Mount Tom Taylor NE-Ridge
Time: 10.5 hrs return
Date: July 23 2006
Weather:Sunny and Hot
Mt. Tom Taylor I'd admired every time hiking up Mt Myra and was also a peak on my to do list one fine day. It was now mid summer and knowing the weather was on my side I decided to give it a go. I had first hoped to be out the door by 2am but instead I stumbled around in a daze until some time after 3am. 6pm in almost complete darkness I arrived at the Bedwell Lake Parking Lot. A quick change of cloths and I was off hiking up the road to the trail head at a steady pace right the way up to the first lake. The trail up is like walking on a highway and just under 1 hr later I found myself hiking around the bottom end of Baby Bedwell Lake. Now looking for any rock cairns or flagging tape marking the start of the Tom Taylor trail. It took a little searching here and there before noticing a small pile of rocks 20m up from the lake shore, on the smooth rock- bluffs just North West of the camp site. From there on I followed rock cairns and flagging around Baby Bedwell, the trail is fairly worn and easy to follow for the most part. Once past Baby Bedwell the trail gained a little elevation with great views of Bedwell Lake and Big Interior to the East. Unfortunately it was short lived and the trail quickly descends to the shores of Bedwell Lake before heading back up. Not long after I past by a beautiful small lake, then a couple of small tarns. From there the ridge started to take shape and the trees and vegetation slowly disappears to nice white Granite boulders. This was a real treat to climb and I heard during the dry season I could stay on the ridge all the way up to the upper snow field. Which I did for the descent but for my ascent I decided to cross the lower snowfield seeing as I packed my crampons and all. Luckily there was still a fair amount of snow so it made for and easy crossing with great views of The Golden Hinde just to the north. Instead of crossing the whole snowfield I ended up veering left (South) towards the first false peak and once on the Col I got back onto the rock. Now on the South side of Tom Taylor I headed straight towards the small peak which had the large square boulder on its peak. From here I got a great look at the South Face and its awesome Granite walls. Staying on the south side it was a scramble down the ridge over a small snow patch onto a rocky ledge before I reached the East Col. At this point the technical climbing started. First moves head up a narrow rocky/bushy ridge, some minimal expose. Once at the base of the main rock massif I had heard two choices on how to get through this awkward section. First choice was to climb onto the loose very narrow ledge that headed up at 45 degrees towards an obvious steep slope on the south side. The second choice, which was the one I choose was to veer left (South) on a fairly wide ledge towards the large tree, climb through tree and just on other side there was a smooth rock wall 4am with a rock roof. Climb beside and under roof, there are some sweet hand holds just where you need them and in three moves I was on top scrambling up the slope towards a narrow knife edge ridge. From here it was an easy class 4 scramble on large boulders to summit.
How to get To the "Bedwell Lake trail Head" 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. Drive 40km West on Hwy 28# towards Gold River, instead of turning right and crossing between Upper Campbell and Buttle Lake. Go straight and stay on the Westmin Rd right to the head end of Buttle Lake. Cross Thelwood Creek and turn left onto gravel and drive 6km up Jim Mitchell Lake rd "not recommended for low ground clearance vehicles"
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