Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: Club (Page 2 of 6)

Katzenjammer 2018- Arrowsmith’s Judge

–report by Wayne Mills
— photographs by John Young

Mount Arrowsmith (Judge’s-Route) was stunning, on January 1st. The largest mountain on southern Vancouver Island, definitely one for the more experienced hikers. It took us 6.5hrs at a steady pace, from dusk till dawn, steep and slippery, heart rate raiser and old injury breaker (knees/lower back). Snowshoes are not required. Crampons, poles, and axe are definitely required.

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Octavia’s first snowshoe trip

–Photographs by Mike Hincks and Kim Leong

— view more pictures on

Dear Octavia,

You’re a natural outdoorswoman! It was back on December 16th, 2017 that we finally got you out on your first snowshoe trip. I hosted a family/beginner snowshoe trip with the Island Mountain Ramblers as a way to get the whole family outdoors together. You were already 14 months old at the time — a whole year older than your brother’s first time! I’m sorry we waited so long to get you into a backpack and out in the snow! We tried to make it happen last winter, but between your age and the weather, we just couldn’t find a day that worked.

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Snowshoeing Mount Elliot: Fun in the Sun

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

It’s official, I’ve lost all my summer fitness! It was a long slow decline to the state I’m in now, a fact that was made painfully apparent on my snowshoe trip up Mount Elliot. But, I’m looking forward to a winter full of snowshoeing, skiing and family fun in the snow. And who knows, maybe I’ll kick myself back into shape again!

If you’re looking for a great snowshoe mountaineering trip, Mount Elliot may be the trip for you. Aside from one or two short, steep sections at the top, it’s a lovely route up the side of the southwest side of the mountain. The reward is the summit. On a clear day, the lucky mountaineer is rewarded with spectacular views of the Bonanza Range and the Johnstone Strait. It took me two attempts to reach the summit, but it was worth it!


Total Distance: 8.3 km
Starting Elevation: 785 m
Maximum Elevation: 1549 m
Total Elevation Gain: 817 m
Total Time: 6 hours


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Forbidden Plateau to Mt. Washington – Sept. 30, 2017

— Read the original post on John Young’s blog

Wow! What colors! I’ve never been so dazzled by fall colors as I was yesterday on our Island Mountain Ramblers’ hike from Forbidden Plateau to Mt. Washington.

We started our 27 k. hike at 8:20 under cloudy skies, with showers in the forecast We headed up the old ski area, and although going from this end meant we had more elevation gain than starting from Mt. Washington, I was glad we got this part over first, as it wasn’t ‘t scenic at all. Thanks to our leader, John Robertson, for arranging our car shuttles and deciding to start from the old Wood Mountain (Forbidden Plateau) Ski Area.

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Wood Mountain to Paradise Meadows

–Submitted by John Robertson

Five hikers set out in 2 vehicles from north Nanaimo at 6am. By 8:20, we had dropped a vehicle off at the Mount Washington trailhead, and backtracked in the other, to the old Wood mountain ski area. Drizzle and cold wind greeted us as we shouldered packs, but with the initial climb up the old ski hill, we worked off any potential chill quickly.We stopped for lunch at McKenzie Lake. By that time, the wind had died to nothing, and the sun was doing battle with the clouds (although the clouds ultimately won the day). After lunch, we continued on our way, in a light rain. From this point, the trail became a bit more grown in, and we took turns in the lead position, filling our boots as we knocked accumulated water off the blueberry bushes that hung over the trail.The GPS recorded 27.7 kilometers, and we were all quite satisfied with our day. It’s a good hike, when, as soon as the pack comes off, the talk is about the next opportunity to do it again.

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Circlet Lake Backpacking Trip

–Submitted by Jamai Schile

Arriving at the parking lot for the Nordic Centre around 10 am, we were surprised to see how busy it was. We speculated that the combination of fires in the interior and the number of closed Island trails created an above average number of visitors to the park this year.

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Late Summer Rappel Workshop

–submitted by Matthew Lettington
–photographs by Shayna Bussey

The group of five met in Pipers Lagoon at 6 PM. We had warm breezes and the surrounding cloud provided an excellent backdrop for the evening’s workshop, and ideal conditions for the workshop.

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Waring Peak: Striking Back

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

Have you ever struggled to achieve an objective, and been turned back? I have–a lot! Waring Peak in the Sutton Range is among several peaks that we failed to summit last winter. My first attempt came to a premature end, with the group looking longingly at the base of the summit block, merely 200 metres away from the summit of the mountain. This August, we struck back at mountains that had turned us back last winter. This time, after only 2.5 hours of hiking, we were standing on the summit admiring the view, and enjoying the narrow upper ridge of this Vancouver Island peak. It’s satisfying to gain these summits, but it’s remarkable how different the approaches are in the different seasons. Of note, the biggest surprise is the bush!


Toal Distance:  9.1 km
Startin Elevation: 541 m
Maximum Elevation: 1599 m
Elevation Gain: 1071 m
Time:  5 h 15 m



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Ash Pond Trail, Mt. Becher via Slingshot meadows

–submitted by Adrian Houle

We started at Wood Mountain parking lot. We traveled past the ruins of the old ski hill to the border of Strathcona park. From there we followed the trail and took the route signed as Drabble and lamountainie, skirting under the cliffs of Mount Becher.

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Jagged Peak: Grovelling in the Gully

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

[insert snappy introduction]

I love mountaineering in the Sutton Range because the peaks offer a sense of exploration I don’t always find in more popular regions. I attribute this feeling to the relative isolation of the peaks: they are a long way from the major population centres of Vancouver Island, and there are no paved roads to the trailheads. Because of this, we rarely see booted routes to guide us on our way. It’s in the Sutton Range that we found our Sunday adventure, on Jagged Peak.

Many of the peaks in the Sutton Range are dramatic, jagged forms that inspire feelings of dread (or excitement) as you look at them. Jagged Peak, aptly named for its long, crumbling gullies, is no exception. Jagged Peak is a less popular destination than other mountains in the Sutton Range, such as Victoria and Warden Peaks. Individually, they might be difficult to identify, but these dramatic, and iconic peaks rise together from the valley and create an easily identifiable Vancouver Island landmark.


Total Distance:  11.5 km
Starting Elevation: 605 m
Maximum Elevation: 1700 m
Elevation Gain: 1150 m
Total Time: 6 h 30 m


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