Ascent of Golden Hinde on 2018-08-21

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Rob Woodall -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Pete Ellis
Date:Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Golden Hinde
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:7208 ft / 2196 m

Ascent Trip Report

Climbing "the Hinde" via Phillips Ridge features a long, tough hike followed by a scramble with lots of loose rock and class-4 sections. Trail-runners have bagged the peak in 18 hours round-trip, but most parties will elect to do a 3 to 5 day backpacking expedition. There is a defined path for 90% of the way, but it can be faint in places and will likely be lost a few times. The final summit pitch is up a snow gully, which can be usually avoided by exposed scrambling.

It is very difficult to get an accurate figure for the elevation gain and distance for this trip. There are many, many ups and downs and rugged trail sections. The following chart estimates the gain, distance and time for our 3.25 day trip, by day. The methodology uses a GPS track for distance, and counting contours for gain, the same way I do for my other trips logged on this site. The gain may be understated, since it ignores minor ups and downs of about 10m or less:

DayGain-MGain-FtDist-KmDist-MiHiking Time
8/19 - Approach81026575.873.652:55
8/20 - To High Camp1305428218.4611.4710:10*
8/21 - Summit1507494414.298.889:35**
8/22 - Hike Out885290419.8212.329:05

* = does not include 55-minute rest at Schjelderup Lake.
** = does not include 30-minute summit rest or 1:10 camp take-down time.
(Note: the ascent statistics for this hike are split into three ascents for Golden Hinde and the two Phillips Ridge peaks, once each on the way in and way out.)

Day 1: Sunday August 19:

Our plan was to camp at the trailhead and get an early start the next day. But when we arrived at the Westmin Mine area at 5 PM, there was no good trailhead camping, given that a massive active mining operation was in full force just a few meters away from the small parking lot, with heavy machinery moving about the area. So we decided to get packed up and hike uphill to the first good campsite on the trail.

We started hiking at 5:40 PM and grinded out the many switchbacks uphill for close to 3 hours as daylight started to fade. It had been a smoky, hazy day due to forest fire smoke all over the Pacific Northwest, so it was good to hike at a slow, steady pace and avoid exertion. When the well-graded trail finally flattened out and closely approached a brook, we quickly pitched our tents, had a quick snack, and got to sleep--it had been a long day (we had hiked up Hkusam Mountain this morning).

As our multi-day trip progressed, we were glad we had done the initial gain on our first day, it definitely helped to have this part of the trip out of the way, making the remaining three days easier.

Day 2: Monday August 20:

We awoke to another smoky day with the air smelling of charred wood--our usual schedule was to get up by 6 AM and, after breakfast, start hiking before 7 AM. 10 minutes after starting we reached the main Arnica Lake campsite area, with its tent platforms, and we had a quick chat with a group of 3 women (with the same itinerary as we did) before continuing. Rob tried to filter some water from the last stagnant tarn in the area, with limited success, so we hoped our water would last on the long ridge traverse ahead.

The next few hours on the Phillips Ridge trail were a long series of ups and downs. Once out of the forest at about 1400 meters the alpine terrain was pleasant and scenic, but we had virtually no views due to smoke. The trail was marked by cairns and occasional footway, but we still lost it a couple times. We bypassed the first 1730-foot peak (Phillips Ridge East) but did go over the next one, where we had a summit rest. The further in one goes on this route, the more rugged the terrain becomes, and the final few bumps and notches featured a few class-3 scrambling moves.

At the 1400m col on the ridge we ignored the path going up the next bump and instead plunged steeply down, back into forest, then crossed a couple of creeks and gained some elevation up to Carter Lake. This lake has an easy bypass trail along the west shore, and the path then leads over a small crest to an unnamed lake and then larger Schjelderup Lake--the bypass trail here features a section of huge talus blocks and a couple of very annoying steep forested ups and downs.

At the north end of Schjdelerup Lake we encountered a large group of nine hikers, mostly teenagers with a couple adult leaders. This is a somewhat popular route--previously today we had seen a shirtless guy (turned back due to smoke), a young couple (turned back after losing the trail near Burman Lake), and an older couple at the creek crossings (also turned back due to smoke). We chatted with the members of this large group and tried to swim in the lake, but we were defeated by sharp rocks and slimy logs. It was good to soak our feet, at least.

We thought about camping at this lake, near the big group, but finally decided to move up to Burman Ridge so we would have an easier summit day tomorrow. So after about an hour's rest we chugged up the 230m to the crest of Burman's north ridge, then easily dropped down 185m to an area of small tarns that seemed to be a good campsite. However, there were really no good flat spots for our tents, so I had to set my one-person tent up on a rocky, sloping area.

We cooked our food, relaxed, and gazed at the smoke-veiled silhouette of the Hinde, barely visible ahead.

