Hiking the South Brooks Peninsula


This report recounts a story from a less-visited location, although it is not about a club trip.

I have been fascinated by the Brooks Peninsula for some time. Geographically it is significant as it sticks out quite prominently on the west side of the island near the northern tip. It is rumoured to have its own weather system and significant hazards for boaters and kayakers rounding its western point. There are some very hard to reach mountains on the peninsula as well, one called Mount Doom that has a great mystique by name and remoteness. Up in those mountains contain some interesting flora and fauna as this part of the island may have not been covered by snow and ice during the ice age, resulting in some prehistoric plants still living to this day.

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Maquilla Peak washed down with Mount Alston

–submitted by Matthew Lettington
In order to make the most of our time on the mountain, I organized a trip to the north island that included visits to two mountains. Both mountains are worth visiting individually, but by combining them into one day trip, we were able to save some money on fuel.
Friday evening Jes and Matthew camped out at the Forest Rec site at Klaklakama Lake. Predawn came even worse than it sounded after a poor night’s sleep (I think too much coffee). It was a short drive to the end of Chuckham Road, and we were hiking to Maquilla by 6:15 am. We parked to 800m, so there was a little more than 1000m to the summit. 
We ventured off the road and up a ridge to an adjoining route that gains the peak via the south ridge. We moved quickly through the light to moderate bush. There was no boot track to guide us but we had great beta provided by another club member – thanks, Eyrn! 
Lower ridge for Maquilla

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Hapush Mountain

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; originally published on explorington.com
–aditional photography by Jes Garceau

There are times when a mountain doesn’t quite measure up to one’s expectations. I’d pushed off an attempt on Hapush Mountain to the backburner in favour of other peaks on our list for several years. When Phil and Rick first did the Hapush, they recited nightmarish stories of bush and down climbs. Stories that were repeated whenever Hapush came up in conversation. It wasn’t one that I was rushing into.

Mount Cain Ski Lodge

But in July, when another friend successfully summited the peak and came back with a much better version of the story, I figured it was time to try her route to the summit – a route described by Tak O and Sandy B. I’m sure glad we did! I posted a trip to attract members who want to some more challenging terrain without the commitment of a huge day. It didn’t work out but we still had a great day!

Total Distance: 10 KM
Starting Elevation: 1140 m
Maximum Elevation: 1757 m
Total Elevation Gain: 800 m
Total Time: 4h 30 m

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Sutton Peak via the West Ridge


Sutton Peak is one of Vancouver Island’s illustrious 6000 footers. It’s a destination that I frequently poke Phil about doing; since he first summited – without me—back in 2016. Aside from its height, this route’s sparkling feature is the long west ridge that leads mountaineers to seek this summit.

No GPS Track Available

Total Distance: 15 km
Starting Elevation: 1094 m
Maximum Elevation: 1870 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1511 m
Total Duration: 8 h 30 min

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Mook Peak, Or What Happens When You Go Biking With Phil

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

We did it! We finally summited Mook Peak! Sure, it may have taken seven scheduled attempts, but we only set foot on the mountain twice. So often it appeared on the schedule, that it became a running joke between my hiking buddies and I. However, it was on the second attempt that we reached the summit.

Looking back on the summit of Mook Peak from the central bump

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Pinder Peak in the Province Range

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; orginally published on explorington.com

Our late September trip to Pinder Peak was fantastic! The combination of a dry, cool day on a snow-free route filled with plenty of alpine berries reminded me why I (sometimes) love fall hiking! This trip was very different from my first trip to Pinder Peak.

summit cairn

If you’ve ever driven along by Atluk Lake, you’ve probably spotted the Pinder massif out your window. It rises from the wooded shores of the lake as a rocky tower that begs the mountaineer to climb it. The summit massif is marked by two prominent features, either of which is a worthy objective, though the subpeak is probably more of a challenge.

Total Distance: 14.0 km
Starting  Elevation: 360 m
Maximum Elevation: 1550 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1223 m
Total Time: 7 hours

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Mount H’kusam Summit

July 7th, 2019

~ submitted by Ken Warren

After a comfortable night camping at the Sayward municipal campground, seven of us gathered at Bill’s Trail head at the base of mount H’kusam.

The weather was overcast with the cloud rising up to give us occasional views then dropping into the tree tops. The ascent was unremarkable except for the unrelenting climb. Trail conditions were very good.

We made it to the col in just under four hours and four of us dropped down to look for the route to the summit. Despite the best effort of eight eyes we could neither find the upper route nor the lower route. We returned to the col and clambered around the rocks for some nice views.

We returned the way we came, which made for a difficult descent. When I do this hike again I will do a car shuttle so we can descend the same way as the racers do. It was a very good day with excellent company. Thanks.

Cape Scott Trail

–submitted by Pam Newton

On Saturday, July 20th five hikers set off on their first trip to Cape Scott.  After meeting up at the North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel in Port Hardy, we went for dinner and checked out the local Filomi Festival.

Sunday morning, we arrived at the trailhead, eager to get started after 1 hr 45 min on the logging road.  We followed the well used trail past the Eric Lake campsite, over the new bridge at Fisherman River, and past the junction to Nels Bight before arriving at Nissen Bight 5 hours later, our home for the next two nights.  After setting up camp, we headed to the water source at the opposite end of the beach.  No whales were spotted, but we did see a large black bear happily grazing on the grasses above the beach.  We arrived back at camp ready to relax and enjoy dinner, and were treated to a beautiful sunset that evening.

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