Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Category: Strathcona Regional District (Page 1 of 3)

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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Albert Edward/Jutland Ski Trip

-submitted by Adrian Houle

March 17th, 2018: We headed out from Raven Lodge, Mount Washington ski resort around 8 am. We took the western route through paradise meadows to and across Lake Helen Mackenzie, between Mount Elma and Mount Brooks. We continued past Strata Mountain and several hours after leaving the parking lot we were at our chosen base camp on Circlet Lake.

Skinning towards the distant view of Albert Edward

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A family snowshoe loop: Featuring another family!

–submitted by Matthew Lettington —read the report and see more photos on his blog

As parents, my wife Kim and I fall into all-too-familiar parent-child relationships with Hemingway and Octavia. My behaviour exemplifies the old platitude: When you love your kids, you want the best for them. You’ll go out of your way to make sure their lives are better than how you perceived your own to be. I take my children on backcountry adventures to give them formative experiences at a young age, experiences I don’t remember having when I was their age. Of course, believing that these adventures are making their lives better is a romantic notion; I wonder if Hemingway feels the same way.

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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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Octavia’s first snowshoe trip

–Photographs by Mike Hincks and Kim Leong

— view more pictures on explorington.com

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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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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Landslide Lake: a beginner’s backpack

–submitted by LeaderJamai Schile

Pre-Trip Planning:

Prior to heading out on the trail we met up a few days in advance to chat about gear, packing tips and travel arrangements. Rick was very helpful in showing us how to shave off unnecessary weight in our packs and meal planning. Turn’s out that Rick is quite the backcountry camp chef and he passed on loads of tips on preparing dehydrated meals as well as how to make pizza on the trail!

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Crest Mountain: a Ridge Ramble success story!

–submitted by Ken Warren

Twelve of us set off for Crest Mountain from the trailhead on the Gold River Highway. The forecast was for good weather and the sky was promising. The trail is well-designed and built, but gains 1100 meters in the first 5km. We didn’t hit snow until the 1400m elevation shortly before coming onto the plateau by the first tarn. The tarns are still 3/4 frozen with blue water pooling among the snow and ice. A forty minute hike in the snow from the tarn saw us gain another  100m and the cairn marked summit.

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Mount Judson from Saunders Mainline

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

Strathcona Park is a jewel nestled among many of the island’s tallest peaks. In many places, the long mountain ridges are the natural boundaries that define the shape of the park. All around the park, and sometimes within it, is evidence of industry: logging and mining change the landscape, and the juxtaposition of the two creates a dramatic, and obvious, delineation of the park boundary. Like it or not, these industries create roads that give access to some of the more obscure regions of the park, including the underappreciated northwest tip where Mount Judson (1750m) is located.

From some angles, Mount Judson looks intimidating. Bands of cliffs are clearly visible through pockets of dense forest, and on the skyline, steep snow slopes hide the true summit from view. For us, it was more than just a simple hike to the summit, but on June 11th our group rose to the challenge.

 

Total Distance:
Starting Elevation: 1200 m
Maximum Elevation: 1745 m
Elevation Gain: 1070 m
Total Time: 6 h 20 m

 

 


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