Reconnaissance Report – Century Sam Lake – 7 Nov 2020

Another weekend was forecast to be fabulous, so we did another short-notice hike to check out a place we had never been to.  It’s a difficult place to get to in part because the logging company keeps the access road closed most of the time.  When it is open, the gate is locked promptly at 6:00 p.m.  There is a long drive inside that gate, some of which has great views of Comox Lake and mountains along the way.  Then there is a 2 km section which has water bars (cross ditches) making it accessible for 4×4 only and then there is the hike itself.  The trail is well worn, but hardly improved, so it is slow.  And this makes it harder to do as a day-hike.  We parked before the water bars and hiked up the logging road to the trailhead.

The trail isn’t special.  It’s often muddy, rooty and slippery, there is a lot of deadfall, there is a headwall below the Lake with a few places which require a bit of scrambling (and could use a rope).  Also, for us the trail was frequently icy, and occasionally the rock had a thick coating of ice. 

The destination is quite nice.  Century Sam Lake is a glacial blue – it would be great with sunshine on it.  We were too late in the season for that.  The Lake lies in a hanging valley below Comox Glacier.  A kilometre or so beyond the lake there is an ice patch with ice caves.  Fantastic.  For us, there was a strong, cold winter wind blowing across the lake, so we did not stay long.

This has become a very popular destination in the summer, when it is green, and you can see why.  Even now, late in the season, there were lots of people there.  Our whole hike was 13.6 km, 7 hours, 568m elevation gain to 1,000m at the ice caves. For just the trail portion, it was 8.3 km, 5¾ hours, 400m altitude gain. 

Norris

Thanks to Norris, Stephen and Carrie for photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Reconnaissance Report – Mt. Drabble – 24 Oct 2020

We had hoped to make an exploratory trip to Mt. Drabble before the snow came to Forbidden Plateau and didn’t quite make it, but we had a beautiful day.  We approached it from the Strathcona Parkway and then logging roads.   It had snowed a few inches about 24 hours before, but most of the logging roads were fine.  However, we decided to walk rather than drive up the last steep section of road.  From the the road it was easy to get onto the ridge which leads gradually up to the summit of Mt. Drabble.  The ridge quickly becomes sub-alpine with great views and many tarns.  The route was well marked so that we could follow it in the snow without being familiar with the trail.  The snow made our time a bit slower as we checked frequently to make sure we were on track.  There was one significant dip in the ridge, but mostly the walking was steady and gradual.  From the end of the ridge there are great views of Forbidden Plateau, Georgia Strait and the mainland mountains.  The reward for effort is very high on this trip.  11.8km (4 km on the road); 442m elevation gain to 1,353m; and 6 hours (1¼ hours on the road).

.Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Multi-day Kayaking – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Desolation Sound
Date 8 to 13 Sept 2020; Tuesday to Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com; 250 923 5540
Description Multi-day paddle to Desolation Sound, launching from Squirrel Cove. Itinerary dependent on participant interests and weather.  Here is the link to kayak campsite information: http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/desolation/camping.html
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up, Heriot Bay
Departure Time 8:00 to catch 9:05 Cortes Ferry
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Cost Ferry costs and nightly costs for camping within the Desolation Sound Marine Park
Trip limits Minimum 4 – maximum 6 to 8 depending on number of tents
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants must observe club paddling guidelines including demonstrated ability to perform assisted and self-rescue.  If you are interested in this trip, please contact the coordinator no later than September 1. Pandemic protocols will be observed.

