Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: mountaineering (Page 2 of 3)

Mount Spencer: The Great Congo Line of December 2016

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

I’ll cut to the chase– we didn’t make the summit of Mount Spencer. Of course, as with most of my stories, the devil’s in the details.

On December 18th, Vancouver Island was deep in a colder-than-normal shoulder season. The day held a forecast for overcast skies and precipitation. Further, the Mount Spencer trip was scheduled on a day with only 8 hours of daylight, almost the shortest day of the year.

The cold month had brought snow low down on the mountains, and covered the logging roads in snow. From a hiking perspective, with our approach routes covered in snow, we wouldn’t be able to drive very far — meaning that our Mount Spencer hike was double the normal distance.

snowshoeing, vancouver island, explorington, matthew lettington, hiking, mountaineering, Mt Spencer, Alberni Valley

Mount Spencer map and GPS route

 

Total Distance: 20.6 km
Starting Elevation: 388 m
Maximum Elevation: 1430 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1414 m
Total Time: 11 h

 

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Mount Ashwood & Bonanza Peak

–submitted by Matthew Lettington from his blog: explorington.com

Each summer I look forward to one of two longer multi-day trips, mountaineering through Vancouver Island’s back backcountry. I set the time aside and plan most of my summer around these trips. They become the focus of the summer. This summer we planned a 7-day trek through Strathcona Park, along the Wolfe/Cervus Divide. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.
As the day of departure came, the long range weather forecast looked bleak: three days of heavy rain. It’s not the rain that doused our trip plans, we’ve hiked and camped in many a deluge. However, along with the rain the forecast predicted multiple days of lighting! Instead, we traveled farther north, to avoid the inclement weather, and used the days to do some climbing in the Bonanza Range. This report is for the first day Mount Ashwood and Bonanza Peak!

Mount Ashwood and Bonanza Map and GPS Route

Mount Ashwood and Bonanza Map and GPS Route

 

Total Distance:10.9 km
Starting Elevation: 690 m
Maximum Elevation: 1746 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1488 m
Total Time: 11 hours

 

 

 

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Marmot Mountain

— Submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the report on his blog

As I write this, I’m drinking a hot chocolate to warm my belly and ease the dull ache of dissatisfaction that’s buzzing in the back of my head. Today, we took a shot at Mount Marmot. Unfortunately, the steep slopes and powdery snow proved too much for the short time we had.

It was already 6:00 am when the fourteen of us met at Harewood Mall. By the time we drove the long road to Nanaimo Lakes, the gates were open; since there was no attendant, we were able to drive right through. Our destination is deep in the heart of the Sadie Creek Valley, along a road familiar to me. We tried to climb this route last winter, but at that time a creek was flowing so fast that we couldn’t hop over it. Today, we discovered active logging in the area, and a new bridge constructed across that creek. With the new bridge, we were able to drive farther into the valley, making the hike several kilometres shorter.

Marmot Mountain Map and GPS Route

Marmot Mountain Map and GPS Route

 

Total Distance: 7.5 km
Starting Elevation: 419 m
Maximum Elevation: 1209 m
Total Elevation Gain: 786 m
Total Time: 6h 45 m

 

 

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Gemini Mountain Double Peaks

–submitted by Phil Jackson

In the early mornign, 15 Nanaimo hikers met at Harewood Mall Starbucks, under threatening skies and proceeded to Nanaimo Lakes on our way to hike up Gemini Mountain. Hitting the trail after 9am we proceeded through old growth forest and within 45minutes summited the first summit under rainy skies.

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Mount Gemini – the twin peak

–submitted by Matthew Lettington. Read the full report on his blog

I did the math: I’m approaching the 100th peak in my Island Alpine Quest. Although most peaks on Vancouver Island have some level of difficulty associated with their approach, some are even more difficult to get to, and Gemini Mountain falls into this category. It’s tucked deep in behind Nanaimo, past Third Lake and south of Fourth Lake. Although there is a good-quality gravel road that drives up to 1200 metres, and the peak would be a lovely short summer hike, the trick is getting access to the road!

gemini mountain, hiking near nanaimo, matthew lettington, island mountain ramblers

Gemini Mountain Map and GPS Route

 

 

Total Distance: 5.4 km
Starting Elevation:  1218 m
Maximum Elevation: 1524 m
Elevation Gain: 600 m
Total Time:

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Unnamed Peak in the Genesis Range

-submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog

On September 11th I joined three friends on an unsuccessful attempt at Mount Sarai, a peak in the Genesis Range. We were hastened by fine weather, and though we didn’t make our primary objective, we eventually summited an unnamed bump and enjoyed stellar views.

