Located in the Genesis Range on the northeast edge of Schoen Lake Provincial Park, Genesis Mountain is far from a well-known mountain. It’s out of the way, and surrounded by more impressive objectives, but if your mountaineering interests include easy rambles along alpine ridges, then add Genesis Mountain to your bucket list of Vancouver Island hiking destinations.
After a stellar early-season snowshoe up Mount Romeo, we had high hopes for another early-season snowshoe trip. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the start of our route, we were surprised to discover that the accumulated snow from just two weeks prior had melted — that’s a lot of melt! On the plus side, we parked at the highest point of the road (~1200m).
Horizontal Distance: 7km
Starting Elevation: 1176 m
Maximum Elevation: 1512 m
Total Elevation Gain: 620 m
Total Time: 5 hours
We headed southwest from the Jeep, and after a very short section of slash we were heading up the toe of the ridge. At most, there was only a skiff of snow on the ground, but my breath still condensed on exhale thanks to the -5 C temperatures. Despite the cool, whenever we were out from under the trees, the sun did a fine job keeping us warm.
In a short time, we detoured from the main route to top the first viewpoint. We were eager for the view that we’d been denied when we climbed Mount Romeo two weeks earlier. We were glad we took the time to stop, because we could see Mount Romeo just seven kilometres away.
We doubled back, and after a quick search, found a route down through the trees to the col. The frozen earth and dusting of snow created traction problems that forced us to take our time descending. From the notch, we followed the easiest path leading up to the ridge. There was only one spot where we had to look for a ledge that would give us access to the upper ridge.
Up on the ridge, we all paused in awe of the view! The clear, sunny conditions allowed us to see the valleys on either side of the ridge. As we hiked down the ridge, the major hazard for the trip made itself known to us: frozen ponds hidden beneath the snow. Of course, we found them in the funniest way possible – landing on our asses. I wasn’t the first, nor was I the last!
Before long, we were at the highpoint of the ridge (1501m), but not the summit. I refuse to acknowledge the name offered by Google Maps as it’s not an official name (hardly even an unofficial one). The bump itself is mostly featureless, so we didn’t waste time before moving onto the summit of Genesis Mountain, farther along and lower down at the end of the ridge.To get there, we descended into a rocky notch and back out again; I mention this only because I had to put my hand on the rock to get myself up the step to the next portion of the ridge. In less than a kilometre, we covered the distance and arrived at the summit (~1485m). We stood at the edge of the ridge and looked across to the easily-identifiable block that is Mount Schoen.
The route was much easier than we expected, and the day much shorter, but it’s a trip I’ll happily do again. If you’re turned off by the short duration of this trip, then consider pairing it with a trip up Mount Romeo; combining the two trips would make a fine day. Otherwise, just enjoy it for what it is: an awesome day on a fine alpine ridge.
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