I’ve wanted to do this hike for years – Mount Klitsa!

LIMG_0515Dave and I had a great mid-July hike with Ron and Brett up Mount Adder. They were planning a trip a couple of days later to Mount Klitsa, and invited us along on that too. I was totally excited about that – I’ve wanted to do Klitsa for years. My old Tofino friend, artist Mark Hobson, had told me about it, but somehow I never had a chance to get up there. Dave couldn’t go this time – he was packing, leaving for Iceland the next day – but I jumped at the chance!

Along with Ron, Brett and me, Ron had invited two other friends – Jackalyn, and her boyfriend Shane. It got a bit confusing with all the Jackies (me, Jackalyn, and Ron’s wife is also a Jackie – even though she wasn’t hiking with us, she came up in conversation a lot).

Right from the start, the Mount Klitsa Trail was a lot harder than the Mount Adder Trail. Again, we had to 4WD up an overgrown logging road to get to the trailhead. However, we were starting much lower on this one – we would have a lot more elevation to gain on this one (around 1200 m). And, from the start, the trail was much rougher than the new and beautiful groomed Mount Adder Trail – through forest, but with lots of big roots and logs to climb over, and big mossy rocks to squeeze between. And uphill from the start – so slow going.

Brett winds his way up through the rainforest.

Brett winds his way up through the rainforest.

Pushing through the brush, and past/over/betweenlogs and roots and rocks.

Pushing through the brush, and past/over/between logs and roots and rocks.

First views of our destination - Mount Klitsa.

First views of our destination – Mount Klitsa.

A little rest stop at the lake.

A little rest stop at the lake.

Jackalyn and to be back in town by 5, so we had a firm deadline: we needed to be back at the truck by 4:30. As we climbed, an old knee injury she had became aggravated and slowed her down. We stopped at the beautiful lake that is about halfway up, for a bite to eat and a bit of a break. The trail got very steep above the lake – then, finally, we broke out of the forest and into the alpine.

How heading up from the lake - some steep stuff, in a few place with ropes already set.

How heading up from the lake – some steep stuff, in a few place with ropes already set.

And some scrambling, as we continued climbing.

And some scrambling, as we continued climbing.

But the views just kept getting better and better. You can see the lake we had stopped at below.

But the views just kept getting better and better. You can see the lake we had stopped at below.

And now up in the alpine,mostly above the treeline - here are Jackalyn and Shane.

And now up in the alpine, mostly above the treeline – here are Jackalyn and Shane.

It was getting tight as to whether we would make the summit. Jackalyn and Shane decided not to try, and to head back to the lake and wait for us there. Ron and Brett and I decided to give it a shot – setting a firm turnaround time of 1pm, so Jackalyn wouldn’t risk missing her appointment in town.

Ron, Brett and I keep climbing.

Ron, Brett and I keep climbing.

And it definitely got worse before it got better...

And it definitely got worse before it got better…

This was a hard hike – much much harder than Mount Adder, both in terms of total amount of climbing and just how rough the trail was. As we got up into the rocks and scree, we could no longer see any cairns or other route markers. We did our best to keep on the right track – at times getting caught in some steep and loose terrain. The final approach to the summit was super-steep,and very loose and rocky. It was getting near 1:00, and I suggested that we should maybe reassess – maybe we should turn around now, since it didn’t look like we were going to make the top by the turnaround time anyway. But they wanted to try, crossing a big sloped boulder field – and then we found some route markers again.

It got hairy again as we approached the summit. I could see a cairn that we would have to go across the slope to get to, but Brett wanted to go straight up a slot up to the top – which looked doable from where we were. Problem is, when you are looking up like that, your judgement of what is horizontal and what is vertical gets a bit skewed – the end of the slot was pretty scary and cliffy, but we made it … making the summit at 12:55pm, a full five minutes before the turnaround! The view from these mountaintops is just so amazing – as you realize how many mountains there are here on Vancouver Island.

...and woohoo, we made it! It's good just to be out there... but it's always a amazing feeling when you make a summit. Especially a tough one like this.

…and woohoo, we made it! It’s good just to be out there… but it’s always an amazing feeling when you make a summit. Especially a tough one like this.

Here's Brett, with the view down the length of Sproat Lake, and Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith in the distance.

Here’s Brett, with the view down the length of Sproat Lake, and Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith in the distance.

We had a very quick lunch up there, snapped some photos, then headed down. It was much easier to see the best route from above, so we were able to avoid most of the cliffy bits and that sloped boulder field entirely, and make good time on the way down. We caught up with Shane and Jackalyn at the lake as planned – they were happy and relaxed – and we all headed down together, making it back to the truck just in time! Another amazing day in the mountains, so lucky where we live here on Vancouver Island!

Ron and Brett appreciating the view.

Ron and Brett appreciating the view.

And here are the three of us - a quick pose on the summit before heading back down!

And here are the three of us – a quick pose on the summit before heading back down!

And our group safely back to the truck on time - photo taken by Ron, so he's not in it.

And our group safely back to the truck on time – photo taken by Ron, so he’s not in it.

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  1. #1 by towhee3 on August 29, 2015 - 1:01 pm

    Amazing time–I’m very impressed. The trail on the north side doesn’t get as much use since the new one from the south (Brooke George trail) starts so much higher up. Longer drive but shorter climb.
    The access road you used is scheduled to be rebuilt soon since there are logging plans (by the Community Forest and BCTimber Sales) for the valley. At least they have recognized the recreational value of the valley and the cutbock areas near the trail are small and should be at least 80 metres away.
    The lake sure looks low — and that was in July! This rain is welcome.

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