The clock ticked past 8:00 am as we turned off the Island Highway and onto the logging road. It was another 45 minutes of easy driving before we were forced to stop the Jeep, not far from the end of the road. A huge old-growth log crossed the entire road; it must have slid from high up on the steep slope. It’s here that we prepared for our adventure and proceeded on foot.

hiking and Mountaineering on Vancouver Island

hiking route and GPS track

 

Total Distance: 4.4 km
Starting Elevation: 770 m
Maximum Elevation: 1482 m
Total Elevation Gain: 716 m
Total Time: 3h 45m

 

 

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Rodgers Ridge summit shot

Rodgers Ridge: An Easy Alpine Ramble

The post Rodgers Ridge: An Easy Alpine Ramble appeared first on Explorington.


Rodgers Ridge is among my favourite easy alpine hiking routes. It’s a non-technical route with a lightly booted trail that ambles through the light alpine bush, past a secret hut, and along rolling slab rock. Once high on the ridge you can see views of Buttle Lake and many of the peaks in Strathcona Park. I’ve posted numerous reports from the area but my favourite is the time my car stuck on the logging road— 37 kilometres up the Argonaught and Granite Mainlines! I added it to the schedule and as one of the objectives for the Island Mountain Ramblers Ridge Rambler Challenge because this region is among my favourite ridge hikes.

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A lovely overnigher on 5040

–submitted by Lisa Hanlon

Ladies hike! We had a lovely time. When we reached our camp spot at Cobalt lake, there was a mist over the mountains. However, when we woke in the morning to hike we had lovely views as the clouds moved amongst the mountains. Amazing views of Triple Peak! There was a bit of snow to traverse, a bit of scrambling to make it fun and challenging. Overall, a lovely hike!

5040 Vancouver Island and Island Mountain Ramblers

5040 Vancouver Island and Island Mountain Ramblers

 

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Whiltilla Mountain, Day two in the Bonanza Range

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog

This report is a chapter in a longer series of reports from a multi-day car camping and mountaineering expedition done in the summer of 2016. In this section, day 2 July 17th, we climb Whiltilla Mountain.

Every summer I look forward to one of two long trips trekking and mountaineering in Vancouver Island’s backcountry. They become the focus of the summer because it’s difficult to get 7 days where I can head into the backcountry with friends so these days are sacrosanct. This summer we planned a trip through Strathcona Park along the Wolfe/Cervus Divide. Mother nature had other plans. As the day of departure came, the forecast called for three days of lighting. We changed our plan and traveled farther north, and used the days to do some climbing in the Bonanza Range.

Whiltilla Mountain, Bonanza Range, hiking on Vancouver Island

Whiltilla Mountain Map and GPS Route

 

Total Distance: 7.8 km
Starting Elevation: 948 m
Maximum Elevation: 1698 m
Total Elevation Gain: 782 m
Total Time: 5 h 20 m

 

 

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Hiking Fabulous Rees Ridge in Strathcona Park

Inhaling deeply, I hold my breath a long moment and then slowly exhale. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears, and feel it in my chest, as I release the shutter on my camera. It shudders as the frame is captured, preserving the moment. I’m high up on the summit of Mount Celeste, the highpoint on Rees Ridge, looking west over the mountain ridges and peaks that form the body of Strathcona Park. Behind me, the Aureole Icefield stretches the length of Rees Ridge. From my vantage point, I think about this place, its history, its visitors, and I reflect on its significance to me – the birthplace of my passion for mountaineering.

My introduction to mountaineering was not a trial by fire, but a trial by snow and ice. In July 2010, I joined the Island Mountain Ramblers and went on my first mountaineering adventure: a seven-day, ten-peak extravaganza through Strathcona Park. Although the trip included several ridge walks and a lot of traversing, the highlight was walking on one of Vancouver Island’s most precious mountain features: the Aureole Icefield on Rees Ridge. At a height of over 2000 metres, Rees Ridge gives access to some of the most outstanding views of Comox Glacier, Argus, Harmston, Tzela, Shepherds Ridge, Flower Ridge, Rousseau Ridge … if we were talking, I would be out of breath just listing them!

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