Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Mountain: The Tie That Binds and Stretches Us

–submitted by Colleen Chestnut

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk staring idly at my computer between tasks.  Whenever my computer is inactive for a few minutes, the screen saver begins cycling through a series of about 200 photos.  Most are of my adventures: travelling, ocean kayaking, hiking and mountaineering.  The vast majority are of mountaineering excursions, either with my hiking club or with one or two close friends.  Although, I enjoy the solitude of my own thoughts and find pleasure in doing many activities alone, I prefer the company of others when I venture into the mountains.

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Ammonite Falls

–submitted by Adrian Houle

Successful trip to ammonite falls. The waterfall had large amounts of ice with water cutting through it.

Mount Tzouhalem, Muni trail off Neville Drive

–submitted by Mary Hof

What a day for a hike, 4 us started from the Muni trail off Neville drive for( Mt Tzouhalem). I am not familiar from that area, so I bet we took in trails that took us all over the place, but I did make it to the Awesome trail but came out much lower down then the bench. We then did Field of Dreams then the summit of Tzouhalem then to the cross and made our way to the Muni trail and back to the cars. 4 hours, 14km. Great views and great people. I know this hike was late notice, only on the schedule couple days. FB page is also nice as some saw it there.


Helen Mackenzie, Winter Camping

–submitted by Adrian Houle
— photographs submitted by Carmen Zitek

February 10th, 2018:

Four members of the Island Mountain Ramblers headed out on a winter camping trip to Lake Helen Mackenzie. The goal of the trip was to gain experience camping in sub-zero temperatures. And sub-zero temperatures we had!

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Mount Benson, a Snowy Day

–submitted by Bil Derby

On a foggy damp Sunday morning, the six of us met at the Witchcraft Trail Head, made introductions, tidied up the necessary paperwork, and offered our hopes to the weather gods before getting underway at 08:10.  Veering right away from the “tourist route” at the first trail junction we climbed upwards to cross McGarrigle Creek at 460 meters, more or less, to follow the Outer Route.  A brisk uphill from there led us to a brief stop at the first bluffy viewpoint just above the climbing wall. From here on the trail gets a bit bushy and there may have been a word or two about the use of hiking partners as dewatering tools for the salal.

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What’s your number?

Over the past month, I’ve had conversations, and exchanged emails, with many club members about the rating system we use to classify the trips on the club’s schedule. That’s the number you see beside the trip name on the schedule, and in the level of difficulty in the trip details (e.g. B1p2, C3p3). Many members are only looking at the first number, and using that to rate the trip, but this is a mistake.

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Boston Falls –Trip Cancelled!

–submitted by Matthew Lettington

It was late on Sunday morning that I made the call to cancel a long-planned trip to the Boston Falls lookout. I woke in the morning to find emails from participants that reported cancellations, people who wouldn’t drive through snow, and reports of 3″ of snow on the ground in Courtenay and Cambell River.

I thought carefully and weighed my options. In the end, the decision not to go examined carefully the reasons to continue. I feared that my only reason to continue the trip would be to fulfil my own sense of accomplishment and stroke my ego, but the risk would be the safety of the others involved.

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Maple Mountain Ramble

–submitted by Mary Hoff

Jan 14, was a nice weather day to hike Maple Mountain. Before our 9:30 departure, I had arranged two cars to be left on Chilco Rd. 11 of us started at the Osbourne Bay trailhead, we started on main bike trails and soon left for the off trails that not many people use. The views toward Mt Brenton, and Mt Benson were beautiful with the fog below, and the blue sky above. We stopped at Mary view, 2004, (sign still there)  for a wonderful view of Mt Prevost. We made our way to the lake, some ice still on it, and the sun was beautiful so we had our snack there. We then may our way to the tower using bike and hiking trails. At the summit we had nice sunshine. Ray took a group photo. We made our way down the pink trail, and then turned off using the old Chilco road trail. The hike was 5 hours, 13k. Everyone enjoyed it and it was a wonderful group all keeping the same pace.

Mary Hof,  leader

Avalanche rescue skill refresher & beacon hunt


A small but eager group gathered on the second beach at Westwood Lake. Objective? Remind ourselves of what to do if we are in the unfortunate situation of needing to do a companion avalanche rescue. 

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A leg stretcher: Copley Ridge

— submitted by Matthew Lettington

We had high hopes for the day, but not all plans come to fruition. Canoe Peak was a lofty goal for any day, but we were adding to the challenge by attempting a winter ascent. On our way through Sutton Pass (230 m) snow was falling fast and accumulating so fast that vehicle tracks were being obscured within minutes and within 15 minutes there was an inch of fresh snow on the road.

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