On a very dark wet morning around 5:30 am, three of us set out from Victoria to begin our first journey into the Alberni-Clayoquot area to explore 5040 peak.
While it poured most of the way up to Port Alberni, the rain stopped just as we passed sproat lake. Heading down the worn out gravel road, we made it to the trailhead at 8:30 and started up the trail. Very quickly the trail got steeper and my legs began to burn but I managed to keep up with my trail partners who were setting a quick pace up the mountain.
After a short time we came out of the trees and began climbing beside the river winding it’s way up the hill. We had little issue finding the well traveled trail and had excellent views of the waterfall coming down from triple peak on the other side of the valley. This view gave inspiration for another trek up to explore Triple peak two weeks later.
As we climbed up to the edge of the lake, the sun popped out for a few minutes and we took some photos before looking at our maps and determining our next direction. We had to cross the river where it left the lake, and it was just a bit too far to jump so we ended up getting wet feet in our runners before making it to the other side.
We picked up the trail on the far side of the river we and headed off to the hut built by the Alpine Club of Canada 's Vancouver Island Section. By this point I was getting pretty drained and hungry but my two partners carried on at their same pace, giving me the motivation to keep going up to the hut 200m above the lake. As we climbed the clouds rolled in and we plunged into a thick fog. The GPS showed we were nearing the cabin, but we still had no sight of it, until all of a sudden the outline of the building emerged from the mist.
We arrived at the Hut and did some
exploring of the surrounding area, snacking and regaining our energy before pushing on to the summit. We all agreed to continue on to the summit, even though the visibility was so low we knew we wouldn't get much of a view.
Within minutes of leaving the hut, with nothing to look at but fog, it started to rain and my energy was gone. I was just about to call ahead to Andrew and Rebekah, who were rapidly pulling away from me, when it began to snow. This was the first snow we had seen of the season, and instantly out moods increased. We all had huge smiles on our face and we headed forward with a renewed enthusiasm.
It continued to switch between a light dusting to a full white out many times on the remainder of the climb, but when we reached the summit and the cairn came into view, the wind dropped completely and the snow almost stopped completely. This gave us the perfect spot to relax for a bit and have a nice long lunch. After we had packed up our bags, we signed the register and headed back down. The trip down was much easier going than the way up and we were all in good spirits after filling our stomachs.
Arriving back at the lake we took one last break for photos, and Andrew decided he was going to go for a swim. He spent the next 15 minutes finding the perfect spot to dive in, while building up his courage to jump into the frigid waters. 30 seconds later he was back out, and changing into dry clothes as fast as humanly possible. After we had a good chuckle at his expense, and he was dry and ready to go, we headed back down to the car. The clouds lifted again and we had a nice dry trip back down to the trailhead.
Arriving back at the car around 12:30, we changed into our comfy warm clothes left in the car and began our journey back to Victoria.
Distance: 7.02 km
Elevation Gain: 898 m
Max Elevation: 1532
Time: 3 Hours 32 Minutes.