Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Nootka Island

~ submitted by John Young

June 30 – July 4, 2018

My fifth trip on the Nootka Island Trail off the west coast of Vancouver Island  didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might have enjoyed it more than ever. It was more crowded than before–we saw several other groups of hikers, one even bigger than our group of nine. But, still not nearly as busy as other coastal hikes such as Cape Scott or the West Coast Trail, due in large part to the remoteness, accessible only by water taxi or float plane.

As the organizer of our trip, I opted for the water taxi transport return from Tahsis. It’s a lot cheaper than flying (especially when we had nine people in our group), and scenic, although on the day we set out, it was drizzling and rough, so not as enjoyable as when I last did it two years ago. With the boat ride option we had an extra three km to walk, too, at low tide across picturesque mudflats, making the trail about 40 km long altogether.

The trail is not on protected land, and is only sporadically maintained by volunteers, although in places you’d never know it, with huge fallen  trees to clamber over and salal to stagger through. For me, though, this is part of the attraction–the ruggedness of it. And the variety of the trail is  arguably unsurpassed — from lush old growth rainforest to swampy headlands, sandy beaches to boulder fields, the wonders never cease.

Thanks to my fellow hikers for making this a most enjoyable excursion!

 

 

Mt Curran – Squarehead Mtn – Mt Joan Traverse

~submitted by John Young

July 28, 2018

On Saturday, July 28 a group of 6 Ramblers headed up to do the Mt. Curran-Squarehead-Joan traverse, just north of Horne Lake. We drove up the Cook Creek Service Road for almost 15 km, and then up the rough logging road. It was a hot day, a scorcher, so the six of us were grateful to be able to drive up the jarring road, even if it was snail paced. We started hiking at nine a.m., and didn’t finish until 6:30; a long day in the hot sun. But the vistas and the profusion of blooms made up for it, as well as the good-spirited hikers.

Cruikshank Canyon Walkabout

~ submitted by Bil Derby

July 29, 2018

With the requisite, at least for me, Starbucks stop out of the way four of us left Nanaimo at just after 07:30 headed for Raven Lodge to meet the other three hikers coming from the Comox Valley. We welcomed several new IMR members with the “hi, my name is _______” stuff and wandered off at around 09:15.  The weather was clear and sunny and the congested parking lot emphasized how much the outdoors contributes to our collective island psyche.

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Eden Mountain: Gully Grovelling and Needle Threading

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report on explorington.com

Eden Mountain is a high point among a series of bumps that form an aesthetic ridge in the Genesis Range. Like many peaks in the region, it’s seldom summited, has little in the way of trip report beta, and is nestled among a series of twisting logging roads. The trip reports we found were nearly useless, because they report approaches from a now-inaccessible and well-overgrown logging road. On July 15th, just two days after returning from a week-long adventure on the North Coast Trail, I joined a group of six Island Mountain Ramblers on our first attempt to summit Eden Mountain from the terminus of the CC800 spur off Compton Creek Mainline (~910m).

We anticipated a quick trip, as the total elevation gain and horizontal distance promised to be low; just 1.5 kilometers from the car as the crow flies, and 800 meters elevation gain. We could even see the summit from the car, rising high above the logging slash, bluffs, and bush. Of course, I’ve played this game before and know full well that regardless of the metrics, simple trips can turn into day-long adventures that leave me scratched, bruised, dirty, and bitten. The trip to Eden Mountain was made long because of four long waits while we moved people through two tricky pieces of terrain.

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Matchlee Mountain 2018

~ submitted by Clarke Gourlay
~photographs submitted by Phil Jackson

July 28, 2018

7 IMR members, great day out.  Very varied terrain: old logging road, thick bush (avalanche basin), rock scrambling & climbing (to low 5th), veggie climbing, scree fields, snowfields, ridge climb, epic exposed jump to a 4’x4′ pinnacle; 12 hours round trip.

 

Mountain Improv

~ submitted by Adrian Houle

July 15, 2018

4 Island Mountain Ramblers attended and enjoyed the Mountain Improv course on July 15.

 

Bald Mountain Circuit

~ submitted by Mary Hof

July 22, 2018

Bald Mountain circuit today was enjoyed by 6 hikers. 12k, 4.5 hours, 650m elevation gain. We swam before the hike ended. It was a very hot day but beautiful. It was very nice to welcome a hiker from Spain – Claudia, she is 23 years old and is here to teach a family Spanish in exchange for living accommodation. A wonderful person, great hiker who will be doing me in more while she is here till September 4, after that she goes back to complete her Masters Degree.

 

Conuma Peak: Bush, Bluffs and Bugs

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

Conuma Peak has been on my must-climb bucket list since I learned that it features a large arch in the side of the mountain–the largest on any of the mountains on the island. Conuma is the second peak in the Tlupana Range that I’ve climbed, and offers views of many of the larger peaks around it. This trip wasn’t the first time we put it on the schedule, but it’s the first time we put our feet on the ground at the mountain; each of our previous attempts was thwarted by rainstorms, snowstorms, or the enticement of more feasible trips. Our July 22 summit attempt featured blue skies with minimal haze, hot air, and a bounty of bugs that made us question our sanity.

Our research yielded route descriptions from a few successful summits of Conuma Peak, but each used a different approach. The one that appealed to us the most, the one we used, approaches from a spur off the H60 logging road that originates on the Head Bay Mainline, halfway between Tahsis and Gold River. From the end of the logging road, our route travelled up the east side of the ridge until it gains the south ridge, and then up to the main summit block. By my estimation, a successful summit of Conuma Peak has as much to do with the strength of your navigation abilities as it does your tolerance for the bushwhacking and bugs. From the map, it’s impossible to decipher the specific terrain; however, the title of my report reveals all the majesty that makes up the convoluted route to Conuma Peak.

Total Distance: 8.5 km
Starting Elevation: 563 m
Maximum Elevation: 1479 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1028 m
Total Time: 9 hours, 10 minutes


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Strata Mountain

~ submitted by John Robertson

July 1, 2018

Three of us met at the usual North Nanaimo gathering point at 7am, and quickly got underway for parts north. We made good time to Mount Washington. We met 2 more adventurers at the Raven Lodge. Boots were tightened, packs were donned, and we were off.

The trip through Paradise meadows was predictably lovely. Trails were wet and muddy, with no trace of snow, until Lake Helen Mackenzie.

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Westwood Lake Ridges

~ submitted by Mary Hof

July 1, 2018

Three hikers from the Island Ramblers, and 8 from Cowichan Hikers celebrated Canada day by hiking the Westwood Lake Ridges and Robert Rooste. We sang O Canada as we held the flag. It felt good to be with people of all walks of life, and to be hiking on a beautiful day.

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