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Day hike Mt Celeste Iceberg Peak - Late Summer
Date: Sept 05 2011
Weather: Sunny and clear
To take full advantage of our long awaited summer, I was wanting to get up to somewhere new. To spark Tawney’s interest, I offered up a couple options and with some debate we decided on heading up the Kweishun Creek trail. This area was new to both of us. Some new logging cuts had come within a few hundred meters of the Park Boundary now making for close access. After a quick search on the web and a phone call, I had a detailed description on how to get up to the trail head, and also found out the gate on the Port Alberni side of Comox Lake was unlocked. Having the gate open was going to save about 2hrs travel, and eliminated concerns about having to get out of the area before the gate closed in the evening. We left Port Alberni by 5am and arrived at the trailhead by 6:30. We were surprised to see that TimberWest had been out and cleared the debris off the road at the dry lake. This saved us about 3km of road walking and put a smile on Tawney's face. The first section up the slash was fairly straight forward - just head straight up towards old growth. We picked up the blue flagging at the top, which took us to the upper dry lake. Staying on the right side we skirted around on snow and crossed over a dry creek bed and headed up towards the short waterfalls which drained the valley. With the late snowmelt, we found an easy snow ramp which took us above the falls and onto a small snowfield. Hiking on hard pack snow between the high cliffs we quickly passed by Gordon Wood Lake and in just less than 2 hrs we were 2/3 of the way down Mirren Lake. We took off our crampons before the short hike up to the Saddle which separated Comox Glacier and Iceberg Peak North to South, and also Milla and Mirren Lakes West to East. I was looking forward to the views as I could only imagine they were going to be outstanding. The winds had picked up and were fairly sustained. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm/cool making for a very enjoyable hike in paradise. Once on the saddle we were not let down. The views were breath taking. Mt Harmston seemed to jump right out almost to a point you felt like you could reach out and touch it. Heading NW we crossed the shoulder hiking on easy ground towards Iceberg Peak. My plans were to hike that summit on the return back from Mt Celeste. The hike over to Celeste was a joy with full panoramic views. However, it was sad to see how much of the Aureole Ice fields has disappeared since I first saw it up close back in 1994. On the journey back we stumbled up the loose rock pile of Iceberg Peak but we were not disappointed because the views from the summit were superior to Mt. Celeste. My advice to anyone in this area is to be sure to sit on this summit for a little bit of mountain heaven. Enjoy the pictures linked below!
How to get there?? Data to follow
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