Added by Chris Istace
One of the most picturesque mountains on Vancouver Island with the prominent towers of the NW summit standing watch over a pristine alpine lake. The trail to the alpine weaves through the most waterfalls of any route on the island leaving you with breath taking views the whole way.
Access to Triple Peak mountain is found via the Marion Creek Main logging road approximately 48km west of Port Alberni on your left hand side along highway #4 headed towards Tofino. The road can present seasonal challenges and is rough so best to have a high clearance and 4x4 capable vehicle if possible when turning left for the trek down this road. Follow the logging road for roughly 10.5km and watch for a small spur that ends quickly in a dead end that is the staging area and location of the Triple Peak trail.
From here you could choose to travel in one day to the trailhead with an early start or arrive the night before and get a good sleep and enjoy a relaxed start to your day. The Trailhead is just past the end of the parking area , watch for the sign installed by the Alberni Outdoor Club.
The trail drops down to the Effingham River where you will find a fallen log to cross the river easily. The trail then weaves its way over 2km and 500m+ elevation gain to the open alpine. The beauty of this trail is the countless waterfalls you cut back and forth across in stunning beauty and awe the whole route. The trail has recently been well maintained with the addition of hand lines in some of the tricky spots by the volunteers of the Alberni Outdoor Club. In late fall and early spring watch for tricky and dangerous ice along the route from freezing temps.
As the trail hits the open alpine you will reach the mouth of one of the most stunning alpine lakes that feeds the waterfalls you just spent the last 1-2hrs hiking up along. The area around the lake makes for an incredible camping spot if you choose to turn this into a 2 day adventure. This is a pristine wilderness location so I can't stress enough to practice diligent Leave No Trace ethics and please resist the urge to have any fires.
The prominent towers above the lake appear to be the main summit but they are actually the NW prominence. You will be traversing the lake and making your way to the left of these towers to the Main Summit that is just out of sight behind.
Depending on the season you will be scrambling over rocks or traveling on snow from here to reach the base of the summit. I personally prefer late spring while there is a great deal of snow cover making the climb to the summit block easy and no scrambling required. Be aware of snow pack conditions and be aware the slopes are steep with exposed high consequence run outs, ensure you know how to self arrest of course bringing your ice axe and crampons.
The route up the Main Summit is called the North Ridge , a superb island route moving up the NE face of the summit. The route starts about 1/3 of the way in from the right of the base of the summit block. Pay close attention to the very large moats that form along the rock as the snow recedes in warmer seasons.
You will make your way up exposed 3rd and 4th class terrain varying from good rock to loose gravel ledges. About half way up you will reach a chimney that you will stem up with 5th class moves behind a large chockstone and then back onto the heathered ledges. You will get to a small saddle where you will make a slight left and continue up the ridge to the summit. This route can be free soloed or roped up depending on your comfort level. Always be sure to access the risk tolerance and skills of your group when in mountain terrain.
At the summit you will be awarded views as far as the surf breaks of Tofino, the Broken Island Group of the Alberni Inlet and north into the peaks of Strathcona Park. Sign the summit register and then either head back the way you came up or drop off the SE side of the summit for moving towards the small NE summit block in direction for alternative views. Both routes off the summit have existing rappel stations but be sure to check their condition, improve their setup or replace them....safety first.
Once back on the snow make your way back down to the lake where you may have decided to spend the night, maybe just have lunch or go for a cool swim in the hot summer months.
This is a nice day trip but take as much or as little time as you wish, it is a perfect place to enjoy a weekend if you have the time.
Please pay special attention to weather and to snow conditions on this route, it is very remote and poses risk if not prepared for. Always leave a route plan and check-in protocol with friends and family when heading out on alpine adventures.
Have fun and Explore Beyond The Usual.
- 10 Essentials
- GPS / Cell Phone / Compass
- Satellite communicator/emergency device (i.e. InReach)
- Mountaineering equipment (Ice Axe, Crampons, Snow Pickets)
- Climbing gear (harness, belay device, helmet, 30m rope)
- Day Pack with supplies for extra day contingency
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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