Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Triple Peak may not be the largest mountain on Vancouver Island but to me it is the most visually pleasing. For the beauty of the access trailhead and climbing the main summit of Triple Peak it will be one of your favourite alpine objectives.

This may explain why I have visited this location located in a small south west range hidden between Ucluelet and Port Alberni more than any other spot on our fine island. A prior visit in 2015 had me snowed out so I needed to return – Climbing Triple Peak Mountain

My love for Triple Peak is well know by those that follow me and I knew that I had lite a small spark of desire for some of them. I felt I needed to return to the main summit and this time would do so as a leader for an Alpine Club of Canada trip this past May.

I scheduled the trip, rounded up a few fine ACCVI members and a select group of friends with an affection for this mountain. I asked my good friend Joe to join me in co-leading as I knew that my work would be cut out for me with the amount of rope work and safety co-ordination required.

Starting The trip for Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

My plans had us meet in Port Alberni and then head out on a Saturday night to sleep at the trailhead. Located some 12km or so down the Marion Mainline logging road just past Sutton Pass enroute to Ucluelet on hwy#4.  A few late night stories and then we were out for the night, some slept well and some lay wide awake in excitement for the day that would soon arrive at first light.

After some warm coffees and a quick breakfast I led the way up the beautiful trail system that has seen many recent improvements and hard work by the Alberni Valley Outdoor Club. The trail to the alpine Triple Peaks is rivalled by few I have seen as you ascend endless waterfalls that feed from the alpine lake at the base of the NW Peaks.

In about 90 minutes we reached the alpine that was still held in winter like conditions which made access to the base of the main summit very easy. Travel in soft snow with crampons was quick and in no time we were at ready to climb rock.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Our group making their way up the endless waterfalls of the the Triple Peak trail

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Looking back down the Effingham Valley under a layer of inversion cloud.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

The Iconic Triple Peak

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Slow and steady traveling up the steep face of the snowfield to the base of the main summit.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

I couldn’t ask for a better partner in Joe, seen here aiding Kayleigh to make the final move onto the summit.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

The striking peak of the NW summit over a thick layer of cloud looking towards the Tofino region

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak via North Route

I led up the first pitch and set-up a top rope belay to get the rest of the group up with Joe leap frogging ahead of me to setup the next station. With the two of us working we could move the group quickly and safely up the various pitches and sections of the North Ridge route up the face of the main summit.

It was the first time many of the group had experienced such exposure and wild raw mountain terrain that was not for the faint of heart. Bringing this location and emotion to them was profound for me and I felt a sense of happiness and pride allowing for this opportunity. Bit by bit we moved the group up the mountain until all were standing atop the summit, safety and success for all.

After the group had all signed the summit register, taken photos to eternalize the day and eat a hearty lunch I would lead them down the SE face to experience the entire mountain. The route would entail several 30m and 15m rappels to reach the col between the SE peak and main summit with a final rappel back onto the steep snowfield.

On the snowfield Joe and I setup a handling with snow pickets for safety to get down the 45′ snow onto the gentler snow slopes below. Once on the safer terrain the heat of the day made for fun easy travel glissading and sliding down the sections that would allow.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

The happiness and smiles of a victories group of Alpine Club members

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

A mountain high, above the clouds … Kayleigh is Beyond the Usual here for sure.

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Natasha making the final bushy rappel onto firm ground on the SE face of Triple Peak

Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

Protecting the steep traverse via snow picket secured handline.

Climbing the main summit of triple peak

Kayleigh and Joe down climbing through the waterfalls back to the trailhead

A Success Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak

A final break at the Alpine Lake and we would drop back into the trees and down the trail to the vehicles . The day was a fun time with old friends and new friends alike. The bond made via memories in the mountains is one that doesn’t break easy.

Enjoy this Climbing the Main Summit of Triple Peak video from a previous summer summit.

I will leave you with the fine words of the unofficial motto of our Alpine Club Section

  • Come back alive
  • Come back friends
  • Respect the land
  • Have fun
  • Get to the top
    (in that order)


Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Dan McKean says:

    Great photos and concise summary of the trip! That low level cloud creates a visual sensation that is simply superb. Looks like you led a very safe and rewarding trip for those that participated. I like how you were able to hop-scotch with Joe to set up top ropes creating a much steadier route up for the whole group. Thanks for posting the trip. Well done.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Yes a sound game plan made all the difference and kept more skilled individuals spread through group for leadership. Oh man , the inversion of that part of the Island never fails to deliver and impress. Cheers Dan

  • Tawcan says:

    Great pictures, some nice wide angel shots. Looks like a nice & technical summit!

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks, it is a great peak with a relatively mild approach for the typical VanIsle bushwhack that we encounter. The climb itself isn’t too bad, only one or two moves of low 5th and rappels on descent. I climbed the full route in crampons and top roped a few of the group new to exposed alpine.

  • Patrick H says:

    Honestly that was a highlight of last year! Nice to finally grab the summit after repeated attempts and “setbacks” lol! I’m so far behind i didn’t even realize you’d posted this trip!

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