Ascent of Mount Elphinstone on 2018-11-25

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Becca Romig
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 25, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Elphinstone
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:4154 ft / 1266 m

Ascent Trip Report

There are two options for ascending Mt Elphinstone via trail. One is straight out of the Langdale Ferry on Wharf St. This can also be accessed from Stewart Rd to save some walking distance. The benefit of starting from Wharf St is that you can take the ferry as a foot passenger, saving the cost of taking your car and hike this peak. From these Langdale routes, follow yellow diamond symbols to stick to the Mt Elphinstone Trail.

Since we were exploring the lower Sunshine Coast for 5 days, we had our car. To get to our trailhead, take the the B&K Logging Rd from Roberts Creek, passing Mt Elphinstone Provincial Park (nowhere near the summit of Mt Elphinstone). At the Y-intersection at 475m elevation, stay left. Follow the main branch, ignoring all side logging roads, until you reach a hard left switchback that goes down in elevation. Any passenger car can easily make it to this point. Go just 30 meters down the switchback and reach another intersection. Turn right on to a relatively flat road that contours around the 700-740m elevation for a while. A carefully driven passenger car can make it to the intersection at 740m. At this point the road you want makes a very sharp right. We had to make a 3-point turn to get on to this road. I would ditch a Yaris at this intersection (or just before it where there is room to park on the side of the road) - you are in high clearance country after this. We have a Subaru Outback. I would not take anything less than an Outback/CrossTrek (with X-mode) on this road. Any 4wd pickup should be just fine. The water bars are big. We scraped on a few (definitely remove your trailer hitch/bike rack). We reached an intersection at 860m where a very deep and narrow water bar is encountered. We looked at the map and realized that if we were stuck here in this water bar, it was a long walk back to help. It was also about 100m gain and just over 1km to the trailhead on pleasant logging road. We opted to hike this road, a decision that would be continually reinforced as the correct decision the further we hiked. The area where the track starts has room for one car to park well out of the way of other vehicles and room for a second car with still enough room to get cars turned around. Another logging road proceeds up to the NE from here - we don't know where that goes. There is a sign at this intersection pointing to Mt Elphinstone and labeled "Pete's Trail, Mt Elphinstone."

The walk along the logging road was pleasant in spite of the water bars which required going down and back up frequently. We encountered a couple with their Chevy Blazer 4WD about 300m past our start point. They were giving up on the road at that point in about the only place wide enough to turn around safely. The snow started covering the road at this point (around 900m elevation). Beyond them, the road is really bad for driving with some big water ditches, a few boulders on the road, and closer to the end - a washed out section that would leave your car teetering on the edge of a massive slope. So, park where we did and ensure your car survives! Becca easily found the beginning of the trail, much to my relief as I was starting to worry that we had passed it. The road is blocked by about half a dozen logs where the trail starts, making it easy to find. There are lots of red diamonds and flags of various colors marking the trail. This is one of the best-marked trails we have ever hiked. It would be virtually impossible to get lost until later in the season when snow levels could obscure some of these markers. Follow the red diamonds up an initial steep section that then levels out for a while, even losing a slight amount of elevation, before reaching a junction with the yellow diamond trail coming up from Langdale. There are signs pointing to Langdale, the summit, and back to the South Fork Dakota Creek (where we came from).

At this point, we headed for the summit, following yellow diamonds up. There is a steeper section with a rope, which we only found when we were halfway up it as it was buried in the snow. The rope is unnecessary, but helpful in the slippery wet conditions we were in. There is an excellent view of Gibsons, Keats Island, Bowen Island and on to the mainland just below the summit. Definitely take a moment to take a break here and enjoy your view. Becca led most of the way up the entire hike as she really has a nose for finding the right trail when I would have wandered off... The summit has some kind of building with stairs on it and an antenna. They are not too bad of an eyesore and we used the antenna steps to hold our camera for the obligatory summit photos. We nailed the jumping summit shot on the second try, much to the relief of my cold hands. There is also a large wooden platform with great views to the north that Becca thought would make an excellent tent platform if desired. We could make out Mt Steele, Panther Pk, Mt Varley, and we are pretty sure Tetrahedron Pk. It was a bit chilly on the top as there were fewer trees blocking the wind. The descent was pleasant and easy to follow our uphill tracks. It began to snow/rain more heavily as we emerged on to the logging road and out of the protective cover of the trees. The drive out was a bit easier than the drive in when crossing the water bars. We have found that the logging road water bars in Canada are excessively and unnecessarily large. I understand their purpose, I just don't understand how being 4 ft deep is any more useful that being 1 ft deep... For future trips, a shovel may be packed in case we hit one that is a bit much to deal with...

Overall, this is a great hike that we really enjoyed! Becca had a great time leading the way and keeping us on track in the snow. There were no other tracks in the snow from people below the yellow/red diamond trail junction on the red trail we came up, though it looks like a hiker or two came up the yellow trail the day before us. Thanks for picking a winner babe! Pics
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1331 ft / 405 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1331 ft / 405 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    Route:Pete’s Trail
    Start Trailhead:2823 ft / 860 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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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.

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