Canoe Peak

In Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, Island Mountain Ramblers, Mountaineering by ExploringtonLeave a Comment

What a day to be in the mountains!

Nestled in a valley between The Cats Ear and the Mackenzie Range Peak, Canoe Peak is a hidden gem that is often overlooked due to its obscured location. Trust me when I say it’s worth the squeeze, but you’ll have to squeeze hard!

Summit of Canoe Peak

I summited this peak in 2018 and had a good idea of what awaited us in the avalanche gully. Conditions aren’t everything for this trip, but they make the difference between a fun day in the snow or hell in the bush. Two weeks before our trip, I saw some reports of successful summits, so I knew it was time to go!

Mackenzie Range in the Background

Though we could have hit the timing better, we used beta from Jes –obtained on his prior attempt — to skirt around the worst of the worst. Fortune favoured us up and around the bush because the route to the Canoe-Makenzie saddle was still swollen with snow, and it was perfect for kicking in easy steps.

Mackenzie Range in the background

Our biggest issue for the day was the step between the saddle and Canoe’s south ridge. When snowy, it’s a lovely, steep snow slope. Today it was a narrow chute filled with crumbly rock and packed dirt. I led the fray and dropped a hand line down from the top for those below.

A view from the south ridge to Canoe Peaks summit

We trudged head down from the top of the south ridge and traversed to the west shoulder. I was not confident about what we’d find on the north face. I was worried that we’d discover icy conditions and gullies filled with patches of snow with drops in between. I over-prepared by wearing lots of gear, but none was needed. The snow was in perfect condition, unbroken until we could put fee solidly on dry ground.

Chicken-Matt overprepares

The summit offers a breathtaking view! Although there are many other mountains on the island, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it for a third summit. However, it won’t be because of the view.

Our return was a lovely romp down the steep snow slopes. The snow was in perfect condition for plunge-stepping. At the step to the saddle, we rebuilt an existing anchor and rapped down on two 30-metre ropes. They were likely unneeded, but they made things much quicker for our group of five.

Thanks for those that came out for the day. It’s too bad we didn’t fill the trip!

View the album of images from the 2023 Canoe Peak trip

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Matthew is an adventure blogger and photographer. He documents his adventures on His stories create a vivid backdrop that give his photographs cotext. He finds his adventures with the Island Mountain Ramblers, and whenever possible, his family joins his adventures.

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