With its snow capped peaks in late spring against the stark contrasting lush greens of the temperate forest below, Mount Arrowsmith is a visual treat for many south Vancouver Islanders. For those with the experience and sense of adventure, Climbing the Snow Gully Route of Mount Arrowsmith is a must do for your alpine list.
Getting to Mount Arrowsmith
Located between Port Alberni and Nanaimo, Mt Arrowsmith with its easy access to trailheads and variety of technical opportunities puts it as one of the most visited summits on the island. Visit the Nanaimo RDN website for directions on how to get there by visiting this link > Arrowsmith Massif
On Saturday April 2nd I was joined by two fellow mountaineers for the popular winter condition route amongst the VanIsle climbing & hiking community. Heck I did the route twice last year , once under much different conditions than we would be treated to this trip > In Search of an Island Peak
Climbing The Snow Gully Route of Mount Arrowsmith
We used the Climbers Trail route to reach the lower and then upper cirque where the start of the main snow gully begins. The Main Gully is a Class 4. AI1-2 in winter conditions with a 45′ slope climbing the last 150 metres just NE of the main summit.
Trip statistics were roughly 7 hours on the mountain. Distance return trip covered 7km with just shy of 1000m total cumulative elevation gain.
Video Recap of Climbing the Snow Gully Route of Mount Arrowsmith
Photo Essay of Climbing the Snow Gully Route of Mount Arrowsmith
Plan For The Snow Gully Route of Mount Arrowsmith
For this winter ascent I suggest getting the latest snow conditions from Island Avalanche Bulletin . In addition to weather forecasts from Mountain Forecast or SpotWx . Avoid the route right after any significant snowfall. Watch for cornices that could release and solar heating in late spring or early summer which may cause wet slides. Best time to do this route is in the mornings before the heat of the day changes the snowpack conditions.
The snow gully route of Mount Arrowsmith has some specific equipment requirements. For gear you will need helmet, ice axe and crampons as minimum additions to your regular pack. Depending on conditions you may want to bring your harness, rope and snow pickets for protection or comfort level. Also experience in Avalanche terrain should be considered thus shovel, probe and beacon may be warranted.
Have fun and play safe in the Mountains. For more detailed information or questions you may have please comment below. Make this your #ExploreBeyondTheUsual opportunity.
Related Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith Hikes
Here are few other hikes and climbs worth checking out in the region that I have wrote about also.