Island Alpine Guides - Trips > Climbs

By: Island Alpine Guides  09-12-2011


The second highest peak on Vancouver Island, Elkhorn is the "Matterhorn of the Island Alps". The classic North West Ridge was the line of first ascent by an Alpine Club expedition led by A.O Wheeler in 1912. While the first ascent was made nearly one hundred years ago, the six thousand foot ascent from the valley floor to the summit as well as some low fifth class rock climbing, mean this trip is still challenging today. Some hiking and scrambling experience are recommended. The trip is best done as a three day outing but can be done in two days by very fit parties. Guest to guide ratio up to 2:1.

Tantalus Ascents

Join us for some superb climbing on big glaciers and clean granite in the spectacular Tantalus Range. A short helicopter trip from Squamish drops us in the amazing Serratus/Dione Col, the site of the ACC Jim Haberl Hut. The hut makes for a comfortable stay while we spend three intensive days climbing objectives such as Mount Serratus, Dione and Alpha to name a few of the possibilities. These trips are done at lower ratios than our instructional trips to Tantalus to allow guiding of more ambitious objectives than we can mange on higher ratio instructional trips.

Rambler Peak

Set in the dramatic wilderness of the upper Elk Valley, Rambler peak offers one of the finest moderate technical rock routes anywhere. The west buttress offers 650 metres of clean basalt climbing directly to the summit. Awesome as it is, the difficulty rating never exceeds 5.6. After enjoying the breathtaking view from the top, you make a dramatic descent into the vast granite slabs of Elk pass. Alternatively less experienced parties can choose to ascend the more straightforward "Ramblers Route". Either way it is a strenuous 3 or 4 day trip requiring reasonable fitness. Island Alpine Guides intro rock or equivalent and some scrambling experience are recommended for the west buttress whereas no experience is required for the Ramblers Route. Client to guide ratio up to 2:1.

Colonel Foster - Full Traverse

While the east face of "The Colonel" is perhaps it's most well known aspect, the truly all-encompassing approach to this impressive mountain is to claim all its summits. A superb alpine traverse with huge exposure and varied and interesting climbing, this is without a doubt an Island classic. Most of the climbing is fourth and low fifth class with a few moves up to 5.8. All the climbing can be done in mountain boots. You need to be very fit, have scrambling experience and be comfortable soloing on 4th class ground. Island Alpine Guides Mountain Skills course or equivalent, comfort with exposure, and a willingness to bivouac in the open are all pre-requisites to join us on this climb. The trip takes four days and is done at a maximum client to guide ratio of 1:1. Contact us to arrange a date to climb the Colonel!

Comox Glacier Climb

While our normal Comox Glacier Hike takes the standard hiking route on which there is a little scrambling at most, this trip reaches the glacier from a secret valley in behind and then via a rarely climbed couloir! Hike the amazing and rarely visited Kweishun Valley to spend your first night at Mirren Lake. Then climb the snow couloir to just beside the summit of the Glacier and follow the normal route back down via the frog pond. This climb travels over 2 glaciers and covers some of the most impressive terrain in Strathcona park.

Glacier Triple Crown

The Comox Glacier dominates the skyline above the towns of Courtenay and Comox. This gleaming mass of alpine ice is a tantalizing goal for the fit hiker. Accessible from the Comox Glacier are some significant alpine features, including Mount Argus, Mount Harmston and the Red Pillar. A spectacular traverse from the Ash River to the Comox Glacier to climb all three of these peaks makes a wonderful four day mountain adventure if you're fit and have some hiking and scrambling experience. The views from these peaks are panoramic and unforgettable.

Victoria Peak

The islands third highest peak stands somewhat alone between the White River and the Gold River offering splendid views to the peaks of Strathcona Park to the south and the north island peaks to the north. Aside from offering some interesting climbing, being outside the park this peak offers relatively easy access on forestry roads making for a pleasant week end or three day trip depending on fitness and desires.

Heli Access Climbs

With the use of a helicopter for access a number of very exciting alpine ascents on Vancouver Island become accessible in a single day trip. These include Mount Matchlee, Victoria Peak and Rugged Mountain to name a few. All of these peaks have a number of routes from straightforward scrambles to more technical lines. Guest to guide ratios will depend on the technicality of the route chosen. Contact us for more information and a quote.

Mount Septimus

Mount Septimus is perhaps the most dramatic alpine feature in Southern Strathcona Park. Rising above the park's most famous alpine body of water, Cream Lake, a climb of Mount Septimus during a traverse from the Bedwell Valley to the Price Valley makes a wonderful four-day outing. Some hiking and scrambling experience are recommended.

Golden Hinde

The lure of the highest peak is always a strong one. But with the Golden Hinde the appeal is even more so because of the remoteness of this, the highest mountain on Vancouver Island. Really more of a committed hiking journey the trip does include terrain where a rope and perhaps an axe or crampons may come into use. Back-packing and scrambling experience are recommended. The walk to and ascent of the Hinde combine to make a magical 8 day traverse on foot of some of the finest mountain wilderness anywhere from Philips Ridge all the way to the Elk River. And to top it off the summit of the island as a reward. A must do for any island mountain enthusiast. Client to guide ratio 4:1.

Mount Waddington

The highest mountain in BC has a lure of course but Waddington is a very special peak for reasons beyond it's place at the top of the elevation list. Set in a vast and dramatic wilderness the height of Waddington is particularly noticeable when you stand on it's 4015m summit and gaze upon the ocean! Our week long trip into the Waddington area aims to climb a few other peaks in the area before heading for the main objective. If you have some mountaineering experience and Waddington has been on your list (as it is for mountaineers the world over!) then perhaps now is the time! Contact us to check available dates.

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Island Alpine Guides - Trips > Custom Trips

IAG is Vancouver Island’s premier Alpine Guiding outfit, and your ticket to exploring the spectacular alpine and coastal areas on the island and BC's Coast Ranges. Our experienced guides are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and/or are members of the Canadian Avalanche Association. Welcome to Island Alpine Guides.