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Mt Maitland NW Ridge - Spring
Date: May 13 2009
Wind: Moderate to high
Great day for views from the West coast mountains Thursday May 13 Ruddy Brugger and myself bush whacked up from the small lake, heading to Mt Maitland under sunny skies. Snow conditions where some what soft but not enough to require snowshoes. Some small sluffs where noticed dribbling down the steep slopes in the late afternoon but nothing to be concerned about.
Taking advantage of the great weather and snow condition I decided to give Mt Maitland a go, Dan decided to join in also. 6:30am we left Port Alberni heading up to the small lake were the route started. The creek was low and easy to cross, the bush in the old growth forest was moderate. Luckily there was still snow on the scree slope above the forest which was rock hard. Once down into the upper cirque it was like a being in a big deep freeze with no sun ever reaching in due to the high cliffs we quickly got out of there and ascended the last section to the upper ridge were the sun was shinning. Unfortunately once on the ridge the winds were very strong and bitterly cold freezing the bridge of my nose from the sunglasses, so I had to walk with my head turned away from the gusts. Taking no time to cross over the ridge we then worked our way through the boulder field before heading up steep snow on the North Bowl. Near the top just before the summit ridge I nearly got blown off so decided to retreat off the face and get into the small trees on the ridge. The summit ridge was a joy to climb especially the final section of rock which was a bit exposed but lots to hang on to. Only spent 5 minutes on summit before heading back down due to the shorter days.
Back at the forest I decided to hike the dry creek bed instead of the old-growth normally the creek has a good flow but due to the cold weather all the creeks were running at their minimum. We were able to hike at least 2/3 of the way down before being forced into the forest. So made great time getting out.
How to get there?? Drive West towards Tofino turn right onto gravel and cross over Kennedy River locally known as Jump off bridge. Follow on gravel road and take second left and drive uphill for 2 kms before parking by a small lake.
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