Mount Urquhart

At 10:30pm on Saturday night, Matt Gunn asked me if I was interested in a short day up to Mount Urquhart with Andre Zimmermann. Urquhart is one of those slightly obscure peaks that not a lot of people go to, or know of. It’s a granite dome east of Harrison Lake, north, with an overhanging east face.

We left Vancouver at 6:30am, drove a long ways east, and then a long time on the bumpy East Harrison FSR. I think we woke up some of the yahoos camped by the lake. We drove past the Bear Creek logging camp, and then approx 10km up Cogburn creek, passing some minor washouts. We turned left onto Charles Creek, expecting to drive another 5km to the base of Urquhart. However, at approx 500m up the road, we encountered another washout. It took us a while to clear it up, cut down some slide alder, and then Matt managed to get through it, only bottoming once. We drove another 100m, only to find a massive debris flow. This one would require a bulldozer to fix, so we drove back and parked before the first washout. It looked like our short day was actually going to turn into a full day, with more exercise than I really need.

Mountain bikes would be great for this road, since it’s mostly flat, with some switchbacks. We bashed through a cutblock at the end of the road, and then followed game trails up the steep ridge. It was quite nice (and buggy) once we broke out of the trees, and into the nice sub-alpine meadows. We traversed underneath the south face (there are some 4th-low 5th routes on this face), and then onto the southwest ridge. From below, this ridge looks really hard, but its actually quite fun and easy once you’re on it. The rock is also quite solid, none of the loose volcanic stuff. It’s quite similar to the west ridge of Needle Peak, except with a bit more exposure, slightly steeper, and more scrambling. Andre forgot his camera, so it was up to me and Matt to play mountain paparazzi. The summit is quite spacious, and would make for great naps if the weather was nice and warm. Unfortunately it was quite windy and we couldn’t see too much, so we didn’t hang around too long. I went over to check out the east face, but its quite overhanging, so I didn’t go too close to it. 

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