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Vancouver Island's Golden Hinde - British Columbia, Canada

by ickster  
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Story:
Well, we finally made it to the top of Vancouver Island.  This was our second attempt, having been forced to retreat by weather last year. We took our lessons well, though, as we had a 5 day window to do the trip (2 in, a summit day, and 2 out) with no extra time to wait out weather. This year we had 9 days blocked out on the calendar. We were going to leave on the 21st, but rain that day caused us to postpone until the 22nd of August.
 
We drove to Campbell River on the 21st and hit the trail at Westmin on the 22nd at 0930. This year the slog up the switchbacks was done in about 2.5 hours, which was much faster than last year. A quick lunch stop was made at Arnica Lake and we were on the trail again by 1pm.  The mozzies at Arnica were a motivator to get moving again.
 
Again, compared to last year, we made good time, passing last years first camp spot at N49 35.603 W125 39.075 by 1600, and getting over the first 1600m "hump" by 1645. We continued along the east ridge in search of camp, finding a spot at N49 35.917 W125 40.160. This is a great spot if there's still some snow providing water to the nearby stream. In light snow pack years with a hot summer, water could be an issue at this place. With the nearby stream, however, this was great for us. Crystal clear water, sheltered from the winds, an awesome view of the Hinde at sunrise, and, best of all, only a few short steps from the ridge.
 
Day 2 saw us hike the ridge, down the steep valley, around Carter and Schjelderup lakes, and to our campsite at N49 38.507 W125 44.220. This was a long slog, with the forested valley an lake hikes using the most energy. Around Carter wasn't too bad, but the trail around Schjelderup is grinding. Others have mentioned that a trail blazed at the 40m-50m contour around the west side of the lake would be welcomed. Once on the Burman Ridge, the hiking was great again.
 
The Burman Ridge campsite was outstanding. Right under the Hinde, an awesome small lake suitable for swimming, and lots of flat spots. A highly recommended stop, and close enough to the Hinde for a summit bid.
 
Day 3 saw the trudge up the mountain. I haven't really seen it mentioned anywhere before, but the valley drop to Burman lake at N49 38.734 W125 44.022 is actually quite substantial. It's steep with lots of foliage, which means it would be more challenging in wet conditions.  After this, it was all uphill.  After a quick break at the Moraine Lake (heavy with Mozzies), we started the push up the screed. We followed the traditional routes up, cutting across to the SE cul about 1/3 of the way up. The weather was fantastic, and the climb pretty easy. No rope, axes, or crampons were required at all, as it was easy to climb beside or around the snow tongues.
 
At the top, we took in the amazing scenery, had a sip of celebratory scotch, and posed for the obligatory photo's. The 3 members of the team this year are all Navy personnel, so we unveiled our Navy Centennial Flag (2010 is the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy) and had our picture taken with it. Following a quick bite to eat, it was time to head down. This proved easier than we thought, with lots of "scree-skiing" and sliding down the snow fields.
 
Days 4 and 5 were reversals of days 1 and 2, with one exception. Instead of taking the "chimney" (as described in other trip reports) at N49 36.273 W125 41.501, we came up an easier chute about 50m to the west, at N49 36.272 W125 41.539. 
 
We arrived back at the truck at 1330. The trip took almost 100 hours exactly and the GPS odometer totaled 60.7km horizontal distance and approximately 5500m of "up". We timed it perfect, as it started to rain as we packed into the truck. All told, a fantastic trip!
Tips:
1. No need for ice axe or crampons. Helmets recommended, as there are many loose rocks on the mountain.

2. Pick your weather window!
Tags:
Golden Hinde, Strathcona, Philips, Phillips, Schjelderup, Carter Lake, Arnica Lake
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Vancouver Island's Golden Hinde
Comments (1)
VE7DXG
Cool picture on top!
by VE7DXG on Aug 29, 2010
Trip Info
by ickster
August 25, 2010
Trip Location: British Columbia, Canada
Length: 31 miles
Duration: 2 days
Activity: Backpacking
Trip viewed 3,065 times
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