Mt Brooks, Late Autumn 2014

–Submitted by Dean Williams

We went up Mt Brooks today with a couple of friends, up the north side which went through some really wet bush, and then down the ridge to the saddle between Brooks and Elma which was much nicer, not so bushy and dry.  Not a bad day out but the view was still quite obscured by cloud. We did get some peekaboo views over to Albert Edward, and the lakes looking back toward Becher,  and the berry picking was still excellent.

A Dangerous Duo do a day drip up Albert Edward!

Saturday October 4th 2014 saw Dean and I making a early morning attempt at one of the most visited peak in Strathcona Park.  No, an extra early start. I was in the Subaru and on the road by 5 am. Dean and I were heading up to Raven Lodge, embarking on a Paradise Meadows to Mt. Albert Edward hike. The round trip would be taxing, mentally and physically.

GPS Route with photographic annotation

Total Horizontal Distance:  34 km
Total Elevation Gain: 1923 m
Starting Elevation: 1097 m
Maximum Elevation: 2093 m

Vancouver Island’s geopgraphy is such that there is no mountain significantly higher than 6000 ft (1828 m). Mt. Albert Edward is one of the mountains that exceeds this altitude. It’s also considered by many to be one of the easiest 6000 footers to summit, it’s a walk up. Following the established route means there is no exposure,  minimal scrambling and very little route-finding. The barrier to most hikers is the horizontal distance required to make the summit.

Read the entire post on Matthew’s Blog….

Early Fall Ramble to Mt. Moriarty

Looking south from the first Moriarty bump

The summer is petering out, the signs are in the air and hanging off the branches of trees. Everywhere I go, I am reminded that time is marching on and the days of excellent whether, warm air and dry forests are numbered.

We met at the Whisky Creek Co-op on the Alberni Highway (HWY 4) at 8 AM, on Saturday September 27th.  The group of 12 was composed of members from the Alpine Club of Canada  and the Island Mountain Ramblers. We were quick to organize and on the road. We turned off the highway onto the Cameron Mainline, often used to access Mt Arrowsmith, Cokely and other locations beyond.

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Total Horizontal Distance: 7.4 km
Starting Elevation: 900 m
Maximum Elevation: 1607 m
Total Elevation Gain: 900 m

Read the full report on Matthew’s Blog

Cruikshank Canyon, a fall feast of colour for the eyes…

A view of the mountains as you look out from the view point

Early fall is often the nicest time for hiking. I often joke with my hiking companions about those who don’t take advantage of the outdoors, they find winter too cold, spring too wet, and summer too hot. There are three ideal weeks in our Vancouver Island year that are perfect for heading outdoors, when spring is converting to summer and summer converting to fall, there are about 9 days at each change that are perfect for hiking! This past weekend must have been that weekend!

Total Horizontal Distance: 21.3 km
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Elevation Gain: 873 m
Starting Elevation: 1060 m
Max Elevation: 1269 m

Scimitar Peak, Sabre Peak and the Mitla’s.

Mitla Spire from Centre Peak.

Day 1

Rod Szasz, Val Wootton and myself arrived at E&B’s helicopter base in Gold River at noon on September 5 (Friday) and within half an hour we were in the air. First we flew over Matchlee Mountain where earlier in the day the pilot had flown in 8 people as part of Island Alpine Guides (IAG) mountaineering course. After heading across the Burman River we next got a call on the radio from a friend who had flown in 2 days earlier and said he was on the summit of Hygro Peak. A quick fly-by to snap a couple of photos and then we continued south past The Scissors and Scimitar Peak to a small lake we had seen last year from the summit of Splendor Mountain. Fifteen minutes after
taking off from Gold River we were dropped in the middle of nowhere.
A satirical novel published in 1872 by Samuel Butler came to mind called Erewhon. Erewhon being an anagram of “nowhere” even though the letters “h” and “w” are transposed. It is the name of a fictional utopian country, however, we weren’t in a fictional country but it sure felt utopian. We set up our tents and then decided to climb a small peak immediately to the south of Scimitar Peak and about half a kilometre east of us. An hour and a quarter later, we were on the summit and decided to call it Centre Peak (1401m) because it was in the centre of all the peaks we wanted to climb over the next 5-6 days. There was not a cloud in the sky and a whole array of peaks surrounded us some of which had only been climbed once before while a few, as far as I could gather, were unclimbed. This area isn’t easy to reach with no logging roads nearby for access. That evening a beautiful alpenglow flashed its reds and oranges across the rock faces on The Scissors and Scimitar Peak.

