount Sarai. But it wasn’t until May 6th, 2018, a week after our successful summit of Mount Adam, that we gathered ourselves for a spring summit of Mount Sarai.

Total Distance: 8.4 km
Starting Elevation: 812 m
Maximum Elevation: 1670 m
Total Elevation Gain: 960 m
Total Time: 6h 20 m

 

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Genesis Mountain: An Easy Ridge Ramble

–submitted by Matthew Lettington. See explorington.com for more images

Located in the Genesis Range on the northeast edge of Schoen Lake Provincial Park, Genesis Mountain is far from a well-known mountain. It’s out of the way, and surrounded by more impressive objectives, but if your mountaineering interests include easy rambles along alpine ridges, then add Genesis Mountain to your bucket list of Vancouver Island hiking destinations.

After a stellar early-season snowshoe up Mount Romeo, we had high hopes for another early-season snowshoe trip. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the start of our route, we were surprised to discover that the accumulated snow from just two weeks prior had melted — that’s a lot of melt! On the plus side, we parked at the highest point of the road (~1200m).

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Mount Adam: Spring in the Genesis Range

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally published on his blog

Every once in a while, one of my adventures doesn’t live up to my expectations (ahem, West Coast Trail). Be it an error in planning and predicting terrain, or environmental conditions, sometimes a trip is either much easier or much more difficult than anticipated. In our planning for Mount Adam, we anticipated that we’d be anxiously gritting our teeth as we hung on for dear life and dragging aching legs by the end of the day. But on April 29th, we summited rather quickly, and avoided the teeth-grinding, mostly.

I overestimated the difficulty of this trip based on two factors, the first of which was poorly predicting the elevation of the snowline. The second and most significant factor relates to a prior trip to Mount Schoen, a mountain located on the same ridge. On that trip, we accessed the connecting ridge between Adam and Schoen via a steep, long (>1000 metre elevation) scree slope. It was an experience that ended a pair of Phil’s much-loved shoes and scared us, and even two years later — more than 80 mountains — we still frequently reference the experience. That slope has become a benchmark of sorts when comparing terrain on all our trips.

 

Total Distance: 5.6 km
Starting Elevation: 861 m
Maximum Elevation: 1727 m
Total Elevation Gain: 871 m
Total Time: 5 hours

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Canoe Peak: Go Slow to Go Fast

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, see more images on his blog

One of the reasons I’m drawn to travelling in Vancouver Island’s wild places is the charge I get from overcoming the challenges associated with it. It’s not the challenges that I’m attracted to, nor some sort of macho self-reliance; rather, it’s proving to myself that I can do it. It’s setting a goal and finding a way to achieve it. It gives me a way to measure my successes. And wow, I’ve had a lot of failures over the years.

I can’t say there’s a secret to finding success, at least not one this post is going to offer, because success is a feeling that each of us measures differently. But, generally speaking, finding success includes learning a lot of lessons, and gathering a lot of knowledge. Travelling in the backcountry is no different.

Some of these lessons are easy to gather. They can be found on the internet, in a book, in a formal education setting, or shared among friends on a hike. But there are just as many that can only be earned through lived experience. It’s these lessons that sometimes must be learned over and over before they become part of our way of being. I thought a lot about this on my April 15th trip to Canoe Peak in the Mackenzie range.

On my first (failed) attempt at Canoe Peak from the micro-dam, we were rewarded with excellent views, but avalanche conditions turned us back. This time, we arrived at the trailhead with knowledge of the route, provided by a few friends who had summited just a week earlier.

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Tyee Mountain

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, see more images on his blog

If you’re like me and love hiking the alpine of Vancouver Island, then I recommend you make time for a trip to Tyee Mountain. Despite its form only rising to a height of 1670 metres, it offers views of the Salmon River to the east and the Gold River valley on the west. Even better are the views of the surrounding ridges and peaks, including at least five of the tallest peaks on Vancouver Island. There’s just one problem: getting to it.

Total Distance: 29.9 km
Starting Elevation: 350 m
Maximum Elevation: 1671 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1758 m

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Big Baldy Mountain — A Long March Into Spring

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the report and see more images on explorington.com

Most people mark the passage of time by annual events in their lives like birthdays, holidays, the New Year, and so on. Since I’ve started my Island Alpine Quest, I’ve started marking the march into Spring by how early I leave home on Sunday morning. During the winter, my departure from home is timed so that we arrive at the trailhead when the sun is rising, allowing us to maximize the daylight hours for hiking. As Spring emerges, the long winter nights erode, and the days get longer, we start to plan longer, more challenging routes. This means that in order to reach the trailhead at dawn, we find ourselves leaving home earlier and earlier; by mid-April, it’s not uncommon for us to leave Nanaimo at 4:00 am and do most of our driving in the dark. This was certainly the case for my March 22, 2018 trip to Big Baldy Mountain.

Climbing out of the gully; looking back on the logging road approach

Climbing out of the gully; looking back on the logging road approach

Big Baldy Mountain is a broad, treeless summit west of Gold River. In fact, from the summit, you can clearly see this shrinking west coast town. It’s not the most challenging or aesthetic mountain on the island, and it doesn’t offer amazing views, so it’s no surprise that most mountaineers won’t make it here. Instead, they are lured in by the more dramatic peaks of Strathcona Park; you have to drive many of them on your way to Gold River. It’s also overlooked as a destination because while the ridge is easy to access, getting to the summit takes some route-finding skills that will challenge those more interested in an easy trail walk.

Even for those that will add Big Baldy Mountain to their list of destinations, snowshoeing to the summit like we did will be an even less popular choice. But for anyone who does, they will revel in the forested west ridge, snow-covered mountaintop, peekaboo views of the west coast, and one of the finest butt-sliding opportunities on the island.

Distance: 19 km
Starting Elevation: 500m
Maximum Elevation: 1450 m
Elevation Gain: 1750 m
Time: 9 h

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Hemingway’s first summit: Mount Elma

–all photographs and video courtesy Michael Paskevicious

Read the full report and see more photographs on Explorington.com

 

Dear Hemingway,

You’re four-and-a-half years old now–time sure flies. I made only two resolutions for 2018, and the first and most important one was to get my whole family out on a mountain adventure (Paradise Meadows doesn’t count). You’ve been my adventure companion on many trips, but it wasn’t until our January 6th trip that we summited our first mountain together: Mount Elma. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort to see your smile when we crested the hill and walked out onto Mount Elma’s summit plateau.

topo map for Mount Elma

Mount Elma Map and GPS route

 

Total Distance: 12 km
Starting Elevation: 166m
Maximum Elevation: 1418 m
Total Elevation Gain: 446 m
Total Time: 5h 30m


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