Steamboat Mountain via the Zipline

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; orginally published on

Steamboat Mountain rises prominently on the north side of Highway Four; you may have spotted the prow, a feature on the east end of the summit ridge, on a drive to Tofino. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like up there, it’s incredible! It’s also a problem that took me a few years to work out.

The Limestone Twins, northwest of the Steamboat’s summit.

The mountain screams for good weather approaches. This route, like many of the others off Highway Four, creeps through some of the densest biomass on earth. Buried in dark forest, the route is slimy when wet, and any semblance of a booted route can be obscured by low-hanging, water-laden branches. And here is where I hang my many failed, foolhardy summit bids: winter trips done in search of routes accessible off the highway, as the backroads were covered in snow. Of course, these early spring and late fall months are also the wettest, and short on daylight hours. In short, failed trips done in foul weather.

Total Distance: 15.4 km
Starting Elevation: 51 m
Maximum Elevation: 1469 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1538 m
Total Time: 13 hours, 10 minutes

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Hidden Peak: When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; orginally published on

I’m not a fair-weather hiker; in fact, I’m pretty stubborn. There are countless times when we’ve hiked despite a crappy forecast. Often, the poor weather never manifests, and instead we get something better; but more often, it’s worse. About the only time the weather stops us is when we are sitting high and dry in the vehicle at a trail head while a storm rages on outside. Then there are those unique hikes, the ones done on sunny days after an overnight downpour, when you end up with soaking clothing in hot weather. You chafe, your boots get waterlogged, and you feel wet, yet hot and uncomfortable at the same time.

lots of this type of fog as we hiked the benches toward the summit block

Our trip to Hidden Peak (July 11th) was an example of uncooperative weather – that which changes for the worse when you need it most. Although we started our journey with the promise of good weather, it became much worse before we got to the good stuff.

Our route to Hidden Peak

Total Distance: 14.6 km
Starting Elevation: 276 m
Maximum Elevation: 1455 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1492 m
Total Time: 14 hours

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Mount Maitland: A Hike for People Who Don’t Want to Be Clean

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally posted on

Wet. It was wet. It was very wet. This doesn’t even come close to describing how wet we were by the end of the day. It was the kind of day where any effort or equipment used to contravene the water would result in failure; so, we left our raingear in our backpacks with our dry clothes in case we needed them to get warm—a smart decision. It was the kind of day where I saw water well out of the cuff of Clarke’s boot when he stepped down onto a rock, and oozing out of the tongue of Phil’s boot when he flexed his toes.

hiking to Mount Maitland
these are the faces of fatigue


Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Elevation: 225 m
Maximum Elevation: 1258 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1140 m
Total Time: 9 h 15 m

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