Day 3: Tuesday, August 21:

We left our tents at 6:50 AM and started downhill into the "Burman Chasm", a deep, forested cleft that marks the last valley before the main peak. The trail on both sides is very steep and rough. Once on the other side the path continued, and we easily followed it up through scattered forest and soon reached the "climber's tarn" at 1490m. Here the hiking trail finally ended, and we had to make our way uphill on rough slide paths through a huge scree/talus field. Cairns and our GPS track guided us into a vegetated ramp that led to a notch on the right-hand skyline, and from there a section of miserable ball-bearing scree had to be negotiated upwards--I opted for scrambling on solid bedrock whenever possible.

We easily located the streak of white rocks leading uphill to the left, and followed that, mostly on steep grass, to the base of the permanent snowfield in the upper gully. In this dry year, the snow was somewhat retreated, and we were able to scramble up the moat on the climber's right-hand side of the snow. The footing was on gravel-covered smooth rock, not the greatest, but it worked. The crux of our climb was an awkward and airy 4th-class step-around at the top of the moat.

From there easy scrambling on loose rock brought us up to just below the summit spire, and cairns led us to the right one last time to easy talus at the apex of Vancouver Island. We arrived at 10:40 AM, under 4 hours from camp. We were very happy to reach this elusive summit--I had known about this peak for many years and it was a good feeling to finally sit on the summit rocks.

Today was the least smoky day of our 4-day expedition, but views were still very limited (a few miles at best) due to the noxious haze. Flying ants clustered on the highest rocks while we rested, ate snacks, signed the summit register, and took some photos.

For our descent, we decided to stay to skier's left of the snow, where a pathway seemed to offer easy downhill going at first. But once downhill a bit we were forced into some tricky class-4 downclimbing for about 50m before finally coming out near the base of the snowpatch. This bypass might be easier going uphill--when ascending, it's about 10m horizontally to the right of the snow gully.

We then scree-skied much of the way back to the climber's tarn, and just beyond we met two parties headed uphill--two of the three women we had chatted with at Arnica Lake, and a party of about 6 young hikers a little bit behind them. Both groups had come from Carter Lake, making for a very long summit day--we gave them route beta and hoped they would be OK given the late hour.

We continued downhill and reversed the soul-killing trail as it dropped way down into Burman Chasm and back up to our camp. There we spent over an hour (about 2:30 to 3:30 PM) resting and eating, and then we packed up and moved on, since we wanted to shorten tomorrow's hike out a bit by getting to Carter Lake this afternoon. We motored up Burman Ridge, stopped for water at a clean snowmelt trickle, and then returned to Schjelerup Lake. The same group of kids was there--they had climbed Mount Burman today and were headed for Carter Lake, just like us (and the 2 summit parties we had met).

We did the annoying traverse of Schjelerup Lake with its ups and downs, met a solo British lad headed for the summit via a Burman Ridge camp, and reached the north end of Carter Lake, where we chatted with the woman in the threesome who had stayed behind. We knew that there would likely be 3 large (and potentially noisy) groups camped there, so we cruised along to the south end of the lake, where we pitched our camp as the only group there. Once again, there was a dearth of good sites and I had to pitch my tent in the trail. After some dinner and relaxation we turned in, tired after a long but productive day.

Day 4: Wednesday, August 22:

Today we hiked all the way out to our car. It was another hot, humid, and smoky day, worse than yesterday and similar to Monday. I was ravenously thirsty this day, needing to refill my hydration bladder several times. On Phillips Ridge we bypassed the marked 1730m summit and instead scrambled up to the broad summit plateau of Phillips Ridge East. After some exploring we found the highest point, and Rob's sight level could not truly determine which of the two 1730m peaks was highest. Just beyond this peak, after scrambling back down to the main path, we saw the only other hikers of the day, a mother-father-son trio on a dayhike from an Arnica Lake camp.

The last couple of hours downhill was a bit of a slog, but we had structured our trip so that our days were not exceedingly long or tough so we managed with no major issues. At 3:55 PM we happily made our last switchback, came out to the road, and made the 1-minute stroll back to our car, tired and sweaty.

We drove into Campbell River and looked for a motel, where we were surprised by all the "No Vacancy" signs we saw. We finally lucked out and scored the last room at the Passage View Motel, and after showers and a good meal were ready for some well-deserved rest.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6536 ft / 1992 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6536 ft / 1992 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.8 mi / 20.7 km
    Grade/Class:Class 4
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Smoke, haze
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5010 ft / 1527 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3484 ft / 1061 m; Extra: 1526 ft / 465m
    Loss on way in:1526 ft / 465 m
    Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route:Burman Ridge/SW Gully
    Start Trailhead:Carter Lake Brook  3724 ft / 1135 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5010 ft / 1527 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3484 ft / 1061 m; Extra: 1526 ft / 465m
    Gain on way out:1526 ft / 465 m
    Distance:6.3 mi / 10.1 km
    Route:Burman Ridge/SW Gully
    End Trailhead:Carter Lake Brook  3724 ft / 1135 m
Ascent Part of Trip: 2018 - Golden Hinde (3 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Phillips Ridge2018-08-205348 ft / 1630 m
2Golden Hinde2018-08-216536 ft / 1992 m
3Phillips Ridge East2018-08-222904 ft / 885 m
Total Trip Gain: 14788 ft / 4507 m    Total Trip Loss: 14788 ft / 4507 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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