Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: Snowshoeing (Page 2 of 2)

Mt Cain — The Long Way Around

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

Being focused on an objective is a great way to track progress and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal. But sometimes, I get so focused on the objective that I forget about everything that goes into making the day a success. On January 22nd, I had a good reminder that getting to the destination can be half the fun.

I’m usually the driver for our adventures. Behind the wheel, I’m focused on the moment: making sure I don’t fall asleep, leave us sideways on a patch of ice, or take the wrong road. I try to take in as much as I can, but I often let the landscape slide past me without paying it much mind. On January 22nd, I was a passenger — Oh, the sweet passenger life! I scrunched myself into the backseat, propped my head against the window, and watched the landscape roll by. I took it all in – well, at least the right side of the highway. We were on our way to … well, I don’t even remember where. I recall that our destination was past Gold River — a long drive, for sure! But where we were headed isn’t important, because we didn’t get there. In fact, we rerouted several times and ended up far from our original destination.

Mt Cain Snowshoe in the Dream Chute

Mt Cain parking area, Genesis Range

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Mt Grey, another in a growing list of failed summit attempts

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report and see more images on his blog

Mount Grey is a lovely hike through old-growth alpine fir and along a treed alpine ridge, up to a summit that offers great views of the Alberni Inlet. My Mount Grey trip had two portions of adventure: the cold from an arctic outflow, and the ride home.

On January 8th, I joined a group of six Island Mountain Ramblers on a trip up Mount Grey. Our original trip plan was Mount Adam, but we were concerned about avalanche and difficulty ascending the two incredibly steep slopes on the route. Our failed trip up Mount Derby and Mount Peel had given us first-hand knowledge of the region’s conditions, and currently, the avalanche conditions were rated considerable. It was a smart choice to change our plans, and I was happy to be attempt Mount Grey. We had high hopes that the conditions would be stable, due to lower elevation and proximity to the Alberni Inlet.

Mount Grey GPS Route and Map


Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Elevation: 434 m
Maximum Elevation: 1337 m
Total Elevation Gain: 894 m
Total Time: 6 h 45 m

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First Family/Novice Snowshoe of 2017

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report and see more images on his blog

A large group of Island Mountain Ramblers and guests assembled in the parking lot of Raven lodge, mid-morning of January 7th. The wind in the parking lot was frigid and the thermometer in my car read temperatures close to -10 C. In keeping with many of the trips I lead, I took a long time getting my seld ready for the trip.

snowshoeing, mount washington, snowshoing vancouver island, matthew lettington


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Kick of to 2017!

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

2016 is remembered by most as a year full of foul events, a year that just kept kicking people when they were down! From my perspective, the year looked pretty okay. My family welcomed a second child, I went back to university (AGAIN), and I amidst the mayhem still managed to adventure with many friends. In December, I examined my GPS trip data and discovered that I hiked, kayaked and/or snowshoed more than 60,0000 metres of elevation gain, and more than 700 kilometres of horizontal distance. More importantly, Phil and I checked off more than 30 peaks on our Island Alpine Quest. I was eager to add Mt Derby and Mt Peel to that list of completed peaks.

The Island Mountain Ramblers have a New Year’s Day tradition of hosting a hike to celebrate a new year of adventure. To kick off 2017, I joined my three club-mates on a three-day winter trip to kick of 2017. If successful we would summit Mt Derby and Mt Peel. The trip included two days of alpine winter camping, my first true winter camping experience. As our day of departure approached the forecast brought an arctic outflow, we were looking forward too -if that’s even the right term- temperatures as low as -24 C!


Total Distance: 12. 4 km
Starting Elevation: 420 m
Maximum Elevation: 1160 m
Total Elevation Gain: 825 m





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Katzenjammer Light

–submitted by Ken Warren

New Years morning was cold, breezy and clearing when four Ramblers set out in the snow from Witchcraft Lake to Mt Benson. There was one truck in the parking lot before us and a single hiker ahead of us.  Trail conditions were fair with around 6cm of fresh snow softening up the ice slick of the well used track. We made good time to the halfway point with a short off trail ramble to mix things up.

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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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First Family/Novice Snowshoe of 2016

–submitted by Matthew Lettington

The forecast held true for our scheduled Family/Novice snowshoe trip for the winter 2016/2017 season. The skies were darkened by overcast skies air temperature hovered just below freezing, and there was hardly any falling snow. overcast skies and the air was slightly below zero, on the Island Mountain Ramblers first Family/Novice snowshoe trip of the 2016/2017 winter.


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