Multi-day hiking – Sunshine Coast Trail – 15-20 Sept 2020

Activity Multi-day hiking
Destination Sunshine Coast Trail
Date 15-20 Sept, Tuesday to Sunday (date could still vary by a day)
Trip Coordinator Brent Henry
Contact Info brenthenrys@gmail.com or 250-205-1106 (phone or text).  Contact the coordinator in by the end of August
Description A 4-5 day trip. Participants would take two cars on the ferry to Powell River.  We would park one vehicle at Lund and water taxi to Sarah Pt, hiking the Malaspina Peninsula portion of the trail back to Powell River.  We would hike roughly 10+ kilometers per day. Due to covid-19, the cabins are off bounds, and small tents /shelters must be carried. Coordinator has an extra 1 person tent and bivy that could be loaned out. A water treatment method should be carried, and at least 2 liters must be carried, possibly a third bottle.
Meeting Place Little River ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:30 at the ferry terminal. We would catch the 9:55 ferry.
Difficulty Moderate up and down mixed terrain.
Costs Ferry, parking and water taxi costs.
Trip limits 6
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants should be self sufficient and willing to practice safe pandemic protocols, as well as having a mask available for the ferry and public transit. Exact route, kitchen requirements, food, first aid will be agreed upon by participants.

Coordinator will carry an Inreach satellite texter and a vhf radio. If you are interested, please contact the coordinator by the end of August.

Multi-day Kayaking – Sutil Channel – 10-15 Aug 2020

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Sutil Channel/Cortes Island/Marina Island
Date 10 to 14 or 15 August 2020; Monday to Friday or Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com; 250 923 5540
Description Departing from Open Bay toward Carrington Bay on Cortes Island (likely 2 nights) then to Shark Spit, Marina Island (likely 2 nights), with a possible 5th night. Itinerary subject to change depending on participants’ interests and weather conditions. Up to 25 km per day in possibly adverse conditions. Possibilities for hiking as well as day paddles.
Meeting Place End of Valdes Road, Open Bay
Departure Time 9:30 a.m. for 10:00 a.m. launch
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Cost none
Trip limits 6
Dogs? no
Notes: All participants must observe club paddling guidelines including demonstrated ability (through Club safety sessions) to perform assisted, and preferably, self-rescue. If you have not previously paddled with the coordinator on a multi-day trip, please contact her to discussion your experience and equipment.  Pandemic protocols will be observed.

Last date for registration – August 4.

Hiking – Mt. Seymour – 16 Oct 2019

Re-scheduled to October 14th, Monday

Activity Hiking
Destination Mt. Seymour
Date 14 16 Oct 2019, Monday Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710
Description This hike will take us to the highest point on Quadra Island.  After ascending the old logging road we wander over open bluffs with great views.  Once at the summit there are nearly 360° views.  We will not do this trip in poor weather.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay parking lot to carpool
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
challenging
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs
Notes: Bring lunch, poles if you use them, and gear appropriate for the weather.

Reconnaissance Report – Mt. Beadnell – 6 Sept 2019 & update 1 Nov 2020

As the end of summer’s good weather was approaching, we took an exploratory adventure to check out a possible new trip for the Club.  Mt. Beadnell on Rodger’s Ridge is nearby and was said to have excellent views. True, it’s nearby, you can see it from Quadra, but the access is on logging roads which vary from wide, flat and dusty, to narrow, rocky, and steep.  And with unmarked junctions.  That was an adventure, but now we know the way.

The trail itself varies from a well-worn foot path to no path and little flagging.  It starts out steep and in forest, but it quickly emerges onto the ridge with fantastic views to the mountains beyond Buttle Lake and the mainland including Mt. Waddington.  The trail is a steady climb (made slower by excellent blueberries and huckleberries) all the way to the flat, wide-open Mt. Beadnell summit.  And the summit does indeed have amazing views all around.  The Ridge provides the opportunity for relatively easy further exploration.  This would be a good day-hike or backpack when the flowers are in bloom.   9.5km; 580m elevation gain; and 6 hours, without the drive.

Norris

Thanks to Norris and Diana for the photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Update for the reconnaissance report:  We had hoped to have a scheduled trip to Mt. Beadnell, but that never happened.  At the last minute, we went on an impulsive outing on November 1.  The weather was very similar to the previous trip, but the drive up was altogether different.  The upper logging road had been ditched in the last year so the last 9 km took us an hour to drive even in high clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicles.  That was more than absolutely necessary, since we got out and looked at most of the ditches on the way up.  The drive down took 38 minutes.

