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Mt. Elkhorn, West Couloir - Day Trip from Port Alberni
    I have made up a "Topo/Image Map", along with the GPS track route that was recorded while hiking up the West Couloir Mt Elkhorn. Hiking at a fair pace it took 7 hrs to reach the summit on Elkhorn.

Click - 'Small Green/Yellow dot' to view photo taken from approx. location.

     Date: August 11th 2004
Weather: Clear morning and warm, turning to sunny and hot by afternoon
Trail conditions to base of climb: Good
Climbing conditions: Fair, good hand holes but an incredible amount of loose rock. (Tricky to ascend/descend without sending down a constant stream of rumble}
Hiking Return Time: 14hrs return.

   Once again I found myself standing in the Elkhorn trail head parking lot in complete darkness. I had just driven up from Port Alberni to meet up with a few friends at the Kings Peak trail head. They decided to drive up the night before and camp close to the trail head. The first section of the trail was done in complete darkness using LED's. We then waited for 20 min at the log crossing for it to get light enough before heading up the forested gully. The going up was slow as the packs were a wee bit heavier due to climbing paraphernalia and too much Rum the night before. Reaching the treed Col by 8:00am we stopped for a short break before heading up to the ridge. The going up the ridge was enjoyable as the wind would give us a blast every now and then, plus the views were awesome. While going up I kept an eye out for my ("Wife's") ski poles which I had forgotten on my last visit to the area but unfortunately never came across them.

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Once leaving the main ridge we headed over to the West Bowl, to get there we crossed over a loose scree slope while sticking close to the rock wall at all times. The climb starts by ramping up to the largest most obvious gully in the bowl. We first climbed a short laid-back shoot that was full of loose rock, and then headed towards the right side of the gully wall. Climbing 4m up onto a 1.5 m wide ramp which lead into a narrow fissure. Then climbed over boulder blocks up a fissure until reaching a large caulk stone. Here we had to squeeze into a crevice underneath the caulk stone and climb up the back side of it, depending on you're pack size you might have to remove it before entering the crevice and get someone to hand it up to you once on top of this section. We used a 5m sling with a biner clipped into the packs top handle, by doing this made life allot easier. Once on top we then climbed a rock horn that separated two ways to go. The right side still had snow in the gully and looked fairly steep. The route to the left ("look for whitish rock on far wall") was a laid back rock slab with tons of pebbles covering it to make things interesting. I first climbed up to the right then turning left into a narrow gully which ended at a slightly overhanging Open Book, roughly 4m in height "Nah!!". Carefully backing down and trying my hardest not to send any boulders down on my buds, I then climbed left over the rock slab and preceded going up this way. After crossing the slab I was forced to climb a short rock face "3m with good hand holds" to reach a small landing that quickly turned right heading up to another rock slab. Staying to the left side and using the rock wall for hand holds. I was able to easily get past this section and then called back to the rest to come on up one at a time. Taking a short break we noticed a bunch of slings hanging of various boulders over to the right. Thinking that it must be the way down off the mountain, as it appeared that the rope would hang down towards the narrow gully which I just tried coming up. I was not worried about that now so heading up a boulder field and slowly veering to the left I could now see that the hardest part of the climb was now behind us. The rest of the way up was just a scramble, picking the way of least resistance. It was a pleasant sight to see the summit ridge come into view and now knowing the peak had now been bagged. The weather on the summit was just dandy with no wind and great visibility, so the hour spent up there ended up being very relaxing. On the descent we first scrambled down to the left side of the gully to set the rope up at the spot we had seen all the slings on the ascent. The rope we had with us was 60m so after doubling it up, it still took two full pitches to reach the bottom of the snow gully just above the caulk stone. From there we down climbed the rest of the gully to the scree slope. The mountain still had not finished with one of us and decided to send three pumpkin sized rocks crashing down from above. One of three rocks went whizzing right between his legs only to slightly graze his upper calf. Now that's one lucky fellow I say. I'm a big believer in when it's you're time to go from this strange land we survive on, it will! Come down and take ya away without any warning.
How to get To Mt Elkhorn     Starting from the Port Alberni's Info Center. Drive 35km East on hwy 4# towards the Inland island highway turn North then drive 110km to Campbell River's far end. Then drive West on Hwy 28# towards Gold River for about 67km you'll then cross over the Elk River bridge, 4km further up on the South side is the Trail Head for Landslide Lake which is the approuch trail before crossing the river up to Elkhorn's North West route.

Hope you enjoyed reading this the route description

Cheers: Quagger

Rumour has it that Island Hikes "ROCKS"      Hey!!!  that sounds cool to me.

Thanks for all you're comments and support keep them coming in I enjoy reading them all