Ahh, the elusive Mount De Cosmos.A couple weeks ago fellow adventurer Ryan and I headed out to the Nanaimo Lakes area to attempt to stuff the peak that is Mount De Cosmos in our growing bag of summits.I was very apprehensive about this trip for a few reasons. First we’d be heading out in Ryan’s new Subaru Impreza.
While a very nice car with loads of power and traction, I wasn’t sure if it had the ground clearance to make it over the many small ditches that littered the approach to De Cosmos.
The second thing was that even though the weather looked promising for the next 12 hours, I couldn’t help but wonder if the weather magicians had called this one right. Rain was closing in fast on the forecast and I couldn’t shake the anxious feeling we’d get stuck out on some bluff in a foggy, snowy storm.
Valley behind De Cosmos
The third reason was that my friends and I have been trying to knock of De Cosmos for a while now and something always comes up. Gates are closed, we don’t know the way, motorcycle chains break, we run out of time. The reasons we’ve turned back already planning the next attempt a great in number.
I’m happy to say we finally accomplished what we’ve been gazing at for years from Nanaimo and Mount Benson.
Izzy, Ryan’s Impreza, handled the road and ditches wonderfully although we did put a little crack and a couple scratches into the paint coming back down. A truck or higher vehicle is highly recommended for the road that we took. That said, we were only able to make it up all the way to where we parked because Izzy was so short. A tree had fallen across the road and any taller vehicle wouldn’t have made it through. Magically on our way back, it had been sawed in half and removed from the road.
We got to within about 3 km from the peak of green on the road. Let me remind you that this was as the crow flies. We definitely couldn’t hike as the crow flies! We followed the road as for as we could go and then summited the small peak next to De Cosmos. Luckily there is a high ridge in between this secondary peak and De Cosmos. The hike would have probably take 2 additional hours if the ridge wasn’t there and we had to descend into the valley and up the other side to the peak. The ridge dropped maybe 20 meters total as we traversed and definitely saved our backsides from the otherwise steep terrain.
The snow ranged from soft and powdery letting us sink through to past our knees to solid ice. The snow that was out in the open was quite soft while that in the trees had melted more and frozen making for a tough hike over sections on the ridge. Snowshoes would have helped a great deal but we might have had to take them off for the steeper sections. I think it would have cut 10 to 15 minutes off our trip time but our legs would have thanked us!