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Mount Arrowsmith - Take 2

Not satisfied with our unsuccessful attempt yesterday, and with a forecast of absolutely clear and sunny weather today, we decided to give Arrowsmith another try, this time armed with better knowledge of the Judges Route trailhead. We tried to get Roy to come along again, but I think his knees were a tad sore from yesterday! So, it was myself, Jenn and Pu. We were very very graciously offered use of the Land Rover - not only for our Arrowsmith climb, but for the next few days after that (we were planned to head up north to Strathcona afterwards). Thank you so much, Roy! I know how the Toyota has been your baby and carefully maintained pride and joy!
Arrowsmith in Morning Alpenglow
We made our way for the second time in as many days to the logging roads around Arrowsmith. This time I knew exactly where to go (In fact, I had dropped a GPS waypoint on the way back yesterday to ensure we weren't going to miss it).
Judge's Route Trailhead
Steep forest trail
The day was simply beautiful. Crystal clear and warm. We started up the side logging road, which was in quite good shape (in fact, we probably could have even driven it). This road went on for at most a kilometre, through an medium-growth logged area, and then abrubtly ended. At this point, a clear path headed steeply up the slope and immediately into some beautiful open mature forest, where the trail quite excellently switched back and forth very steeply up the slope. Very nice trail.

The trail had very good footing, and we moved quickly, ascending 1600 feet in about an hour and a half. There are many beautiful lookouts along this trail towards the south, with distant views of the lower mountains of southern Vancouver Island (most of them covered in a patchwork of logging cuts). As the trail breaks above the trees, there were occasional short scramble sections, but they were all short, easy, and not exposed (easy class 3 at most).
Forest and Sky
Arrowsmith skyline
Rock, Tree, Vista
Soon we arrived at a beautiful little saddle just short of the sub-summit, where we had our first glimpse over to the east - and we could see the strait of Georgia and the mainland. Beautiful! we were going to get that 'both coasts' view on Arrowsmith's summit.
Easy Scrambling
Arrowsmith Humps
Jenn and Pu at lookout
We soon arrived at the lower sub-summit on Arrowsmith, marked by a strange green missile-like tower that had a locked door and solar panels on it. No clue as to what it was. I knew that at this point we were very close to the spot on the nose yesterday at which we'd been forced to turn around. I decided to scramble down a little from above and see if I could see the specific spot where I'd turned around. It was quite airy to scramble down to the steep section, because the terrain kept dropping away, getting steeper, and that always generates an 'airy' effect. However, I was able to get down to a point where the upper belay bolts were, and although I can't be sure, I am pretty sure I spotted the bit of rock that I stood on when I finally turned around the day before. The whole section, therefore, was quite doable - we just needed a bit of rope for security. As I guessed, we were in fact very close the day before.
A gap to the east
The Nose
Arrowsmith Southern Terrain
I headed back up to where Pu and Jenn were waiting on the sub-summit, and together we made our way up the final bit of 3rd-class scrambling to the real summit, which contained, among other things, another weird green missile-like tower, a large flat wooden platform, and a summit marker and cairn with a string of fluttering tibetan prayer flags.
courtesy PChen
Gabriola from Arrowsmith
Final scramble
Andrew has a look
A bit of tibet on the Island
Good view of Nose Route
Annotated View, Nose Route
And what a view! We could indeed see the ocean, far to the southwest, and the strait of Georgia was very visible to the northeast. Both sides of Vancouver Island from a single point. To the east, we could easily see most of the islands in the central part of the strait. We could easily see Gabriola as well, along with a huge swath of the BC mainland. To the west, Port Alberni lay under a low-lying coat of clouds. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

After some food, relaxation, and ceremonial summit cookie pictures, we decided to head back down. Since we'd made good time, we wanted to spend the rest of the day driving north to our next outdoors destination: Strathcona Park. We flashed back down to the Toyota, arriving at 1pm. Lots of time to drive the two or three hours to the Park.
Dare cookies do it again!
Port Alberni
Summit down-scramble
Pass is now in sun
Sunny forest descent
A satisfying finish
If you would like to see many more of our pictures of our Mount Arrowsmith Climbs, then click here to go to an in-depth page with more pictures.
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