But Roger’s Ridge was every bit as special as before.  The quick access from the logging road to the sub-alpine, the ponds and tarns along the way, the easy walking on a good trail and open rock, the spectacular views in all directions make this an amazing trip.  With the slow drive and early sunset we didn’t have time for the Mt. Beadnell summit or other exploring, but the Ridge was fabulous.  8.5km; 530m elevation gain; and 5 hours, without the drive.

Trip Report – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

We camped at the Woss Lake Recreation Site, with the group arriving gradually over about 30 hours.  Due to forecast rainy weather, many invested quite a lot of effort in setting up camp with tarps.  Three of us kayaked on Woss Lake Monday morning in calm and increasingly sunny conditions.  We paddled down the east side of the Lake exploring the cabins and boat launch. (about 7 km)  Some also explored the Woss River Trail with some impressive old growth cedar and good views of the river from a bluff. This trail goes a long way, but we only went about 2.8km.   In the afternoon, two more people arrived and the weather turned showery.  We drove logging roads to check out Schoen Lake Provincial Park. We already knew that any possible interesting hiking would involve access by boat, but the deluge of rain when we arrived discouraged any enthusiasm for exploration.  Back at camp, we enjoyed appies by Les’ campfire before dinner.  By Monday night the final two people had arrived and enjoyed an evening canoe paddle, where they found some pictographs.

Tuesday morning:  After Les’ delicious blueberry pancake breakfast, we departed for Woss Lookout.  We parked at the trail sign and hiked up the steep logging road, through some clear cut and into the forested lookout hill. The steep trail is well equipped with rope aids and the distance is quite short, but a good test of fitness.  We were soon rewarded with the restored fire lookout and excellent views, even with a bit of cloud around.  The views of the Schoen, Vernon, Woss and Nimpkish Valleys are impressive, as well as the nearby mountains.  We returned by the short loop and headed back down the steep trail, once again thankful for the ropes. (4.6km, 3½ hours; 400m elevation gain)

Tuesday afternoon: After lunch we continued on to the Little Huson Caves Regional Park.  The short walk through the woods takes you to the sculpted rock of the Atluck Creek working its way though the limestone.  The boardwalk and stairs are very helpful and some have been recently replaced.  We enjoyed views of the Natural Bridge from both entrances, the River Cave, the Atluck Creek and the Bridge Cave.  The green water, scalloped and sculpted rock were beautiful.  (about 2.6km, 1½ hours)  Back at camp, quite a few bathed in the Lake, which wasn’t too cold,

The forecast had consistently called for afternoon showers and we escaped until Tuesday evening, when the real weather was expected.  The rain began lightly after 21:00 and increased and continued all night.  Wednesday morning, five of us made a short paddle on Woss Lake in marginal weather, before taking down the sodden camp gear and heading home.

Thanks to everyone for the food sharing, logging road driving, and general good time.  Having the only serious rain at night was a benefit for seeing this beautiful and not much visited area.

Debbie

(click on photos to view larger)

Multi-day Hiking – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

Trip Report – 5040 Peak – 2-4 July 2019

Fabulous.  But first you have to get there.  Everybody know that getting there is half the fun (and getting back is the other half).  It’s reputation proceeded us, notably the bad road and the steep trail.  The Alpine Club site said a 4×4 was required for the Marion Creek logging road, and others discussed whether high clearance was needed.  The logging road in is only 10 km, but most of it is quite rough.  We only expected the last part to be rough.  But there are a number of steep sections, right from the start, and those are always the worst.  We met a car coming out and they had parked before the last hill and walked the last 2 km.  So that’s what we decided to do.  As it turned out, the last 2 km were not that bad, or at least not any worse than the first part.  The vehicles driving in were either 4x4s, pickups, or beaters.