Day 2

Another cloudless day! Although Scimitar Peak is the highest in the area we decided to head west to a chain of unclimbed/unnamed peaks. A short burst through some old growth trees and we were soon on open ridges where travel was easy. The route we chose to the peaks was easy and after 2 hours we were at the base of the final wall. A few manky bushes to crawl under then a final gully put us on the summit with just a 2 metre block to climb to the highest point. We chose the name Sabre Peak in keeping with The Scissors and Scimitar Peak. We pulled the GPS and noted the elevation – 1455m. With 3 more distinct summits along the ridge we headed west to Sabre 2 (1423m). Here we deeked off the ridge to the scree below and angled across to the final summit. We turned it from the west and had one small nasty gully to cross before we found an easy scramble to the summit of Sabre 4 (1451m). An easy scramble off the summit and down to a col before heather benches took us up to the summit of Sabre 3 (1432m). Satisfied with the day, we returned to camp for a swim.

Mitla Peak (left) and Mitla Spire from Scimitar Peak. Lone Wolf Mountain in the right background. Abco Mountain in the distance behind Mitla Peak.

Day 3

Today we chose to climb Scimitar Peak. It was first climbed back in 1993 by Sandy Briggs and one other and since then has only received one other ascent by Darren Wilman and Alana Theoret a few years ago. They had come in from Lone Wolf Mountain to the south and climbed Scimitar’s South Ridge. It was this ridge we could see from our camp that we wanted to climb. From camp we angled up and around Centre Peak and an hour later we were on the saddle below the ridge. Although it didn’t look difficult we could see some gnarly bushes on the route and some loose scree gullies to negotiate. Two hours later we were on the summit taking in the view of all the mountains that I was familiar with, and there are a few. On the descent we decided to make a number of rappels as this would be quicker than down climbing the loose sections one at a time. There were always trees to use as anchors and by 3 p.m. we were back down on the saddle and an hour later back at camp. That evening we went up onto the ridge and watched a beautiful moon rise behind the ridge on Mitla Spire.

Day 4

There was a lot more cloud in the sky today but the forecast wasn’t predicting anything disruptive so we chose to have an easy day and climb a peak we dubbed Sabretooth Peak which was to the north of Sabre Peak but on the same connecting ridge system. We scrambled through the trees and up onto the open ridge again. An easy walk brought us to the final scramble up onto the summit – 1404m. We enjoyed an hour on the summit and then dropped down to a beautiful little basin with large gravel flats and a small stream meandering down the middle. Another hour and a half relaxing in the sun and eating lunch in this utopian country! By 3 p.m. we were back in camp, lounging around some more. There were 2 more peaks that we wanted to climb and they would be on the agenda for tomorrow.

Day 5

This morning we were up earlier and moving by 7:45. I knew that both Mitla Peak and Mitla Spire had been climbed but only once by Darren and Alana. I had talked to Darren a couple of years ago and received the climbing beta so I knew that they were both doable. Again we angled up and around Centre Peak only this time we went around the south side to another saddle below Mitla Spire. We scrambled up some beautiful rock which put us on the North Ridge of the Spire, however, we decided to head across to the Mitla Peak first. Some scrambling over scree slopes put us on a col between the Mitla Peak and the Spire. This climb looked a more challenging so we decided to leave what we didn’t need at the base, however, we found that we completed the climb without the need to use the rope. On the summit (Mitla Peak 1544m) we found a cairn and inside it was a canister left by Darren and Alana but unfortunately it was wet and full of water. We didn’t have anything with us to leave so we just enjoyed the view. On the descent we did 2 rappels but could have easily down climbed the route. Back at our packs we moved over to a small pond and had lunch while we looked at the route Darren and Alana had done on Mitla Spire. It looked doable but it didn’t look pleasant. Rod decided to sit this climb out so Val and I headed over to the base of the route on the east flank. It still didn’t look very nice so we made the call to check out the North Ridge which we had initially approached the two mountains by. At the base of the final ridge we put our harnesses and helmets on and I slung the rope and climbing gear over my shoulder. Although the route was steeper we found the rock to be perfect and we were able to reach the summit in 15 minutes (Mitla Spire 1522m). This was the most enjoyable climb on the trip. We called down to Rod to come up but he was happy chillin’ out below. After 20 minutes we tore ourselves away and headed back down the ridge to Rod. A feeling of contentment came over us as we walked back to camp. We had climbed everything on our agenda and could now fly out tomorrow morning satisfied, however, I had seen a lot more to climb on future trips both to the south of where we were and out to the west on the Pierce Range.

Day 6

We packed up and then before the helicopter arrived we filled up a few canisters with wild blueberries. Flying out I couldn’t stop looking at the peaks that I knew I had to come back to climb next year.

Sabre Peaks: the highest summit is on the right (1455m) then Sabre 2, Sabre 3 and Sabre 4 to the left (1451m). Pierce Range behind.

The Scissors (left) and Scimitar Peak.
Rod Szasz approaching the summit of Scimitar Peak.

Minnas Ridge

Saturday, 13th of September turned out to be an amazing day!

