I have made up a "Topo/Image Map", with the GPS track route traced onto a topo map.
Click - 'Black/white star' to veiw photo taken from that approx. location.
M y friend Quagger and I had a day free to give a go to climb Mt. Grey and Mt. Parsons. Both peaks hide themselves behind historic Franklin camp in the Nitnat River area and donít draw much activity to them, but have always sparked an interest with me. A ridge traverse of Mt. Parsons, Mt. Grey and its three satellite bumps looked like a fine outing.
As we started hiking after through fireweed slash that was in seed and the fluffy down like seeds were flying every where. We literally had to pillow fight our way up to the old growth that we were heading for. One always gets a warm feeling when stepping out of the battle field of the slash to step into the enchanted old growth. With surprisingly no undergrowth we made our way up the steep ridge admiring the giant trees and unobstructed going.
Popping up in the col we got into some bush and glimpses of the Broken Island Group that these peak so spectacularly over look. Heading up to the summit of Mt. Parsons we got into the heather and noticed that the summit area was comprised of a thin ridge of car sized boulders. Scrambling carefully and noticing some exposure we were on the top. No carin was found so we made one. After making a carin we had a snack and took in the grand views of the Broken Island Group, Alberni Inlet, McKenzie Range, Beufort Range, and Mt. Grey our final objective.
Memorizing some landmarks of the area we were heading toward, we began what we thought would be an ugly decent off of Parsons. To our surprise, things were steep but straight forward and ramps allowed us to keep some elevation and reach the col the intended way. Here we first got a look at the lakes that sit in the North bowl of Mt. Grey and our options of going up. We were feeling good and had luck with finding good ramps to get us out of ugly spots so far so we decided to keep traversing the west satellite bump of Grey and then the West Face itself. With some rock steps to scramble over and several vegetated gullies to swim through we got to the top of the first bump and had another break beside the repeater cone situated on its top.
Here we admired a pair of falconís flying acrobatics, were impressed at the all rock south face of Grey and studied our options of getting up the west face. We came to conclusion that our best option through the rock cliffs was an all vegetated gully running straight up the face. It looked steep but we were confident it would go. We made good progress up the half way point were we stopped at the crux, a 10 foot vertical section that to our relief had great bush handholds to haul ourselves up it. With this behind us we were up top in no time. Here there was a small meteorological station and heli pad. We looked for a carin and again found nothing. We once again built a carin and then sat down for lunch. Mt. Grey is unique as it has no mountains big enough any where around it to obstruct its incredible views of the west coast of Vancouver Island. From the Broken Islands all the way to Victoria one has an unobstructed view of the low mountains and the Pacific that runs the length of Island. We also got a great birdís eye view of the alpine lakes that sit in the North Bowl of Grey.
Once refreshed we continued along the ridge and descended to another col and then our finally bump of the traverse. The North side of Grey is a beautiful alpine area with heather and little creeks criss crossing everywhere. At the final bump we found what looked like a small seismic station with heli pads and again great views. We then made our way down to the lakes we had been eying all day. The lakes were all surprisingly very deep. The two largest had no bottom in site just a dark black abbis. We soaked our feet in the refreshing water while watching a flock of about 30 large pigeon like birds play in the trees of the steep rock slopes. Their wing flaps made eary sounds as they echoed off the rock walls. Refreshed again we made our way back to the main col between Parsonís and Grey and contemplated our way back to the truck. Do we go back up Parsonís and down the way we came or take our chances and go down the forest slope and meet the logging road at the end? We scoped things out when we were on top of Grey and couldnít see any obvious cliffs and topographically the area between two draws coming off the peak looked friendly so we opted for the forest. Running into a few cliffs that were avoided by ramps we thrashed through a bushier old growth forest then we had on our way up. We thrashed downward and Quag popped out right on the logging road we were aiming for! Pretty good navigating and looking behind us at Grey we saw that clouds had engulfed its summit so it was pretty good timing as well. With just a short logging road hike back to the truck, pizza and beer was all I could think about to finish off a great day in the hills!
Participants Sasha Kubicek and Quagger, September 13, 2003
Story by Sasha Kubicek