Distance -15.4km, 7 hr: Klitsa Trail coming out Brigade Lake Trail
Welcome to Islandhikes Hiking Page. Below is a " Topo/Image Map", along with a GPS route of the Traverse. Also this is the first time I've added a Track Profile map. I will propably start added them to all my hikes in the future. Stay tune in because I'll be doing up some 3D maps with a satillite skin layed over top.
Date: May 23 2005
Weather: cloudy with scattered showers to start clearing up in the afternoon
Trail conditions: Good.
Over the years I've been asked a few times if there was a trail or flagged route up Mt Gibson. Even though I'd looked at the mountain over 1000 times before I had still not stood on its peak. Looking for something to hike up this May long weekend was hard one, because the weather played a big part which forced me to look at lower peaks in the area so to avoid the fresh snowfall and possible avalanche danger that comes along with it. Gibson being only 1300m was just below the snow line and with its low angle ridges leading up to the summit made it for a more enjoyable climb than trying to plod up Mt Klitsa.
Neighbo and Solider were to joined in on today's adventure, the clouds were still dark and lying low in the valley from last nights storm but blue patches were starting to appear which lifted our sprits somewhat. We start right from highway 4 first hiking towards the recently closed Taylor river bridge, once on the other side we turned right then left up the freshly washed out road. This now took us over 1 hr to reach the establish trail in the old growth timber. Here we stopped for a short 10 min break by the creek and then it off for another good hours hike before we all reached the 1st Lake, 910m "Gilmore Wilderness Area". Following a rough trail on the Lakes north side we stopped at the main campsite for a bite to eat and look at the map. From here on there's no trail or flagging to follow up Mt Gibson's North Ridge so we bushwhacked west to the start of the North ridge. The bushwhack was not that bad, we just had to pick our way through small blow downs and rock bluffs. I just made sure we stayed as far right as possible because I knew there was some nasty cliffs circling the base of the ridge to the left of use which could cause some grieve or some fancy navigation to bypass. Past that section the ridge turns into a short low angled rock bluff then changes to alpine. On the top of this section 1032m there is an awesome viewpoint which looks directly down onto the Taylor River and highway 4. Be careful it's a long way down with great exposer. Now in the alpine the rest of the way up to the summit was fairly open and the route up is quite obvious. On the way up it started to rain/snow and on two occasions we heard avalanches crashing down some where on Mt Klitsa's North face the second one we heard must have rumbled down the valley for 15 seconds or more. The rain stopped and it started to clear up around us some what. I'm sure there are some fine views to be had on clear days. Now we started our descent down the West ridge none of us having any idea what to expect. One guide book states the West ridge is a bushy ascent, luckily there source was slightly wrong but instead the West ridge is a well flagged fairly wide open alpine hike for the most part with only a very short bushy section when getting close to Brigade Lake. This was quite a real treat to come down instead of what we thought it was going to be like and now the sun was starting to peak out from the clouds. Down on the shores of Brigade Lake the fish were jumping all around us. Too bad we didn't have a rod and fishing license because it wouldn't have taken much to land on of them. Not wanting to leave the lake after a nice 30 min break we had to force ourselves to get motivate enough to finish the last leg of the trip. The Brigade Lake trail down to highway 4 which at one time switch backed all the way up through old growth forest right to the lake. Unfortunately the year the trail got finished, there was a lack of communication and a logging cut block went in and took out the middle section of the trail. I'm sure allot others were extremely disappointed to find this had happen to such a once beautiful trail. It was over 5 years since I was last on these trail and expected to walk the middle section on the logging road as I'd done many times before but I was pleasantly surprised to find out some folks out there have re routed the trail so it now avoids going into the cut block and once again stays in the old growth for the full distance up.
How to get there Save a 7km walk/hitchhike if two vehicles are used. Depending on which end you start from. Park on the South side of Highway 4 directly across from the turn off up to Doran Lake and/or park another vehicle at the Brigade Lake Trail head . (6km west turn left drive east on logging road for 500m take a sharp right drive up a short hill for 1.2km). The trail head starts on the uphill side "east" just 25m back from the big boulders that block the road, there was at the time a nice trail marker hidden in the trees.
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