Note from Ross: Here we are in the middle of the summer and I’m posting trip reports about ski touring. We can all use a little change once in a while and it’s nice to remember what winter is going to be like when it comes around again.
Here’s Roxy with a trip report from ski touring Mount Brenton, near Chemainus.
Mt. Brenton April 14 2012
Resort-ski season had come to an end on Vancouver Island so Chris and I decided to skin up Mt. Brenton in Chemainus to enjoy some sunny ski touring. We had made a half-attempt at trying to get up Mt. Brenton last spring, but as the gates close early (4:30 pm) and we didn’t start until almost 2 pm we only had time to make it to Hollyoak Lake before we had to turn back.
This time we had a better eye on the time. Actually, we left Victoria that morning with hopes of getting up Green Mountain for some turns, but we were turned back by a locked gate just past the second lake so luckily we had a backup plan.
After chatting with the friendly gate-keeper on the Macmillan Bloedel FSR we turned up the Mt. Brenton FSR (just past the Chemainus River provincial park) with fingers crossed on how high we could drive up. Even though we were much earlier in the season we drove to pretty much the exact same spot we drove to on last year’s attempt. I think it was about 700m in elevation.
Mount Brenton Service Road
From there we skinned up the gentle logging roads, following day old bear tracks for part of the way up. At some point you reach a junction where you can head northeast or northwest. The northwest road leads to Hollyoak Lake, which was still frozen at this time with evidence of snowmobilers recently driving over the ice.
From there we continued to follow roads to the summit. Heading west past the lake, you come to a T where you head south for a short bit and then take a spur heading north to the summit. The roads go right up to a Provincial Emergency Communications tower and it’s just a short walk from there up to the top! The “turns” down mostly consist of just letting gravity take you down a gentle grade but at least it’s quicker than walking, getting us out with enough daylight left to do some rockclimbing at the Nanaimo Sunny Side bluffs before heading back to Victoria.
Roxy Ahmed is a graduate student at UVic who probably spends more time in the mountains than she should. On any given weekend you can find Roxy and her partner Chris Jensen climbing or skiing the mountains of Vancouver Island and beyond.