The Ramblers and several guest hikers comprised a group of thirteen for the hike along Minnas Ridge. We ventured out on this sunny day to visit Minnas Ridge, located south of Mt Cokely, Mt Arrowsmith and west of Mt. Moriarty. From the ridge it is easy to see man’s impact on the back country, including roads cutting through the mountainside

GPS Route with Photographic Annotation

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Total Horizontal Distance: 10.4 km
 Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Elevation Gain: 844 m
Max Elevation: 1431 m
Starting Elevation: 879m

Many of the hikers rendezvoused at Chapters at 730 am with a secondary stop off point at the Whisky Creek Co-op to pick up Dean and Christine. We were on our way to the Cameron Main turnoff, found near the top of the hump on the Alberni Highway (HWY 4)

Read the Full Report on his blog

Beaufort Range Traverse — submitted by Matthew Lettington

Earlier this year I made late spring trip into the Beaufort Range to visit Mt. Joan. On that trip we ended up making a winter ascent to the summit of Mt. Joan, where we were promptly socked in. Saturday, August 30th the Island Mountain Ramblers made an attempt to traverse the three peaks in this small range of mountains: Mt. Curran, Mt Squarehead and Mt. Joan.  The forecast called for 2 mm of rain and light winds. Although the conditions looked a little miserable on our approach, it made for excellent hiking conditions.

Taken from Squarehead, looking back on Mt. Curran and the ridge we ascended (right in photo)
GPS Route with Photographic Annotaion

Starting Elevation:  594 m
Max Elevatyion: 1562 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1347 m
Horizontal Distance: 13.8 km
Total Time: 8.5 hours

Curran-Squarehead-Joan Traverse – August 30, 2014 – by John Young

After making our way up the rough logging road,
the 10 of us started hiking at 9:48, under not bad looking skies. Mt. Joan’s
summit looked to be covered in cloud, but other than that it looked like a good
day. We headed up the Curran trail, which Ken Rodonets has done such a fine job
of maintaining, and by noon we were heading over the Curran-Squarehead col.
The group enjoyed the nice rock on Curran, and
views of Georgia Strait. We omitted the “true” summit of Curran, as
we figured it was going to be a long enough day, and the summit isn’t much
anyway.
The col to Squarehead was a bit bushy in places,
and going up to Squarehead was a bit of a rock scramble that raised the heart
rate of a few people. We finally lunched on Squarehead, about 1:30, and it
started to rain as we headed over to Joan. The rain was brief, though, and at
the Squarehead-Joan col I gave people the option of skipping out the Joan
summit, shortening the trip by an hour total, but the group voted to bag it.
And we were glad we did! Yes, the view was somewhat obscured by cloud, but that
made it even more spectacular, as we could see Port Alberni poking out from
beneath the clouds.
We then began our descent, and it showered some
on the way down, but didn’t really begin raining until we reached the vehicles
just after 6 p.m. Another fine day in the mountains with an enthusiastic bunch.
Especially nice to have 3 guests along and 3 fairly new members.
Participants: Matt Lettington, Dean Williams,
Christine Rivers, John Proc, Fran Proc, Tyler Proc, Mary O’Shea, Mo Goreyan,
Alana Stott, John Young

Mt. Klitsa — An Honest to goodnest 5000 footer behind Sproat Lake!

I had previously only been up Klitsa in the spring from the north side, and it was mostly on snow. I was a little concerned about finding our way on the logging roads, but with detailed driving directions and the Backroads Mapbook, we found our way without difficulty. We left Nanaimo shortly after 7 a.m. Rod and I commenced hiking at 9:20 at the 525 m. elevation point, and after walking up the deactivated logging road for 40 minutes reached the trailhead at 800 m. elevation. We then ambled through beautiful first-growth forest for another 40 minutes before breaking out into the sub-alpine. We now had our first view of Klitsa, and walked beside tarns and through meadows for another hour, before we came out into the alpine. A short while later we reached the summit block, and we followed the trail up to the right, whereupon Rod scampered up steepish rock to the summit. But me, not feeling comfortable scrambling up rock, waited at the bottom. After Rod joined me, we headed further out to the right to have our lunch, where we had stupendous views of Sproat Lake 5000 feet below, and the snow-covered peaks of Strathcona to the north. We then started back down, but noticed a trail heading to the left, and quickly and easily made our way to the summit. From here, at 1642 m., the view was even better, with views of tarns and lakes and the Mackenzie’s to the west as well. We then headed down, reaching the truck about 4:30. Quite the day!

Lomas Lake

To read his full report check Matthew’s Blog

GPS route with photographs
GPS Route with photographs

Total Distance: 21.9km
Max Elevation: 1189 m
Total Ascent: 1678 m

On Saturday July 5th, six hikers, many members of the Island Mountain Ramblers, rendezvoused in Ladysmith outside Coronation Mall. After fueling up on coffee and meeting with each other we listened to the hiking plan and objectives before  then head toward Youbou. Our first destination was the trailhead located at Cotton Wood Creak East Logging Road.

The day was beautiful, full sun, with only a few white puffy clouds to keep the sun company. The hiking temperature was wonderful, though it was full sun much of the hike was in heavily treed area or in the shadow of the surrounding mountains. Even though the ascent was relatively strenuous the hikers were able to keep their temperatures down.