(Day Trip from Port Alberni)
Welcome to Islandhikes Hiking Page. Below is a " Topo/Image Map", with the GPS track route when ascending/descending the North Bowl routes up Queen & King's Peak.
Click - 'Small Dots' along route
Date: July 3rd 2004
Weather: Clear morning turning to low clouds by afternoon.
Trail/Snow conditions: Good, crampons used to climb the both bowls.
Hiking Return Time: 10hrs up down and all around.
It felt like it was only yesterday that I was last driving down HWY 28# towards Gold River. Actually it was only the week earlier I was hiking up Elkhorns North West Ridge. This time I was going to hook up with a few friends of mine who were camping in the lower meadows of King's Peak. My solo hike up in the wee hours of the morning was quite relaxing as I was only packing 20lbs and taking just over 2hrs to reach their camp. The trail is well maintained on the lower/middle sections with loads of switchbacks for folks carrying the heavy loads. The upper section in the late spring early summer can be a little confusing as the snow buries the worn out trail in spots, also there's poorly placed flagging here and there which can take you off course if you unfamiliar with the area, or the viability is poor at the time. Just remember to stay on the left side of the creek at all times when going up to the lower meadows once you have forged (3400ft) the main creek. Yes I choose to follow flagging that was on the right side of the creek which took me up into the cliff face. I later heard of hikers a few days before getting side tracked at the same spot and choose to head back down. It was 7:00am when I arrived at the meadows and was surprised to see two happy faces waiting for me all packed up and ready to go. After a quick coffee a map check and B.S about the routes I was to take them on that day we were off and running. We first headed over to the obvious cliff base at the head of the meadows and followed up a lay back ramp which is suppose to be the second quickest way up. The north gully being the fastest unfortunately it was too late in the season for us to do it. This ramp was straight forward with nothing more than a couple of green pull-ups once on top it leads onto a small snow field. We crossed it headed in a Westerly direction towards a the water fall and just to the right of it was another ramp that looked possible. This one had only one awkward rock move at the bottom after that it was a couple more green pull-ups. On top you can walk off straight and hike up snow or you can go left and do some easy rock climbing on the exposed bluffs before topping out on to the main snow field. Now close to the base of the Ramparts we could see a sweet snow route leading up to Queen Peaks North/West ridge. The snow conditions were perfect at the time of our ascent which gave me confidents in the descent of King's Peak North Bowl later on in the day. Once reaching the Col Between Queen Peak and the Ramparts the clouds decided to drop down covering most of the higher peaks, the first being Colonel Foster. Luckily Elkhorn showed herself for a bit longer before disappearing into the sea of white. It was nice to hike on the worn trail up to Queen Peak as now the clouds had touched down onto the ridge making visibility to less than 30m at times. We all took a short break on Queen's summit to observe weather conditions for a period of time. The clouds were not releasing any moisture which was a good thing plus there were short clearings which made King's Peak visible every now and then. We choose to head on and take our chances. It was an gentle hike up the blocky South slopes of the King the trail is some what and can be followed easily with a keen eye. Approaching the base of the summit cap I turned left and stayed a bench which circled Northerly around to a short 2m step up onto the large summit. It was a nice sight to see that there was no repeater on the top which had been mention in previous hiking books. Spending only a short time on top, we were lucky enough to get as least one quick clearing so we could see the exposť right beside us. It was then a race back down to the Col to put on the crampons pull out the ice axes before heading over the edge of King's North Bowl. The first section down was the steepest but the snow conditions as they were turned it into a very enjoyable snow plod. Roughly 2/3 of the way down we rounding the corner at the base of Queen Peak's North Face and then headed towards the Ramparts. At the time there was a snow patch running over to a treed gully that we had seen when going up which looked liked a good descent route. This turned out to be a main trail which took us right back to the lower meadows. The descent from King's summit to the lower meadows took approximately 1 hour. I took a short break there before saying my good by's and heading back down to the truck so I could be back in Port Alberni for supper.
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