Snowshoe & Scramble up North Kent outlier

Pete Ford and I climbed the long ridge to the summit of North Kent’s outlier yesterday. It proved to be a strenuous undertaking with only two of us to share the trail breaking. The first part was a routefinding exercise up old logging roads; the second a scramble up a windswept ridge to the small grassy summit. It’s a superb viewpoint with Mount Chester to the north and the many peaks of the Spray Mountain to the southwest. Unfortunately it was bitterly cold and windy on the top and we only spent a few minutes there.

Pete nearing the top

Pete nearing the top

Although it was -16°C in the parking lot when we started we soon warmed up on the gentle climb up the Sawmill snowshoe trail. We continued on the old logging road where the official trail heads left at a righthand bend. The way gets steeper and we were now breaking trail. After a little while we banked up to the left at a junction and embarked on a straight stretch of old road, now somewhat grown in. Another two zig-zags brought us to a badly overgrown section at the foot of the ridge. The next section involved finding a way up through the bush to the open ridge above. Fortunately we had been up in summer and had a GPS track to follow. There are two possibilities for going wrong in this area: 1. An old logging road heads north east along the contour line, and if you go too far it is difficult to get onto the ridge. 2. If you go too far round to the right you end up on an old road that leads into the valley between North Kent and the outlier—serious avalanche terrain with overhanging cornices on the outlier’s ridge. If you decide to repeat our route you will find the GPS track log indispensable.

The ridge was windswept with soft snow in places and hard wind-packed snow in others. We took off our snowshoes after a little while and followed the ridge top which was generally bare grass or rocks with many corniced sections. A lone ram watched us from a safe distance and by the time we came down had investigated our tracks. Two shaggy goats sheltered on the leeward side below a cornice.

Read Bob Spirko’s account of their trip a couple of weeks later and drool over his great photos.

Download GPS track log gpx

Maps

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2 comments… add one
  • Barbara Jan 26, 2010, 8:24 pm

    I was up there three days ago and it was wonderful! Very little snow at the top, so it made for a great decent outing for this time of year. We snowshoes to just above treeline, then left our snowshoes and hiked up to the summit.

    The post above mentions a route up to the SE of the summit. We saw an avalanche in there this past weekend, so wouldn’t recommend going up that gully.

  • Steve Riggs Dec 13, 2009, 8:02 pm

    Used to wonder where those roads off the Sawmill “ski” trails went. Many years ago now, went up in spring to the Kent Ridge outlier showing on the map to the SE of your summit , on skis to treeline via logging roads and the old burn, and then on foot up the bare S ridge. Once in a while when not too windscoured that area used to offer some decent skiing , but haven’t tried it in a long while.

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