Mt Klitsa North East Ridge Via NE Connector
Distance -17.5km descend standard route
Time: 8.5hrs return
Date: Oct 1 2005
Sunny/Cloudy:Sunny with clouds rolling in by late morning.
Trail conditions:1.5km gravel 3.5km overgrown road, Rough trail to turn off at bottom of hill leading up to 1st Lake. Wilderness route to summit, no markings or flagging except for one small cairn I built on the small peak at the Head of North East Ridge.
Summer had now come to an end and the cool mornings of Fall were upon us. Heading out into the West Coast wilderness during unstable weather conditions one is always taking his or her chances.
Since my climb up the North Face back in the summer I couldn't help but notice a sweet looking gully heading straight up to the somewhat virgin North East Ridge. I then mentioned it to Chris that I would be back that fall to give it a try. Oct 1st Keith "Brusier" was going to spend the night at my place and we were going to get a fairly early start in the morning. There was a 40% of rain with chances of sunny periods, If it was to rain that was no big deal but if the clouds dropped down creating zero visibility that would make things tricky. I had been up the mountain on numerous occasion so I knew the area fairly well. My confidants was high in that if we reached the summit I could get us down of the mountain in any conditions.
Luck was on our side that morning the stars were out and it looked like it was going to be a nice clear day. Hiking up the first section I noticed they had fixed the wash out at the beginning of Branch 522 by building deep cross ditches so if you got a 4X4 you can now once again drive up to the start of the overgrown road. From here is a mellow somewhat bushy hike for 3.5km to where I turned left just before the main creek draining the North side of Mt Klitsa. It is a short steepish slippery brushed out route heading up the slash on the creeks west side. Upon entering the Old Growth the trail is fairly worn in so it is easy to follow and we stayed on it until the long uphill to the 1st lake. Here we headed east down thick bush to the main creek bed, this is also the same spot which leads over to the North Face. I noticed that this time the creek was fairly active seeing as it was bone dry in August, now making for fancy foot work so not to get the boots wet. A little higher up the creek bed fans out and the water disappeared. Still heading east we hiked towards the obvious gully going up to the North East Ridge. The bottom half is a nothing but a boulder scramble and then got a little technical once we got close to a large truck sized boulder plugging the gully. I was able to get us around this section by climbing a short rock wall and traversing left into the creek bed then climbing up and around the rock. A little further up there were two more short climbs on 70%+ slippery rock. Nearing the top of the gully I arrived at a steep draw coming in from the left, I looked up at where I was going and it did look possible. I then took a good look at the other way and decided it was a better choice. It starts off by being a steep loose rock draw heading up to a cliff but 30m before the cliffs base I turned left and climbed a narrow vegetated cute which finally lead me to the top. From the Col it was a very short hike through bush until reaching the open alpine. This time of year the blueberry bushes turn a brilliant dark Crimson, this adds allot of colour to the meadows which makes it my favourite time of the year to take pictures. The ridge is a steady hike up with no real bumps to climb over, except for the very last on. Right at the end of the ridge we came up to a small false peak which mind you had some good exposer. Seeing it had no Cairn and thinking it was worthily of having one I added 1ft to it summit. Getting off the ridge we found a 8m chimney we easily shimmied down that was just down for it's peak. The clouds at the time were hiding Klitsa peak and swirling all around us. Luckily I could still see Klitsa outline and headed over to the North ridge which I knew was marked with cairns right up to the summit. By the time we got over there the clouds had lifted and we could now see where we were going. When going past the last exposed step I ran into two Ptarmigans both were starting to show their winter colours of White. The summit views were 50% most of the surrounding peaks were hidden but we could see right the way up Sproat Lake and the Gibson Wildernesses area was showing off all it's lakes. While on the summit we ran into 8 members of AVOC "Alberni Valley Outdoors Club" they were also out enjoying the day and had come up from branch 600 on the Nahmint side. We all chatted for a while before Keith and I headed back down the Standard Route to the 1st lake and out the trail form there.
How to get To There Starting from the Port Alberni's Info Center. Drive 38km West on hwy 4# towards Ucluelet turn left onto logging directly across from Doran Lake road. Drive another 1km and park at roads end which is only 200m from the North side of the closed Taylor River Logging Bridge. Cross bridge turn right head another 150m then turn left onto branch 522. You can now just recently drive up branch 522 so to save almost 1.5km walk and a bit of elevation stay on Hwy 4 until passing Taylor River Hwy bridge and take the first left turn onto gravel. Drive 5kms down south side of Taylor River before taking a right turn up Branch 522 from here it is a 1km 4x4 up to the start of the hike on the overgrown road.
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