Weather: Foggy in the valley, Sunshine in the alpine I have made up a "Topo/Image Map", with the location of the GPS track route I took while hiking up to the summit June 8th 2003.
Click - 'Green triangle' to view photo taken from approx. location.
Friday June 6th I had made arrangements to take Randy Church, Neil Robertson and Gus Attiana up Steamboat Peaks South Face. All were avid hikers/bush whackers/climbers who heard through the grape vine of my route which made it possible to climb the peak in a few hours instead of a few days. While hiking up I got talking with Randy who had recently climbed Mt Hall with a local group, he described the bush whack up to the alpine as being nothing to what I had expected it to be. hummmm???
Early Sunday morning the hounds "Hawk, Kiku" and myself left Port Alberni on our way to the head waters of the Toquart River. It took about 2hrs to reach the trail head and having a four wheel is a bonus to have due to the cross ditches. The hike starts off by fording a small creek. I was able to find a log to place down to walk across on, but "BEWARE", in high water all the crossings could pose some serious challenges. 2km further up you'll have to ford the Toquart river approx. knee deep and then again another km up but you should be able to hop across this one. Now you should be able to see the end of the road from here depending on how foggy it is at the time.
I found the best way through the slash was to head straight towards the timber at its closest point from the road. Stay on the left side of the creek for about 300m, I was able to cross just below the small set of waterfalls by placing a log between two large boulders. Once on the right side the going is not too bad, at the 600m level a creek joins in, when crossing be careful not to slip as the rock is real slimy. Depending on how high up you were when you crossed the creek, look for the confluence and follow the left creek. I had to head upstream for 75m before turning left, then left again up a dry creek draw just before where the water cascades over a 10m dark cliff face. The dry creek bed is actually the main creek draw on the topo map. I was a little confused going up but found on my way down it was definitely the best way up and down. Climbing up and over large boulders and somewhat bushy ground for a while you pop out into a rugged looking U shaped valley with large cliff faces on both sides of you. The views of Mt Toquart and the bottom cliffs of Mt Hall with Triple peak behind you are quite impressive so it seemed like a great place for a snack. I was able to put on my crampons here and start hiking up an old avalanche that had not yet melted down to the valley. Luckily with some route finding I was able to pick my way up to the 1200m level reaching the upper snow bowl, after that the slope steepened a bit but still enjoyable. The last 100m to the summit was the sportiest with a slight feeling of exposure when cresting the top ridge. The summit was small, so small that I ended up signing in and then spending an hour taking in the sights from the small ridge 5m below.
The weather on top was nothing but perfect, the visibility was great the wind was nil and no bugs. What more could I ask for, so I just did some vegging out and gathered in all my thoughts while the hounds had a good nap. The journey down was enjoyable by running down the snow field and finding a great way down through the bush the descent took only a few hrs to reach the road.
Off Belay I hope that you enjoyed viewing the Image Map of the Old CPR Trail Cheers: Quagger