Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

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Our first failure at winter camping

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog

Dear Hemingway,

We just finished our first father-and-son camping trip, or at least our first attempt. You’re only three and a half years old, and we’ve already done a lot of overnight backcountry trips, but never one in snow, and never just the two of us. I was excited, and so were you. It was an ambitious undertaking: I would be on skis, pulling you in the sled. Our goal was to head out from Raven Lodge, and camp between Battleship Lake and Kwai Lake. Beyond that, I was willing to be flexible, because above all else I wanted you to have a great time.

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Mt. Hall – Coronation Mtn: Ski Traverse

–submitted by Rod Szasz

As part of a little micro-adventure to explore and document more alpine peaks closer to home and explore the ski-touring potential of the peaks, Matt Lettington and myself decided to ski traverse two 1350 metre peaks behind Ladysmith – Mt Coronation and Mt. Hall. I had summited both of these as running and day hiking destinations before – last year in March I led a snowshoe hike to the summit of Mt. Hall.

Ski traverse route with photos, GPS track

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Triple Feature, Mines, waterfalls, ridges

–submitted by Phil Dol

Eight hikers showed up on an overcast day to wander through the forest in Ladysmith. Our hike started from the gate at the end of Oyster Sto’Lo road just outside Ladysmith around 9:30am. The hike along Camus Ridge was spectacular, once we dropped down the ridge and through the alder slash we came upon an area of freshly cut timber alongside the road. We continued along the logging road until we reached the trail up to Thistle Mine.There were a considerable number of trees that had fallen across the path up to the mine which made for a few trail detours.

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A winter route up Big Den turns unseasonably warm

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read it on his blog

This year, winter on the West Coast has been full of surprises, though this may only have been noticed by those who venture outdoors. Winter keeps serving up a huge variety of weather! We’ve seen temperatures at sea level that dip below negative ten for so long that lakes in Nanaimo have frozen hard enough to walk on, snow piled up on the roadside and yards for more than a month, blizzards in the mountains, and now, temperatures in the high alpine that are reaching into the low teens. On our February 13th adventure up Big Den Mountain, the unseasonably warm conditions forced us to turn back.

Total Distance: 8.7 km
Starting Elevation: 109 m
Maximum Elevation: 1470 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1377 m
Total Time: 7h 15 m

 

 

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Mt Elma: Beginner Skitour

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

On February 19th, we met at Ski Tak Hut in Courtenay to gather the final pieces of backcountry ski gear needed for our day on the mountain. Lisa and I watched the sky, hoping that the hard rain would let up – or at least, that it was snowing on the mountain. Our original plan was to ski Mount Becher, but the rain forced us to reconsider our options; we decided to take our chances with Mount Elma instead.

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Snowshoe to Boston Falls Lookout: A Sunny Day below Mount Becher’s Summit

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog

When I’m stuck inside, it sometimes feels like I won’t ever break free and get outside! If you’re passionate like I am, you probably feel the same. Now that I’ve added two kids to the equation, it’s even more difficult to balance the time between my family obligations and my passion. Not that the two are mutually exclusive; as often as I can, I try to merge the two together. But it’s not as simple as stuffing a child into a carrier. There are the known issues to deal with– diaper changes, toys, and extra snacks– but heading into the backcountry adds extra challenges. Changing a bare bottom in the wind is no cup of tea, and neither is a cup of tea, for that matter! Fortunately, at three and a half years old, my son has emerged from the long cold winter that has been his era of wearing diapers.

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Juan de Fuca Trail –winter backpacking trip

–submitted by Angelica Lauzon

Friday

I left Courtenay after work at 20:00 and arrived at 23:30 to slept in my truck at Botanical Beach.

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Mt Becher — ski and snowshoe

–submitted by Matthew Lettington

Mount Becher is a popular destination for ski touring, hiking and snowshoeing, but on February 4th, it wasn’t our primary objective. Our first option was Mount Curran, in the Beaufort Range, but an unexpected snowstorm conspired against us. Mt Becher was a better goal for a day with a heavy snowfall forecast. I was only slightly disappointed to leave another peak on my Alpine Quest unclimbed because I was keen to work on my ski skills, and Mount Becher is always a great place to ski.

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Family/Novice Helen Mackenzie Loop

–submitted by Matthew Lettington

January 28th, 9 participants braved the brooding overcast skies and head out on the well-booted route around Helen Makenzie and Battleship Lakes.

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Mt Cain — The Long Way Around

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog

Being focused on an objective is a great way to track progress and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal. But sometimes, I get so focused on the objective that I forget about everything that goes into making the day a success. On January 22nd, I had a good reminder that getting to the destination can be half the fun.

I’m usually the driver for our adventures. Behind the wheel, I’m focused on the moment: making sure I don’t fall asleep, leave us sideways on a patch of ice, or take the wrong road. I try to take in as much as I can, but I often let the landscape slide past me without paying it much mind. On January 22nd, I was a passenger — Oh, the sweet passenger life! I scrunched myself into the backseat, propped my head against the window, and watched the landscape roll by. I took it all in – well, at least the right side of the highway. We were on our way to … well, I don’t even remember where. I recall that our destination was past Gold River — a long drive, for sure! But where we were headed isn’t important, because we didn’t get there. In fact, we rerouted several times and ended up far from our original destination.

Mt Cain Snowshoe in the Dream Chute

Mt Cain parking area, Genesis Range

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