(Day Trip from Bedwell Parking lot)
Welcome to Islandhikes Hiking Page. Below is a " Topo/Image Map", with the GPS track route when ascending/descending the North West Face of Big Interior Mnt.
Click - 'Small Dots' along route
Date: July 10 th 2004
Steve a good friend of mine wanted to hike up to Bedwell Lake for the weekend and use it as a base camp. He mentioned that from there it would give good access to the peaks in the general area, I agreed with him. Unfortunately these days I'm not much into camping and groveling up steep grades with heavy packs, these days I prefer to do long day trips using light packs and going great distances. So we compromised instead of me driving from Port Alberni in the wee hours or Steve hiking up to Bedwell Lake by himself. We decided to sleep beside the truck and get up early in the morning and do day hikes up chosen peaks.
Getting no sleep in the truck that night, made it very easy to rise at 3:30 in the morning. I then prepared for the days hike that we had decided on the night before, Big Interior Mnt. It rain hard on and off during the night making the bush good and wet. Fortunately the Bedwell Trail was so wide we didn't rub against much bush until we pass the lakes further up. Arriving at Bedwell Lake campsite the fog had rolled in, luckily is was not raining but the poor visibility put a slight damper on things. We left the campsite heading East towards Little Jim Lake. The trail here is not quite as wide and glorious but still very worn making it easy to follow in the thick fog. At 1200m the trail parallels Little Jim creek, then heads up a on the right side going through a narrow gap. Instead of heading up we turned right and crossed the creek between a small set of waterfalls and up a short rock section onto a wide ridge. There was some flagging and rock cairns here and there but the visibility was so poor we were now committed to following the track route I had entered into my GPS. The problem with an entered route is it's not very accurate when using a 1:50000 Topo. Allot can happen between 40m grid lines and trying to copy routes from other text books which give only approx location, just don't cut the mustard. I have never been in the area before and not being able to see 10m in front of me made things quite interesting. The guide book mentioned that we had to drop of the ridge and descend some 240m to a small Cirque at the base of the climb. Sounds easy and properly is when the weather is in you're favors. Today was not that day because we must have stayed on the ridge too long before cutting off towards the Cirque. When we did veer right it was now straight of down into the abyss, hanging from a thin branch I lend out to see if there was a feasible way down this ugly section. Some green belays and a steep snow gully we were down onto some kind of bench. The GPS showed we were only 35m of coarse so we went with it and continued to follow the bench down. We probably wasted 30 minutes trying to get back on course. Luckily further down we ran into a worn trail here and there which gave us some confidents that we were on the right track once again. Back down at 1200m we now arrived at what we thought was the camping area for Big Interior. The clouds lifted somewhat giving us a view at how big this mountain was. When walking over the moraine and seeing the glacier till it sort of reminds me of walking up the to Stutfield Glacier In Jasper Park, except the mountains in the area weren't all over 11,000 ft. The clouds quickly dropped back down and the rain now had started but we were to far into the hike now to turn back. Thank god the GPS was working sweet as pie as it was taking us up what we believed to be the North East face heading between the North and North/East summits of Big Interior. Man it sure was weird sensation climbing up blind, you're sense of direction gets mayoralty screwed up. Just to make things even more awkward was the refection coming of the snow made it bright enough to have to wear sunglasses. Now I might as well been blind folded because now the rain was coming down at a steady rate which made the glasses steam up, might as well being looking though a shower door. Even with all the hardship we were en counting this was still better than sitting at home waiting for PC call outs. Coming close to topping out we could see something that looked different and some what out of place when getting within 20m we noticed is was part of the upper hanging glacier exposing a few small crevasses and serac ice. Following up the left side of the glacier it then steepened for 100m before topping out between Interior's two Northern peaks. Taking a short break to take the crampons off we then headed West and scrambled up the blocky North East summit, lots of mineral deposit and noticed the limestone was really crystallized here and having some of the largest crystals I've seen. Descending off the peak directly down to the Col that lead to the main summit, required some down climbing on loose rock. Now heading south across the Col it started to steepened and we knew we were now heading up to the Main summit. I'd like to tell ya how we hiked the last section to the top but looking through steamed up sunglasses in a white out made it hard to do so. You'll just have to trust my GPS track route, but what I remember it being noting more than a scramble up the north ridge back to a small summit and cairns with a cheesy register. Spending only minutes on the top we headed back down following the GPS. Only problem was, the route we were following now was another route I had entered in which dropped of the summit of Big Interior and headed down towards Bear Pass and up to Nine Peaks. Haaaaaaaa!!! I thought the rocks didn't familiar. So giving myself a good slap on the face I zoomed out to see exactly how far I screwed up. It looked like we dropped down over 100m, so instead of hiking back up to the summit. I gambled and B-lined across the East slopes heading straight for the Col. While traversing the slope we came across a couple of old Ad its with signs of mining activity. This is very interesting to me and made me feel how hard it must have for those who did the mining up there at the turn of the century. It was a relief to reach the Col our feet had enough of walking across steep slopes by then. We decided to follow the same route down that we had taken up, so it was some what uneventful until we got back to the Cirque. I was not looking forward to this place and dreading another steep bush bash. Taking our time we carefully looked for worn sections which looked like a trail and when coming to snow sections we then backtrack until we picked up the trail on the other side. This process took a bit longer but at least we found the right way up onto the ridge without the green belays. Now on the ridge it was back to following the GPS and looking for rock cairns to give us a sense of security. It was a relief to get back to the creek crossing because it was now a mindless walk back to the parking lot. The humps around the Bedwell Lakes were a little painful to walk up and over also there was no running down the hill either.
Hope you enjoyed reading this report and stay tune in for more adventures at Island hikes