Day 1: The trail isn’t that bad — for the first 300 m, as it goes up through a logged section.  After that, it’s just a path and it goes straight uphill.  No switchbacks.  It’s not walking.  It’s more like climbing stairs and ladders, on rocks and tree roots.  It’s rough, but it’s not bushwacking.  It is steep.  There are two short stretches where a rope aid is provided.  We were climbing in the cloud and it was misty, wet and muggy.  We reached Cobalt Lake, but it was shrouded in the fog.  After that it was a short climb to the hut, also in the cloud.  The hut is very nice.  There was only our group of six the first night, so it was very spacious.  It has a wood pellet stove and solar panels and LED lights.  It seems to be very well insulated, so it was quite warm.  Everything is very well thought out and it is extremely well equipped.  Then in the evening, the surrounding peaks started to emerge and the hut popped into the sunshine, above the clouds.  That’s when we switched to feeling like the Greek gods on Mt. Olympus.  We had a beautiful sunset.  And the stars at night!  No moon, so we saw the Milky Way and everything.  (driving the road – 7.5 km; walking the road – 1.7 km, ½ hour; walking the trail – 3.3 km, 700 m elevation gain, 3½ hours)  (Some others can do it faster)

Day 2: Above the hut is some subalpine and then alpine with lots of rocky ridges to walk.  We went to the top of the 5040 peak, as it was peeking in and out of the cloud and then to some minor peaks along the ridge.  ( 4.1km, 344m elevation gain, 4¼ hours)  The wildflowers were excellent and much ahead of schedule.  The area looks great for further explorations with sufficient time.  It’s quite steep in places, with some hidden cliff bands.  Our walking was somewhat limited by the remaining steep snow bands and maps with insufficient contour detail.  But some in our group ventured out on the ridge toward Triple Peak (2.6 km, 115 m elevation gain, 2 hours) and the short ridge beyond the outhouse (0.6 km, ¼ hour).  Some returned to the summit after dinner, when the cloud level lowered and the views were clearer.  (1.9 km; 220 m elevation gain, 1½ hours)  The views are really impressive, with lots of nearby mountains like Nahmint and Klitsa as well as views as distant as the Golden Hinde.  That afternoon two couples from Comox arrived at the hut and one of those couples got engaged on the 5040 Peak summit.

Day 3: The final day was for the descent.  Nobody was really looking forward to that.  Sometimes it is harder going down.  We stopped at Cobalt Lake, which was beautiful in the morning light, but after that there aren’t any vistas.  The trail parallels, close by, a stream with cascades, waterfalls and canyons for much of the way.  The trail was slippery going down as it had been in the cloud for days.  Poles are highly recommended.  There is one point where the trail turns abruptly, around a big rock, and almost everybody misses that turn and continues straight down into the forest.  They catch on sooner or later as the trail fades out.  What you think of the trail to the hut will depend on your fitness, but Cobalt Lake, the hut and the 5040 alpine area make it all worth while.

Norris

Thanks to Norris and Stephen for the photos

(click on photos to view larger)

Multi-day Hiking – 5040 Peak – 22-4 July 2019

Multi-day Hiking – 5040 Peak – 2-4 July 2019

Activity Multi-day hut-based hiking
Destination 5040 Peak
Date 2-4 July 2019, Tuesday to Thursday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710.  Please contact the coordinator as soon as possible if you are interested. Anyone joining after June 25th may need to make their own transportation and food arrangements.
Description We will hike up to the new Alpine Club of Canada hut on Tuesday and stay two nights.  This should give us a day and a half  to explore this alpine area with great views.  The hike up climbs 700 m in about 2.5 km following the Cobalt Trail.  There are two sections with fixed ropes.
Meeting Place Quadra ferry terminal to Campbell River
Departure Time TBD, probably early
Difficulty The hike up will be strenuous
Cost Transportation costs (ferries, fuel)  The cost for the hut is $25/night for a non-Alpine Club member.
Trip limits Available beds in the hut
Dogs? No
Notes: Each participant needs to make their own arrangements to stay at the hut.  There are only 12 beds, so don’t put it off if you are interested.  For hut availability check:
https://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca
To book, phone:
403-678-3200 ext 0 between 8:30 am and 9:30 pm